I’ve caught myself offering the same advice lately, anytime someone asks me whether they should pay off their debts or start saving for an emergency fund, or start investing, or start saving for an emergency while they’re paying off debt and investing all at the same time.
And that’s simply been:
“Just start putting $20/mo towards them!”
Nothing too crazy or earth shattering, but definitely a far cry from my old “all or nothing” approach I’ve been accustomed to doing over the years… You know, like when you can’t just have *one* beer because it’s either PARTY TIME!! or No Time at all? ;) Who likes boring middle grounds, right?
But after recent tests of just doing something on my long-awaited goals vs doing nothing, I’m coming to realize that there’s beauty in hitting multiple areas at the same time as well.
And three of these beauties I’m finding out are as follows:
#1. Doing something makes your heart feel good!
It doesn’t matter if it’s $20 or $2,000 – just the act of applying it to your goal completely changes your mood. Because now you’re finally making moves towards your goals vs just letting them fester in your mind! It’s like finally letting the world know you mean business, despite it not being at the tippy top of your priorities. Because one day it WILL be, and by that time you’ll already have some nice momentum going.
#2. Doing something makes your net worth feel good.
On top of all the warm and fuzzies, applying an extra amount to your goals – no matter how small – of course strengthens your overall net worth as well. Especially if you’re hitting multiple areas now. And even if you choose to divvy up the same amount of money across the goals vs just one big hit towards the #1, I’d posit you’d still come away higher in the end financially as you push yourself to strive even further. It’s amazing what a few baby steps can do, and this is especially the case for stretching our money!
#3. Doing something motivates you.
This might be the most impactful of all the reasons – simply because once you get on track and start dabbling in multiple areas of your finances, you tend to start hustling and learning harder and harder too! Because now you’ve got multiple races going on and can sense the real momentum starting to take place. It’s like taking an extra shot of caffeine along with your coffee every morning. It was already great as-is, but now it’s downright FANTASTIC! ;)
Again, all this comes from my own tests over the past few months as I expanded my horizon more and decided to stop waiting until The Perfect Time to start working towards my forgotten goals. Namely in the “giving back to charity” route, and more recently in the “contributing again to my kids’ 529 college savings accounts after being m.i.a. for a couple of solid years” route, haha…
Which looks like this:
- I’ve started giving $20/mo to my favorite non-profit organizations! (Including my own!)
- I’ve started contributing $50/mo towards each of my two kids’ 529s!
And I honestly can’t express just how POWERFUL these two actions have made in my overall mood lately. Even if that was the only thing that changed for me I’d recommend it.
Because now instead of cringing every damn time I think of either, a warm wave of happiness washes over me and reminds me that I’m starting to make some progress! Even if it’s not my perfect world of being able to contribute what I really want to be contributing to them both. I’ve already given out $360 now to my favorite organizations, and a cool $200 to the boys’ college accounts! All of which is better than $0.00!!!
So all this to say that while going “all in” on one focused area is quite fine, and I still very much do that in my preferred area every year (my one main goal is to max out my retirement accounts no matter what!), there’s something to be said for shoveling *something* over to other areas as well to get the balls rolling. You don’t necessarily have to wait until it becomes your #1 priority in order to start working on them – you can start RIGHT NOW with only $20.00 a month!
And that’s my challenge to all of you this week who are fed up with feeling bad about yourself for not working towards all your financial goals.
Pick the one or two sections that are really depressing you right now (or better yet – pick the ones that *excite you* the most so you don’t get burned out!), and then log onto your bank right away and set up automatic transfers of $20/mo each towards them. Start feeling good about it RIGHT NOW vs waiting months or years, or even decades, into the future! There’s never a perfect time, and you know this!
Worst case you just re-direct all future money back to the #1 priority and feel good for having tried something new. It’s the least you can do for your dreams :)
Just $20/mo, friends… do it!
That photo up top is a bill I found at the bank the other year… Remember how much prettier our currency used to be??? If you like this type of stuff, follow me over at my other blog too: CoinThrill.com!