No matter how fantastic your reasons for saving a trip, a new home, or starting a business there are going to be days when it's hard to stick with it. You get tired, overworked, or simply jealous of the money your friends are spending on their homes, wardrobes, and social lives. It's easy to fall off the wagon in those times, even though the dream you have would give you far more life satisfaction than the fleeting desire in front of your face.
So how do you maintain your enthusiasm for the long-term, saving money to achieve the goals you want most in life? Well, it starts with a few Jedi mind tricks.
1. Create some Dream Porn. (Yes, you heard me right.)
Dream Porn is what we call the sensual reminder of your dream: a photo or dream board, food, music, scent, or physical representation of your dream. When you take in your dream with your five senses every single day, it will be more a part of your everyday life and finances than some far-off dream that doesn't exist yet.
When we were saving for our trip around the world, we put a huge map on the wall of our front room to remind us of the reason for all our efforts.
2. Break it Down.
If your savings goal is high, it's going to be really hard to relate that number to your everyday spending. This is when it becomes really easy to talk yourself into buying those boots or that video game instead of saving your money. When you break it down into a bunch of smaller numbers, it becomes easier to see how buying those boots or video games impacts your savings goal.
Our savings goal was originally $75,000 USD (around £50,000 GBP), but by breaking it down into $100 (around £66.50) segments (the amount we planned to spend per day of long-term travel), we could better envision how our daily spending and savings habits affected our dream.
3. Imagine your savings account as a component of your dream.
For instance, if you're saving for a house, consider what the amount in your savings account can do right now. Will it build a bathroom, floor the kitchen, or paint the walls? Imagining what your existing money can buy for you now makes it a lot more valuable in your mind. It's not just money in the bank; it's a new floor!
We used the same goal of $100/day from tip #2 to imagine how many "days of travel" we had in the bank. On a tough Monday morning, it was very inspiring to know we had a healthy balance of travel days saved.
4. Tell other people.
When people know why you're cutting back, they will usually help you stay on track. Good friends will say yes to dinners at your house over restaurants, matinees instead of evening shows, and day trips instead of weekends away. In addition, they'll continue to ask you about your progress, helping you stay focused with your dream.
We told our friends and anyone else who would listen about our goal of travelling around the world, and over the course of 2 years we gathered a lot of supporters.
Let's face it, if it isn't easy you won't do it for long. And if you are counting on willpower, you will be disappointed (none of us is 100% strong, and why test it if you don't have to?). If savings is a new habit for you, it will take time for it to become as second-nature as brushing your teeth. Use an automatic transfer from your paycheck to deposit into your savings. Take the responsibility away from yourself and you won't be tempted. If you can bypass touching the money at all, you have a better chance of hanging on to it.
We wrote a book on how we achieved our dream of world travel, and Money Dashboard finance software is one of the tools we recommend to make money management easier. When you can see your entire financial picture, you can better morph it into the financial picture you want it to be.
You already have the financial tools to make your dreams a reality. Combine them with these 5 simple mental tricks, and you'll be living your dream in record time.
About the Authors: Authors Warren and Betsy Talbot help people turn their life dreams into reality. After 20 years of playing by the rules, they charted their own path to achieve their dream of traveling the world. Their books include Dream Save Do: An Action Plan for Dreamers. Visit www.Marriedwithluggage.com for more on living your dream.