Feb 152014

Keep asking why
© Photographer: Marek Uliasz | Agency: Dreamstime.com
My friend and I are participating in frugal February .  It’s been a bit of a challenge and definitely an eye-opener.   I am starting to see how my spending in some areas is on auto-pilot.   It doesn’t have to be that way, but old habits die hard.   Change is hard.  The same old, same old tends to repeat itself effortlessly if we don’t combat the inertia of habit.

Enter the winning why.   Fixing your finances is a big challenge. What is going to motivate you?  Why will you give up that latte or that new pair of boots? And do it consistently, day after day.  To keep motivated, your why must be stronger than your spending habits.  Your long term pay-off must be worth the short term pain, and you have to be in touch with it when the temptations come.

When your friends say “WHY???”  Why won’t you go on the shopping trip?  Splurge on some pampering?  Buy the latest greatest must have item of the month?  Make sure you have asked yourself first.  Then you will have an answer ready-they might even find a winning why of their own and decide to join you!

It comes down to knowing what you value most.   Before you make a spending plan (doesn’t that sound more fun than a budget?) decide what is important to you.   Money in the bank doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, which is why it can be hard for me to get excited about saving.  But when my good intentions falter, I ask myself why.

I don’t get all excited about the bank balance, but I DO get excited about retirement.   And I would love to have a retirement that involved travel.   I also like to have a bit extra in the bank if one of my children needs help.   Knowing that making the right choice today will give me the freedom to enjoy more of these things in the future helps me to forgo the little luxuries that might otherwise swallow my future plans, little bite by little bite.

This is about the difference between values and goals.   Goals are great, they give you benchmarks to check your progress and they help  you stay on track.   But goals must be based on your values to have real staying power.

What is important to you?   What will you forgo immediate gratification in order to obtain?  Dream big, dream often, and keep your focus on your dream, not on the little sacrifices you make along the way. THAT is the secret of the winning why.

Please share a little about your goals and your winning why in the comments below.