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How do you stay focused on saving money?

January 4th, 2009 at 08:40 am

As in most things, I tend to run hot and cold - I'll go whole hog on an effort only to burn out and ignore it for months at a time. One thing I MUST do better this year is to keep up with the mail and related financial commitments. But my situation is so depressing that can be difficult.

I think the answer is to be disciplined and segment each day into chores that must be done, i.e don't ignore things and let them pile up. Pretty simple plan, right? But not too easy to maintain.

I guess it is directly analogous to weight maintenance, another area I am falling down on. So unlike thin and rich, you CAN be too poor and fat!

Overall I have all the tools in my arsenal - I have a hobby that I love and that keeps me sane and is my main form of exercise - cycling. My weakness is that I tend to waste time on the Internet while ignoring household work, so this year I have renewed focus on ensuring that at least some of that time is here, where there is much comraderie and help to be found, so thanks! As far as the neglecting household work, I guess I may have a true Internet addiction. As they say, procrastination pays off NOW, and hard work only pays off over time, so...

Anyway, thanks for listening. I think I may have to reclassify this post as a rant! Smile Which brings up a fascinating question to me - how to classify posts - it seems to be a real art, a lot of it in picking useful minimally overlapping categories in the first place! For now, I put this one in all categories!

16 Responses to “How do you stay focused on saving money?”

  1. sicilyyoder Says:

    I am trying to lose weight- have lost 40 pounds, and two sizes, but need to lose more. I drive half the day, for my merchandising business, and I think that hurts my weight loss. I am doing dishes ( in the dishwasher) right now, and cleaned out the refrigerator last night. I called my friend, and her husband was cleaning out their frig last night, too. I need to be more disciplined, too. I found food that I could have eaten, that went bad. I hope you meet all your goals for 2009!

  2. Ima saver Says:

    This forum keeps me focused to save !

  3. Ralph Says:

    But Ima, you don't need to save so much any more! What do you do for fun? Smile
    Oops, my bad, it's all right there on your blog - you're saving for your husband to retire - you are so nice! But will he - I find that a lot of successful people love what they do too much to give it up easily.

  4. gamecock43 Says:

    How to stay motivated?
    Have long/short term goals
    Have some rewarding goals...I have been saving for a house down payment- that's rewarding! Retirement..not so rewarding.
    Always update your progress

    And to keep the family involved-
    I keep three large papers on my refridgerator for my husband to see every time he opens up the fridge. One is of our daily spending tally, the other is of our previous months spending totals, and the third is of our house down payment status. Sometimes BB will just yell across the house to me- "Hey! How did we spend $305.00 in take out food last month?" and I know he is paying attention even though he doesn't often talk to me about it.

    Another thing- when I keep track of BB and my daily spending-I have to be really calm when BB tells me what his purchases for the day were. Even if he spent $80 on a video game I have to just thank him for telling me and write it down. If I blew up at him he would spend in secret. And I think when he says it out loud he is being held accountable and in hindsight will feel either shame or justified with the purchase- so he learns in his own way.

  5. Ralph Says:

    Thanks, gc43, that is just so sensible, but I still get the feeling I would get shot for posting that stuff on the fridge! Well, at least called cheap, but I take that as a compliment, and a necessary thing, to say the least! But thanks for starting the wheels turning - going Ross Perot on them has been on my mind for quite some time. When it's all there in nice clear charts it's pretty hard to ignore.

  6. Koppur Says:

    In order to stay motivated I need a lot of mini goals. If a goal is too big or it takes too long to reach it, I get frustrated or bored and give up on it. So I break things down. I want $1,000 in my EF this year, but I am focusing in it in $100 goals. I need to lose a lot of weight, so I do it in 10 lb increments. I also use a lot of lists and sticky notes. Smile

  7. homebody Says:

    Daily maintenance may be too much. I try for Friday evening or Saturday evening to go through the mail that came that week, enter my receipts and pay bills. I used to really like it when I had a little TV on my large U-shaped desk, I use to watch Law and Order reruns while I did the financial chores.

    I understand the internet addiction thing as I have struggled with finding a balance myself. All I can say is set the times you are going to "surf" and allow yourself to enjoy that time and then get up and do something else, knowing you can do it again at the end of the day for another hour or until you go to bed or whatever.

    I take it the kid's mother doesn't want to hear about finances? That makes staying on track extremely difficult. I have been married 30 years and just in the last month, since we invested in another business, DH is finally on board with saving every receipt, staying on a budget, etc. That's because he can see retirement as the light at the end of the tunnel, and being able to save my salary or use it for extras is making a huge difference!

  8. whitestripe Says:

    i find it hard sometimes to be motivated to clean the house and do chores i have been putting off for ages (it took me about 3 months to make an appointment to go to the doctor - and my car service was four months late...!)
    What works for me is using those things you love doing (like going the beach or on the internet, watching tv or even eating lunch) as a reward for doing the things you hate doing.
    When I get home from work at 1.30pm, i usually go to the beach with a friend. I tell her I will meet her at 2.30pm - which gives me 40 minutes to do exercise, 10 minutes to do some chores (the dishes and a load of washing, usually) and ten minutes to get changed and drive there. If I don't get my act together and do those things first I'll keep my friend waiting.
    If you find you're on the internet a lot, maybe try not turning your computer on until you've done everything. I find it hard myself if I turn it on and say 'only ten minutes, then i'll do something' i usually lose track of time. Household chores don't take that long to do really. If I have a lot to do I put on a cd and am usually done by the time it finishes, if not way before.

  9. Petunia Says:

    Small goals. . . and I guess starting here in April instead of January! (I started weight watchers in January and dropped out in mid-May.) Smile
    For me there's also been a willingness to keep going even with failure. I have been consciously trying to get Checkbook One to balance since April, and was finally successful in December. Really, it's a small goal and shouldn't be that hard, but it is.

  10. fern Says:

    That's a really key question, i think.

    My goal is mainly saving for retirement and so it would be easy to lose interest becus it's so long-term. However, i find it really helps to keep my goals, in writing, in front of me as an ongoing reminder. That's why i've included so much detail in my blog profile, becus every time i log on, i peruse it and remind and motivate myself.

    I also track my spending all year long and tallying income and expenses up at the end of each month really keeps me on track. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but i am singularly focused on reaching my goals and i don't think i could do that without making it a pretty integral part of my life.

  11. Amber Says:

    How to stay motivated? When it comes to money it's this forum. What I have found is that when I am not blogging I am not saving

  12. ralph Says:

    In order to stay motivated I need a lot of mini goals. If a goal is too big or it takes too long to reach it, I get frustrated or bored and give up on it. So I break things down. I want $1,000 in my EF this year, but I am focusing in it in $100 goals.

    Thanks for the reminder, Koppur! I even blogged about that before here: http://ralph.savingadvice.com/2008/01/19/eating-the-elephant...

    So my root problem is no memory. Thanks for the comments, all!

  13. shiela Says:

    For me and DH we like challenging our selves, and gets motivated that way. I'm very competitive even if it just against myself. It's like a game for us. We also believe in rewarding ourselves for job well done, it is normally either going to a fancy restaurant or going on holidays. We believe in having a balance lifestyle.

  14. LuxLiving Says:

    How to kill three birds with one stone? Cleaning, focusing, and savings all while internetting??

    I find that when I spend time reading the Flylady emails (Flylady.net) while I might not read or do every one of them from time to time something will spark a flame and I'll hop up from the computer and make a dash thru the house picking up or throwing something away or cleaning this or that. She's got a nice section on facing your finances. People often find money to save while cleaning up their piles of files and sock drawers!

    This site helps me a lot when I can be here. The other thing that helps me is using the YNAB (You Need A Budget) software. I'm tracking constantly that way.

    Setting savings and bill payments on autodraft is also quite helpful to keep the savings going up. For me it took setting up & AUTOMATING the subaccounts to save ahead for the tires, car tag renewals, etc. The main work of savings is done and then we get to spend what's left. When we needed the tires, the money was there. Back-planning from an event is helpful and understanding the Future Value of Money becomes important.

    Here's a good calculator:
    http://freeonlinecalculator.net/calculators/financial/future-value.php

    I'd say keep trying different methods to discover what in particular FITS YOU and will help you stay on track of savings and on top of the paperwork! Maybe make a 30 minute formal date with yourself 2 nights a week to keep the mail sorted and if you complete the tasks reward yourself by putting a few dollars in savings and allowing yourself a solid half hour of internet roaming.

    Flylady's timer is also helpful for staying on task. Use the tools that help you and keep brainstorming until you hit what works for you.

  15. baselle Says:

    How do I stay motivated? I like routine, actually, so my success is to do the things I like to do, but always do them more cheaply.

  16. Ms. Pearl Says:

    I sound like Koppur - I use small incremental goals to mark my accomplishments. I am in the midst of trying to lose 35 lbs and for each 5 lb. loss I am rewarding myself with things like makeup, a new shirt etc...

    This blog keeps me in shape and also the fact that my oldest will go to college in three years and I want to be able to help her at least a little.

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