These are my 3 phases of saving:
- Super Motivation Phase
When you first start saving, you are ‘in the zone’. You read all the saving tips, you forgo the heating in winter, you chew slower to make your dinners last longer. Anything to save a buck!
- The Horrible Middle Phase
You have been saving a while but your goal seems so far away. You have made all these sacrifices and have saved a little, but the road seems so long. You are starting to get jealous of your friends, who are going out, buying clothes and other frivolous purchases (not even looking in the bargain bin before they make a purchase. Shocking!) You are lacking motivation, and your bank balance is starting to show it.
- The “I’m Nearly There” Phase
Now you can see the finish line. Almost taste that final goal bank deposit. Seeing how far you have come keeps you motivate to keep going. You start making extra savings deposits, your motivation has shot back up and you are walking to work, darning socks and feeling great!
By observing my saving phases, I know when the “spending danger zones” are, and I’m ready to combat them.
Currently I am at the Horrible Middle Phase. I started out so great, depositing extra dough into my account, making social sacrifices and refraining from buying a chocolate chip muffin with my coffee on the weekend. But, I feel deflated. My bank balance is going up, but it seems so far away to when I’ll actually reach my goal, I am starting to look at other options to spend my savings… (namely the Flight Centre website)
WARNING DANGER ZONE!
I am starting to look for a quick fix, an instant gratification for all my sacrifices. I want to go on holiday, to enjoy my money. But I must remind myself, if I spend this money now, I’ll be back to where I started before I made all these sacrifices! And then the cycle of spending will continue.
I need to boost my morale without dipping into my savings.
Firstly, I must remind myself what I am saving for. Time to get out the scissors and glue! I need a visual representation of what I am working towards – something fun, bright, colourful, creative and motivational. Have you ever noticed how colourful junk mail is? Shopping catalogs are always colourful. It makes them appealing and inviting. Well, if they can do it, so can I!
Next, I need to feel good about my accomplishments. And no I don’t mean spending money! Instead, watch a documentary on credit cards. I know that sounds bizarre, but by watching it, you will realise that you are already so far ahead of pack with your saving habits. It will also reinforce your need to save and to avoid the ‘quick fix’ that comes with instant credit. Some documentaries that I enjoy are: In Debt We Trust, Global Financial Meltdown (about the 2008 credit crisis), The Truth About Pay Day Loans: Young, British and Broke, Spent: Looking for Change and Default: the Student Loan Documentary.
These documentaries show how bad spending habits can impact your life and how to avoid them. The content you watch will stay with you, and in the next few weeks you’ll notice how you avoid reaching for that extra cash or credit card.
Finally, keep your goal at the front of your thoughts. I signed up to ‘Domain Alerts’ using the Domain App on my phone. This will let me know when properties come on the market in my watch area and at my price range. I can do my research and keep actively thinking about my goal.
Warning: only have this sort of motivational tool active while you are still so far away from reaching your goal that it would be impossible to actually spend the money. I would hate to buy a house with a smaller deposit just because I was impatient and found the ‘ideal’ property on Domain. Remember: properties will come and go, the most important thing is I reach my goal before I think about buying!