For those of you participating in the Frugal Fresh Start Challenge, you’ve passed the halfway point for the challenge! Pat yourself on the back and celebrate a little!
Taking time to enjoy and celebrate your progress is an important part of staying motivated, especially for a goal that requires a change in habits and renewed self-control.
Most of your goals require you to give something up. That seems limiting and restrictive, maybe even punitive, until you remember that what you’re really doing is buying back your freedom and peace of mind. You’re giving up what you want now for what you want most.
So let’s celebrate how far we’ve come and look at what we’ve done!
If you’re new here, you can sign up here to get the workbook emailed to you for free! This challenge is designed to help you build new frugal habits and live by a budget so you can reach your financial goals.
Ok, Let’s think through the past few weeks and the specific commitments and sacrifices you made to work toward your goal.
On Day 1 we thoughtfully set an ambitious 6-month goal that will stretch us and make a meaningful difference in our financial health. We made sure our goal was smart, with special focus on it being specific and measurable. Having a goal that we are excited about will give us the motivation to make changes and do hard things.
On Day 2 we immediately began saving money by cutting one expense right out of our lives. We left the details up to you, but gave you lots of ideas. After choosing the expense to cut, we added up how much that would save us and we funneled the savings toward our goal.
On Day 3 we talked about tracking your spending and gave you a few great options for doing so. Hopefully you’ve been faithfully recording every transaction for over two week now. As this practice becomes simple habit, you’ll understand intuitively exactly what’s happening with your money, and in understanding, you’ll find your way to change.
On Day 4 you found an accountability partner to share your goal with who can cheer you on and keep you from veering off the path or backsliding. Hopefully, your partner knows of his new role.
On Day 5 we worked on overcoming our individual obstacles to cooking at home. Despite your busy schedule and the fact that you’re not a kitchen wizard you have a workable plan to eat more meals at home.
We created a budget on Day 6 & Day 7. We thoughtfully created categories, and then assigned the money we actually have to our highest priority expenses first, and then down the priorities as far as the money reached. Then when we get paid again we’ll assign jobs to each of those dollars. Now we’re being careful to spend according to our budget categories rather than our checking account balance.
In Day 8 we worked on lowering our fixed expenses. We ruthlessly examined our “fixed” expenses, and may have already made the calls that result in real savings, every single month.
We zeroed in on our utilities in Day 9. We figured out ways that we can change our habits to reduce our gas and electric usage.
On Day 10 we figured out how to make a habit of packing a lunch and it’s saving big bucks! Secretly, all your friends and co-workers wish they could do the same.
On Day 11 we had a serious talk about debt. We took an honest look at our debts and made a plan of attack for eliminating them.
On Day 12 we hit one of our family’s big expenses. We learned about and decided on ways that you can save money on gasoline and put that money toward your goal.
We got more organized on Day 13. We decided on some organizational improvements we can make to streamline our lives and save us money.
Just yesterday on Day 14 we talked about keeping budgeting flexible. We know that a change in priorities doesn’t have to wreck our budget. Now you can feel comfortable making changes to your budget throughout the month.
Whew! That’s pretty impressive for a couple of weeks! It can be a little overwhelming sometimes, the idea of keeping all that up, and the thought of how much further you still have to go. While you may feel like you have only inched toward your goal in the past few weeks, the reality is that you are creating great new habits that will pay off both in meeting this specific 6-month goal and in your long-term financial mastery.
How should you celebrate your progress thus far? That’s completely up to you. It could be a simple splurge like going out for ice cream, or taking an evening off to do something enjoyable. Maybe you’ve been yearning for a little time to just read a good book by yourself. Maybe it’s been years since you wandered through your favorite museum, or sat and sketched the view from your window. Maybe you just want to sit in front of a movie with your spouse instead of trying to think of ways to earn or save money.
Whatever you choose, it should be a meaningful celebration for you. Let off some of the tension and do something that helps you enjoy the peace of mind you’re earning with your hard work. Don’t forget to share with your accountability buddy so they can celebrate as well.
Day 15 Challenge
You have made awesome progress! If you haven’t followed through with all of the previous challenges, use this chance to get up to date, then choose a favorite way to celebrate your success thus far.
Get together with your accountability buddy, your spouse or a friend, or treat yourself to some time alone doing something you love. After your celebration, decide what your next milestone will be, and how you will celebrate it. Now you have something else to look forward to!