Whether you're saving for a coveted piece of jewelry, a new car, a house, or an emergency fund, it's not always easy to stay motivated. It may feel as though you'll never reach your goal, especially if you have a substantial amount of money to save. Instead of looking at a huge, seemingly unattainable number, set money milestones and stay on track.
What are Milestones?
According to Merriam-Webster.com, the term milestone dates back to 1662. Its original meaning refers to stones that were used alongside roads to mark the distance in miles to a given location. When you travel, you likely use milestones of your own to keep track of how far you've come and how much further you have to go. You also likely reward yourself along the way. For example, instead of thinking "Only ten more hours until we get there," you might think, "Thirty more miles until we stop for lunch."
You can use the same concept with money. Let's say that you want to save $30,000 toward an eventual kitchen remodel. Depending on how much you can sock away each month, it could take you several years to reach your goal. In the meantime, living frugally with no end in sight could ultimately derail your plans.
Benefits of Setting Milestones
By setting money milestones, you will have a series of smaller, attainable goals that you can easily reach. You'll see your progress. As you mark off each successive money milestone, you will realize that your efforts are paying off and be much more likely to continue on your journey. You can even build in small rewards each time you reach a milestone, further enhancing your resolve.
Let's take that $30,000 kitchen remodel as an example. Instead of thinking of your goal as a lump sum of $30,000, think of it as a series of six $5,000 goals. Where it might take you three years to reach your $30,000 goal, you could reach your first $5,000 milestone in just five or six months.
Stay motivated by building small rewards into your savings plan. For example, each time you reach a money milestone, give yourself permission to splurge on something special. Create rewards that align with your long-term goal. For example, if you're saving for a kitchen remodel, you might reward yourself with beautiful new placemats that you can start enjoying immediately. Another reward could involve brightening the breakfast room with a bouquet of fresh flowers. Likewise, if you're saving for a new car, you might reward yourself by taking your current car in for a professional carwash and mini-detail.
Achieving money milestones and enjoying small, related rewards can keep you motivated and strengthen your resolve. As you near those final few milestones, you will know that you can do it because you've already been successful thus far. Where others may grumble that there's still a long way to go, you'll be happily crossing off milestones and enjoying your rewards.
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