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How Do You Stay Motivated to Save?

22290 Views 72 Replies 35 Participants Last post by  donaldhumiston
I think maintaining motivation is key to successful saving. My motivation mainly comes from:

1. Net Worth Statements
I know that the more money I save monthly the better my net worth statement will look when I update it bi-monthly. This motivates me to skip the latee and make coffee at home, pardon the overused "Bachism".

2. My Blog
Reporting publicly and having an online following is very motivating.

3. Gathering Money to Invest
I like buying, owning, and following stocks. I enjoy having the money available to do so.

How do you stay motivated to save money day to day?
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For me its definitely net worth statements. Nothing beats seeing your goals coming closer and knowing that you are making it happen.
MG, this must go hand in hand with your post today!

My reasons are similar to yours,

1. The public net worth statement makes my purchases/spending accountable.

2. My ultimate goal is financial independence/freedom and investing the savings is one sure way to get there. The bigger the savings, the more I can invest!
We are at a stage now where a bad year in the market can wipe out 2 or 3 years of savings, so net worth statements now are more a de-motivator for saving for us in a bad market :)

I find that it is only initially that you need motivation to save but once you pick up the habit, it is very easy to keep it going. We had resolved to live on one income and bank the other and after successfully keeping at it for a few years, it is now second nature and we just keep at it without much effort.
We are at a stage now where a bad year in the market can wipe out 2 or 3 years of savings, so net worth statements now are more a de-motivator for saving for us in a bad market :)
I guess it helps that I only started tracking net worth 3 months ago :D
We are at a stage now where a bad year in the market can wipe out 2 or 3 years of savings, so net worth statements now are more a de-motivator for saving for us in a bad market :)
I've noticed this trend as well but I try to not let it bother me and look to the long term instead. Even in a down market the savings are fuel for the fire. If you forget the idea that you can time the market, savings (and maybe prudent leverage) have to be there in order to provide the growth.

Most of us have a little extra money most of the time versus a lot of extra money some of the time.
Having goals and systems really motivates.

We like having a certain amount in the bank (even though it doesn't earn much interest). When we're below, we're more thrifty.

We've got unexpected repairs to our basement next week and are saving towards that "investment".

Using a pay-yourself-first system helps: the money automatically gets invested before you're tempted to spend it.
I have to agree with Promod, goals are key to keep me moving along. Otherwise I would just drift around without getting much done. On the other side, you have to keep the goals somewhat flexible, because sometimes garage door openers just break.
I think it fair to say that our (wife & I) motivation for our financial actions and savings comes from each other. We are accountable to each other for most spending decisions.

I track income/expense, and it's motivating to find ways to reduce the spending and increase the gap between expense and income. I don't believe completely in thrift for the sake of thrift however - there is one life to live, and the goal should never be to accumulate wealth for the sake of wealth. Wealth needs to have a purpose in your life. I've not quite defined that purpose in my own life, but I'm thinking about it.

I'm probably motivated also by the fact that I grew up poor, and wish not to return to that way of life. Money can't buy happiness, but it's better having a couple of coins to rub together and not wondering where the next meal for your kids might come from.
"Having money's not everything; not having it is" Kanye West
I have a very stress-inducing system that works pretty well for me ;-). I have my monthly savings automatically transferred into my ING account, which leaves me with very little wiggle room left in my regular account to pay all my monthly bills and do my RRSP contributions. If I overspend even a little bit, I would be forced to transfer money back out of the ING account to cover the extra. Just the fact that I would have to figure out this amount, and go online to do the transfer, and see that my savings would be diminished, is enough to keep me in line.
My sister and I have a joint bank account - we've been sharing money since high school - and we just enjoy watching our savings account balance increase each month. That in itself is enough of a motivator.

We also fear debt, having watched both our stepfather and biological father spend their way into huge debts, so that's something we have always known to avoid like the plague. We also want to be financially free as early as possible so that we can spend our lives doing what we enjoy, pursuing our hobbies and interests, so we don't look at saving, or refraining from spending, as a chore but as a means to an end.
Save more now....To get more later

That's kind of my motto to get ahead and to get more of what I want...even though it may be later than some would choose. I don't ever run out and buy the current high tech gadget, toy or eat out needlessly as many people do.
A few examples of huge motivators that keep me doing the same thing over and over are outlined below:
1- Yes, I wanted a 52' big screen TV for a couple years and knowing how prices go on that sort of thing I waited about 2 years beyond that first temptation to get it done, well..rather than paying $3,995 for it, I ended up buying it on sale($600 off)for $1588....I also used my MC to pay for it to simply get an additional one year warranty free of charge(I have never had to deal with that additional free one year warranty offered by MC but I am sure it must be legit or it would not be in MC terms of agreement). The warrnaty extension of one year is a MC feature few people know about or use so I share it here with fellow members.

2- Camping, yes...we love camping however that has taken us into bear country andit was time to upgrade to a travel, not a 20 or 30 thousand dollar unit with all the bells and was a 1978 Boler fiberglass unit with a 100W solar panel that includes running water(hot too), shower,'s all we need and it's all we want! We got this 70's retro unit 3 years ago for $4,400 cash and we love it! It pulls great with my 4.8 need for a diesel truck as the Boler only weighs about 2900 pounds.

3-Oh, the truck mentioned in 2 above,'s a 2008, SL model with 4wd. Of course I was looking for a used truck....however simple math told me that interest on a used truck would almost make the cost of a used truck as much as the cost of my new wheels. So I did it...bought new with $0 down...payments are $444.88 for 6 years and it sounds like Canada will back the warranty should GM disappear. Also, the truck is used for work and is tax deductable.

4-The above 3 mentioned savings have allowed me to contribute $6,000 in RRSP's for our future......It all motivates me!!!!
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My wife and I have OSD. We're hoarders I think...
- Calculating monthly networth statement
- Reading personal financing books
- Daydreaming about things I can enjoy after meeting certain goals.
- Participating in this board ;)
I think having a healthy amount of fear for the "what if" scenario keeps me motivated. When they say you can go from homeowner to homeless in 4 mths or less…that's motivation for me to spend wisely and bank as much as I can.
Having had to utilize the 'emergency fund' several times over the years keeps me motivated to save. I agree that the "what if scenario" is a huge motivator for me. Setting goals and targets for saving helps to keep me on track.
I track my net worth, and set short and long term targets. The short term targets really help me stay in track, as I know almost right away if I'm starting to fall short, and I can then choose to accept that, or make changes to meet it.
freedom from debt

Whatever I can save goes to pay off my mortgage, my only debt. Bringing that down to zero is my motivation.
From reading everyone's comments I think the ultimate goal is financial freedom - we're saving now for the future - whatever that may be. We all have our dreams about what we want to be doing in 5 years, 10 years, whatever so everytime we update our finances and see our savings grow it puts a smile on our faces and brings us one step closer to the realization of that dream.
I would have to say we are all good at delaying our gratification! Good luck everyone!
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