Monday, October 25, 2010

Challenge #2: Giving in!

Yikes, can I relate to the challenge of giving into your splurges while trying to meet a financial goal. For years we've had the same struggle of trying to save or really be careful about our spending and then at some point you break and give in on something you've been wanting. I've heard some great advice on this issue and we've tried some things to help with it too. Here are some thoughts:

-Allow for some rewards. If you don't ever cut yourself some slack in your budget then one of you will bend the rules and make a bigger problem then the slack would've. Set a goal and when you meet it celebrate it. We are doing this with our debt diet. Ever $1,000 we pay off, we are celebrating, because we've sacrificed to make that goal and so we'll give in on an "extra" we haven't been able to enjoy during that time period.

-Plan for splurges and entertainment. If you say you'll never eat out until you've reach "such and such" goal, then you'll go crazy and suddenly crave eating out every night! So, find a way to add those things you enjoy into your budget. Include an entertainment allowance and then be reasonable and live within that budget. If you're able to set aside an extra $5-10 per paycheck into a "fun" account on top of your entertainment budget, do that and when you have the amount you want in there go blow it on something you don't usually get to do.

-Have a "no rules/no questions/no limits" account. This is the money each of us have (my husband and I) that we take out each month that is ours to do with however we please. If I want to save mine up for something big down the line, then that's my choice. If I want to spend it on small treats every few days, that's my choice. Same goes for him. We each have the freedom to not feel guilty about how we chose to use that money, it gives us some space, some breathing room on a tight budget.

-Be realistic and make changes that fit your lifestyle. It's like any diet, if you eliminate everything you enjoy and only allow yourself to eat nuts and drink water, you'll cave EVERY TIME! It never works because you can't live like that for long term. Make changes that you can live with, cut out things that won't make you feel the need to cave in a month. Keep in mind how your schedule and life style look too. If you're a working mom, don't make a plan to cook 10 meals one weekend for the freezer. You'll be way to exhausted to do it, and you'll want to enjoy your family. Then you'll be disappointment by your lack of accomplishment.

-Eliminate the options. If you don't have it, you can't get it. If you fall back on credit cards to get something you can't afford then cut them up, close the accounts and don't give yourself that choice. I know it sounds harsh, but really, if there is no back up plan, then there is no splurging when you can't afford it.

Hope those make sense and that it gives you some ideas of ways to make your goals attainable.

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