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”
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?