Maintaining Your Money Motivation

These tips will help you stay motivated to save money

Learn how to stay motivated to save money in the long run

Budgeting tactics and tips will help you execute the day-to-day work of managing your finances.

Budgeting strategies will help you understand, on a goals-oriented or philosophical level, why exactly you're doing all of this work.

But in addition to nailing your tactics and knowing your strategic vision, there's a third element to budgeting that you need to embrace: maintaining your motivation.

Why is Maintaining Money Motivation Essential?

Does this sound like a bunch of jargon?

Let me compare this to a different example:

When you’re on a diet, you need tactics. You need to learn, for example, to replace creamy ranch dressing with a low-fat, low-carb, yogurt-based alternative.

You need to learn the tactics of replacing white rice with brown rice, fatty cuts of meat with lean cuts of meat, and fried vegetables with grilled, steamed, or raw vegetables.

Those are all tactics. They're tips that help you execute the day-to-day of dieting.

Your dieting strategy helps you figure out, philosophically, why you're executing those tactics. You may have a strategy of leading a low-carb lifestyle, becoming a heart-healthy eater, or cutting saturated fats from your system.

But in addition to your strategy and your tactics, you also need plain old motivation. It doesn't matter how much you aspire to become a heart-healthy eater, or how many tips and tactics you learn. None of that is going to matter if, in a moment of weakness, you scarf down an entire bag of potato chips followed by fourteen chocolate chip cookies.

Motivation is just as important as your vision and your tactics. Strategy, tactics, and motivation are the three corners of a "success triangle."

Now that you know why it's important to stay motivated, how can you keep the momentum going when it comes to your finances? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Keep a Long-Term Goal in Mind

Perhaps your goal is to become completely debt-free.

Perhaps you want to retire at the age of 45. (Yes, it can be done.)

Perhaps you want to own your home free and clear, with no mortgage attached. Maybe you want to send your children to college without burdening them with student loans, pay for your child’s wedding, or quit a job you don’t enjoy so you can pursue a lower-paying, but more satisfying alternative career.

Whatever your “why,” keep it at the forefront of your mind. Hang photos representing your “why” throughout your home. Constantly remind yourself of the large, overarching goal you're aiming for.

2. Imagine Yourself in Your Golden Years

Studies have shown that people who are adept at visualizing themselves as senior citizens tend to save more for retirement than people who don’t.

You can download a free app from the iTunes Store called "Age My Face," which allows you to digitally age a photograph of your face. Merrill Edge also has a free program called Face Retirement, which offers the same service.

Getting a glimpse of yourself as a senior citizen might motivate you to save for retirement. (And as a bonus, you may also be more motivated to wear sunblock, drink water, and get plenty of sleep!)

3. Talk to People Who Are Retired

Many seniors will tell you that their two biggest regrets are not taking better care of their health and their finances.

By meeting and speaking with people who are dealing with the consequences of their youthful decisions, you might become more motivated to stay away from the mistakes they made.

Not sure where to meet retirees? Try reading blogs written by retirees, in which they document their lives, their joys, and their challenges. You could also ask your parents for recommendations if they live in a 55+ community.