When it comes to change, many of us are great for the short term, but over the long term, we typically revert back to our old ways. There could be any number of reasons for this. Maybe we didn’t give it enough time to become a new habit. Maybe we tried to change too much too quickly. Or maybe we just enjoyed our old ways better than the new way. To be successful with money over the long term, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of new habits sticking.
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3 Ways to be Financially Successful
I am going to walk you through three tricks I’ve used to help me change my money habits. Back in the day, I was in credit card debt and failed over and over at budgeting. But over the years, I found a few things that have worked great for me. Below are these tricks.
1. Modify Tools and Strategies to Make Things Your Own
The first tip is to make things your own. What do I mean by this? When I was younger, I wanted to start budgeting my money so I could start to grow my wealth. I found a really cool Excel based budget online and downloaded it. I filled it out and updated it throughout the month and the month after that. Then I started to slack off.
It wasn’t because I didn’t want to budget and grow my wealth, it was because the budget I was using didn’t meet my needs. So I sat down one weekend and noted what I liked and disliked about it. Then I wrote down what I needed and what I would love to have in a budget. Then I created it.
Even after I created it, I was still tweaking it for months after that. But eventually I got to a place where it worked exactly like I wanted it to.
Use templates and strategies regarding your money you find online but don’t be scared to modify them and make them your own. If using a budget isn’t working for you, consider Managing Your Finances Without a Budget in Two Simple Steps. The more you can make things work for you, the greater the odds of success long term.
2. Celebrate Milestones
Another trick that has helped me be successful with money is to celebrate milestones. We all have various financial goals we want to reach. When we do reach them, how do we celebrate? For most of us, the good feeling we feel inside isn’t enough. We need more.
For me, I go out to dinner to my favorite restaurant when I reach a goal. When I got out of debt, I went to that restaurant to celebrate. When my investments crossed over six figures, I went to that restaurant. By celebrating, it helped to keep me motivated to see the goal through to the end.
Figure out a milestone (or milestones) you can use to celebrate when you hit certain financial goals. Just make sure you can afford the celebration and not go into debt! And remember to Revisit Your Goals to Radically Improve Your Finances.
3. Give Yourself Some Freedom
When it comes to money, you have to be flexible otherwise you are bound to fail. When I was in credit card debt, I wanted out as soon as possible. So I created a budget and put every last cent that wasn’t earmarked for another bill towards my debt. This meant I had zero fun money. No going out with friends, no going to the movies, etc. Nothing.
The first month it was a breeze. The second month I cracked. I resented my debt and went on a spending binge!
But it wasn’t the debt that I hated. Well, I did hate it, but it was the fact I had no play money, no freedom. So I adjusted my budget. I allowed myself to have some fun each month and still pay down my debt. This changed my world. I was excited to pay down debt and getting out and spending time with my friends only increased my happiness.
Allow yourself to splurge now and then on things. You don’t have to be super strict with your budget or savings, etc. You have to find a happy middle ground that will let you progress towards your goals and still have freedom and enjoy life. See How to Have a Life While Living On a Tight Budget.
It is akin to those that save everything but never enjoy the money they save. What is the point of saving everything if you never allow yourself to spend any of it? Find a happy balance between saving and spending and you will be more successful with money.
In order to be successful with money, you need to make things your own, celebrate milestones and give yourself some freedom. When you do these things, you will be more likely to remain successful over the long term and not just for a few months. This will result in long term wealth that will provide for you over many years of your life.
More Ways to Manage Your Money
- How to Improve Your Finances When You Don’t Know Where to Start
- 5 Steps to Overcoming a Financial Setback
- Why You Shouldn’t Bother Comparing Yourself To Others
- Should You Spend More Money Now to Save More Later?
- You Think You’re Saving Money… But You’re Not
- Do You Save First or Spend First?
- What Should Your Financial Pie Chart Look Like?