Simple and easy are two words often confused, but in reality they do have slightly different meanings.
Easy: not hard or difficult; requiring no great labor or effort. Antonym: difficult
Simple: not elaborate or artificial; not complicated; not complex or compound.
Don’t worry this is not just a vocabulary lesson to help make sure you are using the words simple and easy correctly.
In fact, I tell you this because though getting out of debt, saving, or obtaining any PF goal, can be quite difficult, it is really quite simple: SPEND LESS THAN YOU EARN, SAVE/INVEST/PAY OFF DEBT WITH THE REST.
Easier said than done, right?!
For me, though the concept is simple and I understand it mentally, it is still really hard sometimes to be fully committed to my financial goals.
Here are a few things you can do to help make it simple and easy to stay on track with your financial goals:
- Find and Avoid Your Triggers: What are the things you are always overspending on? Clothes and accessories? Eating out? Once you know where your slow budget bleeds are it’s easier to fix them in the future. You can try going on a cash diet, or tracking every penny until you are more comfortable with the new total you’ve come to in your problem area(s).
- Track Your Earnings and Spending: As mentioned, tracking your spending can be a real eye-opener and can help you to realize just how much you were actually spending in that area. Lots of times, people are shocked by what they actually find out how much their spending. I know I was. Plus using an envelope system or cash-only system helps limit spending.
- Publicize Your Goals and Results: No matter if your results are positive or negative, posting them for the world to see (and comment on) is a great way to gain some accountability to yourself and paying off your debt. Plus, posting your negative outcomes is a really humbling experience and helps readers to see that you are in fact a human who makes mistakes.
- Have Fun with it: Realistically speaking, setting and obtaining financial goals is not really my idea of “fun”, but playing debt games like racing against your debt free date projections is a great way to stay motivated. Like we’ve all heard before, you can’t see results if you don’t track things. You don’t need “treats” or other things on a regular to make yourself stick with your goals, but they can be a great way to celebrate major achievements.
- Ask for Advice: Ask fellow personal finance bloggers who are now debt free (or close to it) what tips and tricks they have to help you stay motivated and paying off debt (or saving). Seek advice in the PF community, and you shall receive. The community as a whole is very friendly and willing to help each other out.
- Jump Right Back on the Band Wagon: We all have ups and downs in our journeys to financial independence, but the ability to keep right up and keep going after a set back is what will determine your overall success.