For other stuff it’s easy. It is easy to find motivation to get out of debt because the prospect of not having to pay any more credit card bills is like winning the lottery. And motivation for investing is almost built-in to the addictiveness of success. But saving… well…
I mean, seriously, who likes saving anyway?
It is too much like self-denial.
What’s in it for you, right?
For me, in order to find the motivation to save, I had to set an achievable goal. You see, I want desperately to go to Apricale in Liguria, Italy. It is a goal that is lofty enough to keep me motivated but achievable enough that I do not feel overwhelmed. I have a photo of Cinque Terre as my desktop background to remind me daily of what I am working towards.
What is your motivation?
You need to find something that will motivate you to pinch those pennies. This motivation has to be strong enough to offset any and all temptations (well most of them anyway) in order to be successful. The idea is to find something that is just out of reach but definitely within the realm of possibilities. This will keep you going.
Maybe you can use the prospect of buying a house as motivation. Or saving for your son’s Princeton University tuition. Or maybe just upgrading your current brake pads so that you stop getting all those stares at four way stops. Whatever it is, stick to it and give yourself a daily reminder.
Then something very cool happens…
You start realizing that every cent and dollar you save is not really self-denial, rather they are getting you that much closer to achieving your goal.
I think about it like this: instead of eating out at the lame restaurants around this neighborhood and buying movie tickets for two for a movie which will undoubtedly disappoint, I can save that money and hold on to enough of it to travel to Italy for one day’s worth of projected expenses. If I start saving money instead of going out to the movies seven times, I would have enough money to spend a whole week in Tuscany. JUST LIKE THAT. Convince your significant other to skip seven stupid movies and you both will find yourself in another continent in no time.
But only YOU can make it real
Not going to the movies or eating out so much is a conscious choice that I have had to make every weekend so that I can put money in my Italy travel fund because I realize that if I do not act on my motivation, then all I have is a really pretty desktop background and nothing more.
If I don’t save, I will NEVER make it to Italy and that to me sounds like self-denial.
What motivations are you all using to save? Are they strong enough to overcome temptations? Has it been easy or hard?