It’s easy for anyone to say they’re going to create a budget and save a certain amount of money each month. Usually these conversations arise from wanting to save for something special, or because a life changing event means that you are forced to look at your income and expenses. But how easy is it to find your motivation to save money?
Making a budget and sticking to it is all very well, but you can’t sustain it for a long period of time if you’re not motivated to get to the end result.
First things first is to determine why you are setting your budget. If it’s a need rather than a want, then I firmly believe you should add something into your budget that will allow for occasional treats. It may be that you are having to save now because you have been over spending for a long time, but even so, burnout will happen too quickly and then you’ll break the budget one day and all your hard work will be wasted.
If you are saving for a treat such as a holiday or a new car, think about why you are saving for these things, do you want them more than the take away you want to buy, or the new pair of shoes? Hopefully the answer is yes, but if you find yourself really wanting to buy that takeaway because you can’t be bothered to cook, or you’ve had a long day at work and you’re tired, chances are the take away is going to win as this is the immediate, where as the holiday or new car may still be a few months away.
This is a dilemma I am faced with very often. The shiny lure of a new gadget that I know I have to save for, is easy to do in my mind, and it’s easy when I break down the monthly savings I need to achieve. By month three out of twelve for example when I am not achieving my goal for one reason or another, I am disheartened and then start to think about why I haven’t reached my monthly goals. Usually I can track my over spending to eating out.
We all have a weakness and it’s finding that weakness to be able to deal with it and determine how we can motivate ourselves to save for the bigger picture.
My excuses if you like are that I am tired, there’s nothing in the freezer than I want to cook, or I didn’t get anything out of the freezer in the morning to defrost. They are all great excuses and then they turn into great excuses in my own head for a takeaway or a meal out. This wont get me my holiday though will it.
My savings goal at the moment is a holiday to Disney World. This is my happy place, and the happy feelings last longer than the two weeks we visit for. How long does the happy feeling from a takeaway last me? About five minutes and then I’m feeling guilty that I’ve spent the money.
Was it worth it? Not for me but I still do it far too often. My trick has been to find the area in my life that is my weakness when it comes to spending money. As I have identified that area being eating out and buying takeaways, I can now tackle the ways to beat my weakness.
Are there any particular days of the week or month that you succumb to your weakness more than others? Mine is a Friday when it’s the end of the long week, and I have a busy day with no time for cooking dinner.
If you can identify these targets, then you can tackle them. I know my motivation has to be to find some inspiring slow cooker recipes, and I can start experimenting with slow cooker meals on a Friday. If I can beat the feeling of wanting a takeaway or meal out on a Friday, then I will be able to beat that feeling on other days of the week.
When I add up the average cost of a takeaway for a family of three is approximately £20. Once a week this will cost £1040 per year. That’s a big chunk of a holiday to Disney World right there.
What are you weaknesses when it comes to spending money?