I think all of us can agree – money, in general, can be really frustrating sometimes. Over the past two and a half years, I’ve talked to so many readers that are just grinding to get ahead, and they still feel stuck (even if they are killing it).
It’s super easy for “gurus” and personal finance experts to sit on top of the money mountain and shout down our finger wagging “Make sure you invest and pay off debt!” messages to the people that read or listen.
But the reality will always be that it’s way easier said than done, and everyone has a different path to get to where they want to be financially.
Here are five ways you can stay disciplined with your money:
1. Figure out your style
This is huge! There are so many different ways to approach budgeting, investing, debt payoff, etc. The key to picking a good path and actually following through is to do it the way that you want to, not what other people think you should do.
I liken it a lot to learning styles for kids (have to give the former teacher perspective). We all hear about the different learning styles – visual, aural, physical, kinesthetic, etc.
It always amazed me how effective a simple shift in teaching strategy could light a kid’s mind up almost instantly. The same goes for money management and hitting goals. We’re all just big kids after all, right? 🙂
If you’re an Excel nerd and love getting your hands dirty with every financial detail, incorporate as much of that approach as possible. If you’re like me and need automation to survive, find your favorite app or website and use it religiously.
2. Remove the negative money influences from your life (or at least limit them)
Admittedly, this is really really hard. There are so many factors around all of us that influence our money decisions.
“Why are you putting that much towards your debt? You need to live life, you know.“
“You’re a fool for investing in dividend stocks. Real estate is so much better.“
“Your car is really old. You should get a new one you can afford it.”
If someone in your inner circle is bad about hitting you with the above statements, you may need to remove them (harsh I know…but true).
For most people around me that I disagree with, the strategy that I’ve found to be the easiest is just to tune them out completely. I listen to my mentors and trust my research and gut, and that’s pretty much it.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t ever listen to people, but you need to be picky about what type of information or pressure you allow to influence your financial decisions.
3. Surround yourself with winners
After talking to thousands of people now, one factor seems to pop up more than most. People that are sticking to their investing, saving or debt goals are actively participating in a positive financial community.
Honestly, it could be anything – blogs like this one, church groups, friends that are just really into investing…whatever.
No matter how many sites like mine are out there, money will always be taboo for most of our society. People are embarrassed about where they are right now, they keep their salaries to themselves, and probably try to push a lot of their finances to the back of their mind.
The only reason that I’ve been able to get ahead financially and with my business is by talking about it with other people. That’s it.
Just as a small sidenote: We launched a M$M Private Facebook community that now has over 1,200 members! If you want to join a community of people that want to bounce ideas off of each other on student loans, investing, side hustles, and more…you can ask to join here.
4. Take a second to recognize how far you’ve actually come
This is something I have to tell myself daily, and I’m sure a lot of you are the same way. I beat up on myself that the site needs to have MORE growth, I need to invest more, save more, make more – all of it.
But then, I think back to when I was a 22 year old with $40,000 of student loans and no job. Things have changed a ton in just a few years for me, and I’m sure it’s the same for you.
It’s so much easier to stick with your financial goals if you take a second every once in a while and just be proud of yourself and how far you’ve come.
Most people don’t care about their finances at all, so you’re in a pretty elite group just by actively managing your money.
5. Find ways to give back
Giving back is something I’ve been experimenting with lately, and I have to say…it’s pretty cool. Now I look for even more opportunities to donate here and there or sponsor programs that I think are important.
That drives me to want to increase my income more so I can spread the money around to more people that need it.
Even if it’s not a financial contribution like what I’ve been doing lately, I highly recommend that you go out and do some solid volunteer work. A lot of you do already, and I can tell that it helps to keep you grounded and grateful for what you already have.
That investment in gaining a better perspective makes goals like paying off student loans or maxing out your Roth IRA this year feel so much less intimidating.
The fact that you care puts you so far ahead of most!
If there’s a financial goal that you’re working hard towards, you need to feel good about what you’re doing. It’s that simple sometimes.