This week I’m on my honeymoon (I hope to have some wedding pics up soon!) so today I have a great guest post from Charissa. Charissa started her blog about a month after me and became one of my first blog friends. What intrigued me about her blog was she unapologetically despised. Being debt free, I remember she revealed in one of her posts that she and her husband wanted to save heavily and not ever get back into debt even to purchase a house. Her savings reports also caught my eye and how she strategically tracked every penny she saved each month and worked so diligently to help her husband finish school. She’s truly an inspiration and drops some great knowledge. Take it away!
Working toward a large money goal, like paying off all your student loans, is really, really hard, especially when it feels like it takes forever to finish.
I’ve been cash flowing my husband’s education for several years, and over time, I became really discouraged and despaired of ever making it to the end.
Frustration from not making any progress toward any other financial goals and exhaustion from working so hard at budgeting my money for so long took its toll on me.
Until one small decision changed my outlook on money completely.
I made my money goal visual.
Yes, I had heard about making a visual goal and tracking your progress before, but didn’t really think it would help me.
Boy, was I wrong!
In fact, tracking my progress and making my money goal visual has changed my life in three powerful ways.
This simple action gave me:
I had been hustling for so long and clawing my way toward this goal of seeing my hubby graduate debt free that I was completely exhausted. I could barely make it through a regular work day and didn’t have anything left in me to pick up extra work, which was needed to keep paying for school.
I became excited to close out my month’s budget (how does that happen) to see how much was left over after expenses that could be put into savings.
I looked for additional ways to cut expenses and had the motivation to seek out extra work. I even took on a second job for 8 months to help boost my income levels and be able to save even more!
Throughout the year of tracking my progress, I realized that I was trying to do too many things at once and I needed to focus on just one financial goal at a time. I was paying cash for my husband’s tuition, building my emergency fund, saving up for a new car, saving up money to move, and breaking the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.
Instead of making any real traction, I was simply setting myself up for failure, disappointment, and frustration.
The more you can have laser-like intensity on one goal, the quicker you will be able to reach it.
Every extra dollar I was able to squeeze out of my budget and any extra income went towards building up the tuition savings account. I saw great progress immediately when I stopped trying to save for 5 different things at once!
Yes, my other money goals are put on hold, but only momentarily, and the reward of busting out the main goal is worth it. Plus, I know that once I shift my focus after paying the last tuition payment, the next goal will be reached very quickly.
The last, and most important way tracking my savings goal changed my life was by giving me hope. For the first time in a long time, I had hope that there would be an end to paying for school and that I would be able to move beyond this time in my life.
In addition to tracking my savings on the spreadsheet, I also started coloring in a picture based on how much I was able to save each month towards school. I saw my progress every day when I looked at the picture on my desk and the numbers on the spreadsheet backed it up.
I could clearly see that I was indeed making progress, even on those days when I felt as though I was going backwards instead. I had hope.
Seeing my progress has both inspired me to continue to save and has given me hope that I can reach my savings goal.
Hope has given me the strength to continue working really hard and to know that all of my work will not be in vain. Now, the hope I have is spilling out to those around me and I can encourage others who are working so hard toward a money goal they feel is completely out of reach.
If you are discouraged from trying to make headway on a large financial goal and you don’t really see how far you have come, then maybe it’s time to make your progress visual.
Color in a picture, use a spreadsheet, or make a paper chain and have it up where you can see it every single day.
You are making progress and I want you to see it! And in seeing it, you will find new motivation, focus, and hope as you continue working your way toward reaching your financial goal
I would love to share the FREE Savings Tracker spreadsheet with you and you can get it here.