Friday, November 15, 2013

Monthly Motivation

The nature of austerity is that it is uncomfortable. It is not easy. Austerity requires limiting oneself, and putting more thought into each purchase. One can go for weeks making every smart choice she can, and then ruin all her work by falling in love and buying a piece of artwork on a whim.

I think this type of "mess up" happens because it is hard to constantly deny oneself things. Sometimes the goals seems so far off that one feels hopeless -- especially if she's been working hard and sees no movement toward her goal.

In order to realize that one is actually moving forward, she must come up with a way to stay motivated. For some, this is a clear picture of what life will be like in five years. For others, it's a clear picture of a house or a vacation spot. But if one doesn't have a clear picture in mind of what she is working towards, it becomes much easier to spend money on frivolous things like extra drinks at the bar, or a cab home when one should be waiting for the bus.

In order to remind myself that my efforts are not in vain, I keep a spreadsheet which I update now and then. I'm not terribly consistent with my updates -- they generally happen once a month, but I also go for months without updating it. I really only update it when I need a reminder that I'm doing a good job.

My spreadsheet lists the date and a breakdown of where my expenses currently stand. As long as the total is heading in the right direction, I'm on the right track.

I find that sometimes that's all I need to know in order to keep motivated.

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-Kurt Vonnegut