As Benni discovered, it can be hard to stay motivated on a long-term savings journey. You have to keep working at your dreams, whether you’re trying to reach a fitness, weight loss or money goal. You may start off really inspired to pay off your debt or save money but fast-forward to a few months later, and it’s normal to start losing focus. Here are a few tips to help you stick to your financial goals.
What is your ‘why’?
To stay on course remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place. Saying “I want to be debt free” or “I’m saving to buy a house” is a good start, but go a bit deeper than this. What is actually the reason you have set yourself this goal? What is important to you? Do you want to be more financially secure than your parents were? Do you want to set a good example for your kids? Do you want to be free from a nine-to-five job and do your own thing? Write these goals down and revisit them often. Some people find that making a vision board brings these goals to life.
Set clear financial goals
Goals feel more manageable if you break them up into smaller chunks. Say, for example, you have to repay R20 000 in debt, then set yourself a goal of paying off R5 000 by your next birthday, R5 000 by the following Christmas, etc. Be strict with your timelines but also make it personal so that you can celebrate every achievement along the way.
Track your progress
Find a way that works for you, whether it’s a spreadsheet or downloading some free charts and colouring these in as you go. This will really help you visualise how far you’ve come, and where you’re going.
Get some support
You are not in this alone so make yourself feel supported along the way. Involve your partner and kids by having regular meetings to track your budget. Look for blogs with advice on things like saving on groceries, or self-help books that can help you with money-saving tips. Join a rand-saving group on Facebook, watch YouTube videos or listen to a podcast on your way to work.
Enjoy small rewards
A little treat every once in a while will help keep you on track, reinforcing the good work you’ve done. It could be a sunset picnic, going to the movies or buying a new plant for your home.