The following is a guest post from Paid Twice – who writes about debt reduction, life, and creating a healthy financial future. This post is also the long-awaited conclusion to my ‘33 Days And 33 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt‘ series. I want to thank Paid Twice for her awesome article – and I encourage you to visit her awesome site – Paid Twice.
Day 33 of 33 Days and 33 Ways To Save Money and Reduce Debt: Remember to Live a Little
Over the course of the 33 Days series, we’ve learned how to reduce expenses, increase income, avoid temptation, determine methods that work, and a host of other things that contribute to being in a position to reduce your debt or increase your savings. NCN himself is a great example of what putting words into action can accomplish – not only did he eliminate all his debt, he also has set pretty high savings goals for himself, and even when he doesn’t meet them, he far exceeds any average expectations.
So it is my honor and pleasure to be able to wrap up the series with Day 33. Instead of giving one more tip about saving money, or another insight into reducing expenses, I am going to share with you the part that often in our drive, focus, and single-mindedness in following our debt reduction or savings plans, is forgotten or overlooked.
Don’t forget to live a little.
If you don’t build into your savings, budget, and/or debt reduction a little bit of freedom to enjoy what life has to offer, the chance of burnout or a major budget-breaking failure increases. If you feel completely and utterly beaten down and controlled by your budget, the whole thing can fall apart because it is too hard and unmanageable. We’re learning habits here to last a lifetime, and one of those is to be able to balance discipline with enjoyment when it comes to our finances. If we completely and utterly deny ourselves, we’re teaching ourselves that money isn’t meant to be enjoyed. And it is, within reason. We earn the money to make our lives more enjoyable, and we need to recognize that.
This is not an excuse to give yourself ton of fun money every month. You do need to change those spending habits and learn how to become a good steward of your finances. This is not license to buy every new gadget, DVD, article of clothing, or whatever else you might have been tempted to spend on that comes your way. No, it is not a good idea to eat out every single meal every single day. That hasn’t changed. But we should be able to compromise and find a middle ground where we can appreciate the little things in life while still meeting and exceeding our goals for the future. Not every latte is inherently evil. A good life can be lived in moderation.
Define an amount you feel is appropriate per month, or milestones at which you will give yourself a little (specific amount of) celebration money, and then give yourself the freedom to indulge just a little bit. Rome wasn’t build in a day, and debt elimination or meeting your yearly savings goals won’t happen overnight. Don’t sabotage your entire plan by making it so restrictive that you despise it. Understand what reasonable is, it may only be a few dollars a month, or it may be $25 or even $100. Make sure it makes sense with the rest of your financial goals. Life changes are being built here – a good plan is one that we can adjust for a lifetime of positive habits.
Just give yourself room to live a little. Life still happens no matter what your goals are. And all of our lives should feel like they are worth living.
As most of you know, my wife is expecting our third child. While ‘baby number 3’ still hasn’t arrived, we are very, very busy, getting ready for her birth. Over the next few weeks, I’ll feature original content, written by me, and several guest posts, written by some of my favorite personal finance bloggers. I appreciate your loyalty and patience, as we prepare for and enjoy the birth of our little girl.