Whether you’re paying off a large amount of debt or have a lofty savings goal, staying focused for the long haul can be a challenge. In order to make noticeable progress toward your goal, you have to keep at it day in and day out. Some goals (like ours) are years in the making. That’s a lot of days of being focused!
If you’re like me, some days you’ll feel energized and ready to sprint toward your goal. You’re willing to give up whatever is necessary to reach your goal and you don’t let anything stand in your way. You see your financial journey as a race that you’re winning. You don’t even get discouraged when haters mock you and are eager to see you fail.
Then there are other days. Days where you don’t want to pack another sack lunch as long as you live. Days where you want to eat steak instead of meatless spaghetti. Days where you doubt that your sacrifices will ever really make a difference.
It’s normal to have days where saving money (and all that it entails) makes your grumpy. You’re just plain sick of saving and scrimping.
I was having one of those days yesterday. While my idea of splurging isn’t going to the mall (what’s that?) and buying new shoes or designer handbags, I really wanted to pay someone to clean my kitchen, do the laundry, and make dinner last night. If takeout were an option, I surely would have splurged for that, but the 40 minute drive with hungry, grumpy kids didn’t sound like it would improve the situation (and that wouldn’t have solved the laundry or messy kitchen either).
In my case, my patient husband handled the kids (who happened to be extra exhausting) when he got home while I channeled my frustration into cleaning up the kitchen and living room. It’s amazing how quickly a clean house can change my outlook and motivation.
Here are some ideas to help you keep focused even when you want to splurge:
Look at How Far You’ve Come
Normally we want to look forward, but it’s beneficial to take a look back every now and then to see your progress. When you are tempted to splurge, take a look at how far you’ve come. You will be inspired by your own success and you won’t want to wreck what you’ve done.
Also, be sure to remember the “why” of your goal. A solid “why” behind your goal can be really powerful!
Focus on Something Else
Wracking your brain for another way to reduce your spending or yet another way to earn money– though sometimes energizing– can also be exhausting. When you’ve taken frugal to the limits, it’s healthy to give the money-saving side of your brain a break.
While your tendency may be to break out of your frugal habits, try diverting your focus with a good alternative that doesn’t involve spending. You could get lost in an inspiring book or do some cleaning and organizing around the house.
Make a List
Depending on your personality, making a list might just make your day. I am a natural list-maker. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, one of the best ways for me to “take a load off” is to make a list. Trying to hold all my “to-do”s or grand ideas in my head hurts my brain sometimes. Getting it all out on paper helps me relax and deal with life more rationally.
Lists aren’t limited to groceries or “to-do”s. You could even make a list of things you would love to splurge on right now. Once you’ve written down the things you want to spend money on, you might find you’ve got the urge out of your system.
Indulge in a Little Splurge
I’m giving you permission (not that you need my permission) to a little splurge every now and then. When you realize there are seasons to save and seasons to spend you will learn to give yourself grace. You can’t do everything all of the time. It’s okay to simplify. For me a simple splurge on cold cereal or store-bought bread can lighten my load and turn my outlook around.
Reassess your Goal
When a goal is overly ambitious either in scope or time frame, it can be more frustrating than fruitful. If your goal is too far out of reach. You might consider breaking it down into more manageable chunks. Having a more attainable goal (even if it is only a piece of the greater goal), will help you to stay focused instead of falling into a funk.
I’m thankful that my grumpy days are few and far between. I’m blessed with a husband who also has a positive outlook and rarely gets in a funk.
What About You?
- What keeps you going when you’re sick of saving and want to splurge?
- What helps you resist the urge to splurge? (Ha– that rhymes!)