Saving is hard. It isn’t like pressing a button and suddenly seeing your finances get organized. Instead, it’s a slow-moving process that can take a long time to gather steam. During that time, you can easily lose your motivation to stick with your budget. Next thing you know, you spot a weekend getaway package that promises more immediate fun, and your savings goal falls apart.
Has this happened to you before? These tips below might help you stay on track.
Don’t Beat Yourself up if You Fail
Motivation is hardest to find (and keep) when you’re first starting out. You haven’t been saving long enough to see a big pile of money in your account, so it might not feel like you’re making any headway. And what’s worse, you may not have enough savings if you encounter an emergency soon.
All that work to save, and you still haven’t made a difference to your financial situation. Talk like that can trick you into giving up your goals altogether. All too often, your inner critic can sabotage your savings goal the moment you run into trouble.
Are you worried about the financial consequences of coming up short? In the event you don’t have enough cash to cover an unexpected expense, you can check out a site like MoneyKey and explore your potential borrowing options. A line of credit or installment loan can help make up for your lackluster savings, giving you the funds you need to take care of business.
It’s important to focus on what you managed to save, even if you borrow money. All your hard work scrimping means you have to borrow less than if you never started savings in the first place.
Set Mini Milestones and Celebrate Them
SMART goal setting involves identifying your big objective—creating a six-month emergency fund—and breaking it into several smaller steps. For instance, you might focus on what you need to reach $100 increments or how to break your first $1,000.
Celebrate these steps when you achieve them — even if it means spending a little bit of money. A small splurge on takeout once and a while won’t make or break your budget, but it can certainly keep your spirits high.
Get Others Involved
It’s easy to give up on your goals if you’re the only one affected by it. It’s a lot harder when someone else is involved. You don’t want to let them down or feel judged when you don’t live up to their expectations.
You can harness these negative feelings into motivation by asking a loved one to be your accountability partner. Schedule regular check-ins to talk about your difficulties and your victories. With both of you trying to save, you can hold each other accountable to your goals.
Download a Commitment Contract App
If the social faux-pas of letting down your accountability partner doesn’t bother you, you might find greater success with acommitment app. Commitment contracts apps like 21habit, Beemind, and StickK turn your goals into a competition with real-life stakes.
These apps make you put your money where your mouth is, placing a bet that you’ll achieve your savings goals. If you win, you’ll keep the money you put on the line. But if you lose, you can kiss that money goodbye. Some apps keep your bet as their payment, while others send it to a charity of your choice.
Knowing your money is on the line, even if it’s just $20, can be a powerful motivator to keep to your goals. However, like all gambling, you should only do it if you can afford to lose. Betting money you need for bills could worsen your financial situation.
If you’ve lost motivation to save, try these tips. They might help you stick to your plans.