Incorporate saving money into your daily routine in order to see results(Read article summary)
To save money in the long-term, choose reasonable tactics that you can maintain. Trent Hamm explains that the most successful money management tactics are those that are repeatable.
John Nordell / The Christian Science Monitor / File
I remember that feeling all too well.
Iâ€™d scrimp and save for a whole month so that I could make an extra payment on a debt. Iâ€™d fire off a check for $1,000 more than the minimum payment and Iâ€™d feel good about it.
Then Iâ€™d look at the remaining balanceâ€¦ and Iâ€™d feel disheartened. All that effort, and thereâ€™s still a long way to go.
The thing to remember about big life changes is thatÂ you donâ€™t measure the success by what happens in the first month or even the first few months.Â You measure success over a long period of time.
One month of better behavior just isnâ€™t enough. One extra payment just isnâ€™t enough.Â
The changes you make need to be repeatable.Â They need to be a new way of living for you, not just something youâ€™re doing right now to get this uncomfortable bill out of the way. If you donâ€™t address it in that way, that nasty bill is going to be right back in your face before long.
Thatâ€™s why the real path to success â€“ for me, anyway â€“ was all aboutÂ trying lots and lots of new things and, frankly, discarding most of them.
For every five frugal tactics Iâ€™ve tried over the years, Iâ€™ve tossed four of them aside. Those tactics didnâ€™t fit into my life. They brought me genuine unhappiness or discomfort in some way. They left me feeling bad or cheap. They left me without things that I really wanted in my life.
When I faced the kinds of changes that I didnâ€™t like on the whole, I discarded them. I looked for new angles, new strategies, new tactics.
I kept trying. I still do. I look for ways toÂ permanentlyÂ change my behavior that resulted in less spending (or more income) that donâ€™t encroach on my life in any negative way.
Skipping a treat once just isnâ€™t enough. You need to figure out if this treat is something you need in your life permanently. If it is, then figure out a way to make it cheaper. If it isnâ€™t, then eliminate it from your routine and make it a rare splurge.
Making an extra payment once just isnâ€™t enough. You may be saving some interest in the long term, but that interest is going to keep hitting you and hitting you and hitting you. A focus on eliminating your debts needs to be a permanent thing, not a summer fad.
Making a meal at home once just isnâ€™t enough. You might have saved $20 on dinner, but if you make up for it by going out twice in a row, youâ€™re not really saving much. Itâ€™s theÂ routineÂ of meals at home that saves a lot of money, and teaching yourself that routine makes an enormous difference.
Making one Youtube video or one blog post just isnâ€™t enough. You might earn a buck or two from that one-shot deal, but it takes a lot of content to consistently put money in your pocket.
One little change just isnâ€™t enough.