Maintaining Momentum

Dave Ramsey calls it “Gazelle-like intensity.”  Some people call it “will-power.” I just call it “hard.”

So, when I’m asking myself the question, “How can I get out of debt?” I also have to answer another question: “How do I keep making sacrifices after I don’t feel like it anymore?”

I love eating out. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Every week, grocery shopping is “Mommy time” (and trust me – with five kids, I NEED “Mommy time”), and I will take extra time to stop and get a meal, read a book, and enjoy the quiet before I go to the grocery store.

The first weeks of our “get out of debt” focus, this wasn’t a difficult habit to give up.  It was an obvious, easy way we could save money, and I was excited about it.  This week is already more difficult. Excuses start popping into my head:

  • “It’s only a few dollars; it won’t make that much difference.” or
  • “You deserve a break…” – (wait, that sounds familiar…) or
  • “You’re actually saving money – you’ll spend less at the grocery store if you’ve just eaten.” (That’s my favorite.)

I’ve been reading some articles on “will power” and how to change these kinds of habits.  Here’s an interesting quote I came across:

“Whenever you say “should” — “Yeah, I really should do X” or “They should just do Y” — you have already lost”

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

The author challenges his readers in this article to think of some concrete things they can do to make the behavior change they are desiring. So here’s what I came up with:

Every time I want to eat out, I will take the amount of money I would have spent out of my wallet (or out of the bank) and deposit it into savings. It’s a tangible, immediate “reward” for the behavior. It’s something I can see, and makes the sacrifice feel worth-while.  This will also work with things other than eating out: a song on iTunes, a new pair of shoes, anything that we would spend money on that maybe we “shouldn’t.”

This is a strategy that Nick at Step Away from the Mall advocates, and I think it’s going to work really well.  For example…

So far I’ve found $24 – just today. $60 – just this week!

What are some ways that work for you to stop doing the things you “shouldn’t” do – or start doing the things you “should” do?

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Maintaining Momentum”

  1. Brian says:


    That's the average number of months it takes people to get out of debt, regardless of how much they start with.

    Put it in perspective, Jeremy and Lindsay: look at your kids–where were all of them two years ago? Better yet: where do you want them to be when you become debt-free?

    It's not that long…

  2. admin says:

    Exactly – it really is a matter of keeping the right perspective in each and every decision.

  3. Granny says:

    Just use your Chick Fil A coupons. I think you have enough for one a week till you are out of debt!

  4. Louise says:

    it is hard to keep up the motivation over a long time, thats where blogging and reading blogs helps. I stopped buying takeaway and mcdonalds by snowflaking the money I would have spent on it straight off the debt each day that I didn't buy it, now I rarely think about it!

  5. Nick says:

    Thanks for the mention! Great to see the money piling up! It would be cool to keep track of it over time (perhaps here) to watch it grow.

  6. Georgia says:

    I read a book by an author who called these moments when we are tempted to sin "crucifixion moments". When I started looking at those times I was going to spend money outside my budget, as an opportunity to crucify my flesh and depend on the Holy Spirit, all of a sudden, it wasn't so hard anymore. It had ZERO to do with willpower, but trusting that God is in control of all things. It became a stage in order for me to be obedient. The power of the Holy Spirit is in you, Lindsay, to give you exactly what you need to get through *this* moment. And that is all that you need. My experience in this process is that when I am dependent on Him, He provides exactly what we need. Sometimes it's very excellent gas mileage when there's not a penny left for gas until pay day. One time it was a $60 dance credit when I had no idea when I was going to pay for something. Or for some reason, the family that goes through 4 gallons of milk a week, had a gallon and a half last for a week. The Lord will provide *everything* you need.

Leave a Reply

echo get_theme_option("footer") . "\n"; ?>