You know what I just discovered just a few months ago? Making your money goals visual.
It has made a world of difference and positively impacted my motivation to save money with high intensity, hustling to bring in extra work.
See, I've heard about coloring in the thermometer if you are trying to raise money and I even helped my cousin make a pay-off-debt-color-in-progress banner once. But I have never once sat back and realized that this would actually benefit me!
Starting about 18 months ago, heavy discouragement set in and wrapped it's paralyzing tendrils around me. Very weary of working so hard for so long on this goal of sacrificing to put my husband through school with cash and no debt, I felt as though the only progress being made was equivalent to spinning my wheels in one spot, sinking deeper each day, even going backwards.
Over the same period of time, my freelance work (which is my main bread and butter) started slowing down substantially, making it difficult to scrape together enough money to pay for tuition payments.
Discouragement, stress, and despair of ever moving past this stage of my life all took it's toll on me. For the first time in my life, I started getting sick every few months and I lost sight of the reasons why I was working so hard. I was completely worn out.
In the middle of all this, the idea for Cook With a Shoe (CWAS) came about and the desire to come alongside with encouragement to others who are struggling with their finances grew.
I started tracking my savings back in February as a way to see that I can actually make forward progress on my financial goals, even though it doesn't feel like it at all sometimes. At first, tracking every dollar saved was just a dutiful step, mainly so I could have something to work on to show you.
But then I saw progress as my savings grew. I started tackling my monthly bills one by one to see if the amount could be reduced, soon saving more than $100 a month out of my budget.
The excitement grew as I sold a few things online, putting the money towards my savings goals. As the month drew to a close, I couldn't wait to tally up the numbers and see how much I was able to put aside. My hubby made me a fancy excel sheet which tracks the monthly amounts as well as the running totals which have continued to inspire me.
Hustling to earn more
In order to bust my savings into high gear, I picked up a second job and have been amazed at how much money has been put aside in a short time. For the first time in several years, there is actual proof (instead of just a wishful thought), that I can start making headway in saving beyond what is required for tuition payments.
One article about a lady who had colored in a doodle picture as she was paying off her debt, made me realize how desperately I wanted to see an end to paying for school along with seeing that I am making money progress, even when it doesn't feel like it.
I printed off a picture and we started coloring it in with every $200 saved for school. The Money Tree sits on my mantle where I look at it every day. There is a very tangible depiction of one semester, which has been paid for, and a defined amount as to how much more money needs to be saved.
My days are very full with work and blogging. I often think about sleeping for a week. Yet, there is a renewed sense of hope that I can make it through this chapter of scrimping and saving to see my husband graduate with no loans while making headway on my other savings goals.
Tracking my savings progress with the excel sheet and the monthly savings reports, along with coloring in my Money Tree, have made such a difference in my life.
Once again, I am excited about saving and earning more money in order to reach our money goals.
I can see how much money has been saved thus far and continue to calculate how much more I can squeeze out of my budget.
Also, I can see exactly what is left to be done with this goal. A specific amount of how much more I need to save is clearly defined.
There is an end in sight with the goal of paying cash for school and it is tangible, which makes the discouragement easier to push aside.
Are you struggling with seeing any progress you have made, either towards paying off debt or building your savings?
Find a way to make your goals visual and start tracking your progress on a monthly basis.
You will be amazed at how fired up you will become about reaching your financial goals and how it happens much more quickly than you had thought.
The discouragement will be easier to bear as you can see how much money progress you have made and that there is an end in sight to this goal you are working on.
You will know exactly what to do to make your money progress a reality.
Being able to see the ground you have covered, the wins along the way, and end in sight, all help to keep you motivated and willing to do what it takes to win with money.
Here are some ideas for making your progress with money visual:
- Color in a picture
- Use a excel sheet
- Set up a special savings account
- Write your savings down in a notebook
- Make a money thermometer
Do you make your money progress visual? How do you do it and how has it helped?
Like this post? Check out all the rest in :
- Successful Budget Tips Series
Hi! I’m Charissa. I’m on a mission to help hardworking women overcome money struggles and gain financial peace with a Biblical perspective so they can have the freedom to impact their families and communities. Ready to make some changes that will impact your finances in 2020? Click here to get a free worksheet to help you make it happen!