So this is the question… but why is it so difficult to achieve sometimes? Now don’t misunderstand me, I am a single woman with no dependants but I do understand the pressures of this. I am a homeowner, so I still have to pay the mortgage, bills, put food on the table etc. I honestly believe that the most important nugget of advice I can give to you about saving money is to dedicate yourself to the goal. Here’s my method of trying to become WEALTHY!
W inning Mindset
E xpectations Set
A ttainable Goals
T ime Bound
Y es You’ve Done it!
What is it you want? You must want something… or should I say “would like” to be polite? NO… it’s got to be a definite WANT! This is key. If you don’t want it enough…guess what… you will never get it. For me it’s all about mindset, if I really want something I put plans in place to get it, this may take time, hard work and certainly commitment but in the end I strongly believe I will get there. Do you believe this about yourself? My three golden rules you MUST follow to get the right positive MINDSET before you even start saving are :
1. Never say “ I can’t” or “ I can’t afford it” “I can’t do it” “I can’t find the time… I can’t do that I’m too busy”
This is so vital, if you think about the saying “ you are what you eat”, if all you do is feed your mind or others close to you with negative comments like above… then you will not achieve your goals. Think about how you talk to yourself/others when the going gets tough. Do you say things like above or do you say “Come on, you can do this!”, “ OK this is tough, but I will get there”, “ I can afford that if I do/give up this”. Seriously…think about it and all that negative talk…BAN IT NOW!
2. Visualise or think about what the ‘END GAME’ looks like
What DOES it look like? What does it SOUND like? How will it make you/others FEEL? What will it allow you to do? Say it out loud to yourself in the mirror ( I’m serious) or even better write it down. Draw it out on a vision board ( future post to follow on this amazing subject) put it up where you and your family can see it every morning, on your front door, opposite your toilet… haha! Where ever you will SEE it EVERY time!
3. Dedicate 10 minutes EVERY DAY to think about it – that’s it just 10 minutes
Again, another important mindset tool, why…? Because if you do this every day you will remind yourself about it and do all of the other golden rules above with ease when you think about it. Go and stand next to your vision board, talk to a friend about it, write about it, check your savings, set a new mini goal or a deadline. Whatever you want…as long as you are spending at least 10 minutes every day. Go and set a timer now!
So there are the first three nuggets before we’ve even starting contemplating how to actually save, so I am assuming that you have minimal savings, perhaps none. Or that all of your income is currently used on your spendings and outgoings etc…if you have already got savings… GREAT… your one step ahead of this advice.
Ok so you’re not going to be able to save £1000 in a few days, lets get realistic here, this part needs careful planning. The famous saying is ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail”. So there is the crux for the next steps in this process for money-saving success. It’s really vital that you know what you want to achieve and answer the following… here is my example… I like using what’s called a S.M.A.R.T Plan : –
Specific – precisely how much do you want to save and what is it for ( your goal or dream). Break it down – make it simple. This can be a daily/weekly/monthly or even a yearly goal.
Measurable – How/When/Why/Tell me/Describe to yourself how you will measure your success. How will you know you are on the right track?
Achievable – Is it possible? I mean you can’t stretch this too much. It NEEDS to be possible within your timeframe.
Relevant – Describe to yourself how this is real? Why will you be successful in achieving your saving goal?
Time-bound – Set an absolute deadline for getting to this milestone.
My S.M.A.R.T Plan for when I started saving for my DREAM
This is a really easy and straight-forward process to firstly get it all written down and in some kind of order for setting your daily/weekly and monthly goals to achieve the ultimate dream. So my next steps from this plan is to do that… make this real.
Yearly Goal – To leave work and travel the world
Monthly Goal –
Month 1 – Use Budget Planner to work out outgoings
Month 2 – Work out Needs and Wants & cut costs
Month 3 – Work out spare income and set up monthly direct debit into savings account
Month 4 – Same as above
Month 5 – Same as above etc etc
Weekly Goal –
Week 1 – Work out direct debits & outgoings – meal plan to save on food ( no buying lunch or coffees everyday in the office. Set dates for batch freezer food cooking for the month ahead. Set spending budget eg. £50 on food
Week 2 – Book in cheat meal or weekly treats for achieving goal – treat yourself for success.
Week 3 – Check check and check again. Am I on track, do I needs to adjust anything.
Week 4 – Look ahead to next month – work out savings – can I save anymore? Am I over doing it. Highs and Lows of month
• Take home-made lunch into work
• Don’t carry spare cash in purse
• Put all loose change into money pot
• Only one purchased meal a week ( takeaway,night out etc)
• Check online banking
• Look at Vision Board
• Journal about struggles/ successes
• Write about what I am grateful for today
Using this basic plan, I ensured that I saved enough money to be able to achieve my goal. And yes it was hard and at times. I could of wavered and of course sometimes I did spend a little extra or have another meal out a week, but I always rectified it ahead to even it out and balance the averages. This is essential in life. Although we must always have a winning mindset, we are all human and we can’t be perfect all the time.
By the end of my last year, I had cut down my costs, increased my earnings through work and other investments ( future blog to follow) and in the last few years have been saving every month to make it happen.
The most important thing here, is not once did I feel like I was missing out, unable to do things with friends, buy the things I needed etc. Because I made it work, my dream was BIG enough for me to dedicate my life to getting there. Which leads me to the next step…
For me this is crucial to the cause. You MUST at all times stay loyal to your goal. After all, you’ve put in a lot of mental and physical energy by now in completing the above steps, you have to dedicate yourself to being successful. Your winning mindset will allow this with practice. How loyal are you to your goals and aims in life? Have you wavered? If so, how can you rectify this? What does loyalty mean to you?
For me it was always being aware of my finances, watching money saving expert Martin Lewis, following his advice, making sure my money was earning as much interest as it could, making sure my credit cards were all 0% interest etc. But my main loyalty was to ticking off each daily, weekly and monthly goal and celebrating my successes by rewarding myself freely.
I also told my close family and friends of my goal ( of course with me I had to be more selective) however the more people you tell – the more you discuss it – the more real it becomes! These people can help you stay on track to enable you to achieve your goal. The amount of times I could have given up, had down days, having a momentary negative lapse that ‘I can’t do this’ was and is all natural. But the measure is in the ‘bounceback’ of how you pick yourself up, dust yourself down, take a deep breath and go and visit that Vision board again!
Making your goal time relevant is imperative. It is really easy to hope/wish that you have lost a stone before that hen-do you’re going to in Ibiza in a few months time. Or you might save a few pounds this week on the weekly shop at Aldi if they don’t have a deal on 12 Corona bottles… but it’s not specific enough. The human mind is a funny thing, but I honestly think that whatever you tell it, it will believe. If you don’t tell yourself and others that you want to achieve your goal by a particular date guess what… you won’t.
At the same time, this needs to be realistic. Why put pressure on yourself to try and achieve something that is not possible. You need to know your strengths, weaknesses, challenges and traits to be able to manage this effectively. So here’s my S.W.O.T analysis : –
On average it takes 2 months for an activity to become an addiction!
So there you have it, technically you have to stay dedicated to the plan above for two months for it to become a life-long habit. Fantastic! Can you commit to that? Of course you can. If you WANT it enough that is!?
Think now about three things you do everyday… eat breakfast, visit the bathroom, brush your teeth, have a morning coffee before you yawn through your morning meeting… whatever it is… really consider about how much you think about these actions. Not a lot right?
So guess what… you can create your own habits alongside these to aid with your success so…
– Everytime I brush my teeth – I check my bank account
– With my morning coffee – I check I’m on track with my daily/weekly/monthly goals
– When I visit the Bathroom – I look at my vision board
– After I’ve eaten my breakfast – I plan meal or make lunch
Very simple indeed but according to science extremely effective. Try it yourself and remember to create these habits inline with your goals.
Yes! You’ve Done it
Wow! This moment for me was MAGICAL. Years, months, weeks and days of utmost dedication to my goal had finally come to the end and now all the excitement and reward begins.
I vividly remember this moment… I’d been discussing with my mum as the deadline approached and even then a bout of negative energy was filling my mind. “I’m not sure I can afford it mum”, “ What if this happens” “ I’m not sure I’m ready”. Knowing how committed I had been to the goal my mum phoned after a string of what’s app messages and said I’ll come over and we can sit down and work it all out.
Having a supportive network of people around you to encourage and push you to achieve your dreams is so important. So my mum came over, we did a few sums, looked at my savings, worked out my outgoings and income ( before and after I’d left work) and I remember my mum staring at the amount and looking at me in amazement at the amount and saying ‘Yes, You’ve done it!”
Wow, I can live comfortably with my finances whilst following my absolute dream!
With this advice. You could too!
What are you waiting for?…