Imagine this: You’re on the fast track toward saving money and building real wealth. Your savings account is responding nicely to your new budget, which is super exciting. Tracking your spending is helping you cut out the junk you never needed anyway. You’ve even made progress on destroying your debt, which is awesome!
Everything is going swell, so you keep repeating the process…
…and over again.
Your enthusiasm slows. Your motivation wanes. You look around and think, “Man, this saving money s#it is freakin’ boring.”
Stop right there and back away from the ledge! That’s it… just back it on up… there you go.
What you’re experiencing is savings fatigue, and it is dangerously close to destroying all the progress you’ve made.
What is Savings Fatigue?
At some point, savings fatigue sets in for all super savers. The shiny debt-free lifestyle we craved doesn’t look quite as sparkly when viewed in the mundane light of the daily grind it actually takes to achieve it. The repetition of good financial habits, the constant attention to detail, the money piling up in our bank accounts month after month after month… it all gets a little, well, boring. The newness wears off, our original motivations lose their strength, and we’re tempted to quit before we reach the finish line.
I mean, once we’ve cut our expenses, paid off debts, and are cruising forward with our well thought out plans, what else is there to do, right?
Plenty. That’s what.
You’ve come so far! Don’t let savings fatigue fool you into taking your foot off the pedal now. It’s time to recognize the problem and fight back!
3 Ways to Fight Back Against Savings Fatigue
When saving money becomes boring, take a step back and use these three techniques to reignite your financial fire:
- Set financial goals. – Setting financial goals is a great way to stay motivated. Challenge yourself to save an extra $500 this month. Make a game out of cutting your expenses even further. Increase your retirement savings goal from 10% to 20% of your income this year. Or, set a goal of saving enough money to buy a rental property. By creating concrete financial goals, you’ll have specific targets to shoot for, providing incentives and motivation for you to stay on the right financial path.
- Create a “bucket list.” – Bust out a sheet of paper and start writing down your dreams. Perhaps you want to buy a house. Maybe you want to pay for your kids’ college. Or maybe you want to retire early, or travel the world, or give generously to your favorite charity. Whatever your goals are, write them down… then check them off after reaching them. Once you’ve finished your bucket list, create a new one. We’ve gone through several revisions of ours, and these lists continue to inspire us each day. Just like setting financial goals, the more specific you can be with your dreams, the more they’ll motivate you to save.
- Enjoy the little things. – Sometimes, it’s the little things that help us enjoy the process. For instance, payday is a great time around our house. Typically, we plan our budget a few days ahead of time. (Exciting.) Then, on payday, we revise our budget according to our actual paychecks. (Even more exciting.) After that, we pay bills and allocate savings according to the plan we agreed upon. (Super exciting.) The point is, enjoy each little win. Celebrate the little things and use them as motivation to keep on truckin’.
Savings Fatigue is Actually a Good Thing
When you’ve been following a financial plan as long as we have, things tend to stay rather boring. I never wake up and think, “Wow, it was so awesome that I didn’t spend a freaking cent yesterday. Hot damn!” Nope, it just doesn’t happen because not spending money really isn’t all that exciting.
But, for all its dangers, savings fatigue is actually a good thing. It means you’re doing it right. You sleep soundly at night because you’re slowly saving for the future. You don’t have to worry about where the rent will come from or how you’ll put food on the table this month. There aren’t any financial surprises or emergencies to fret over because you’re prepared for the worst things that can be thrown your way. Yep, by completing the simple, mundane tasks of every day saving, you’ve eliminated the excitement and replaced it with stability. That may not be exciting, but it’s a helluva lot better than struggling.
Enjoy the Journey
I hate to break it to you, but there aren’t any ticker tape parades or confetti lined streets waiting for you at the end of this journey. No fireworks will pop off. Nobody is going to jump out from behind your desk and sing songs of congratulations. Even so, this is where you want to be.
While you watch others struggle to pay off that car loan… and that house… and that credit card… and that furniture… you’ll have the flexibility to chase the dreams you wrote on your bucket list. You’ll have the freedom to make decisions others can afford. You’ll have financial options that other people just don’t have.
It’s then that you’ll realize your efforts have paid off, that you made a great choice by saving on the things that don’t matter so you can now spend on the things that do. You made small, temporary sacrifices and they turned into huge, long-term gains. It might seem boring, but it works. As for me, I’ll take boring over broke any day… and you can take that to the bank!
Have you experienced savings fatigue? What have you done to combat it? Let us know in the comments below!