‘Sup money lovers?
My “awesome ideas” folder is piling up over here, so I thought I’d release some of them on you today to help turbocharge your goals ;) All these come from emails and comments that YOU ALL have sent over the months, so big thanks for dumping out your smarts on us! It all helps!
See if any of these ideas stick with you:
#1. The financial notebook
This one comes from Sarah who shared it on Millionaire Day this year:
“I started keeping a financial “notebook.” I write in it every time I do something that moves me closer to the FI mark. (Ok, so I am rather liberal with what counts… reviewing the kids’ 529s counts, as much as paying an extra $100 to the debt monster.) Flipping through it helps keeps me motivated in the dry spells and reminds me when it’s time to review some bill or policy!”
So pretty much, a financial diary. Which is much more juicier than a normal one, if you ask me!
#2. An awesome way to charge your kids rent ;)
“I am going to provide my kids a (mostly) judgement free place to live when they are done schooling. My only Caveat is I will charge them rent, and that rent will be in the form of proof that they are maxing their 401(k) and IRA, and investing 50% of their net pay. As long as they do that they can live here ’till they get married.”
Another great benefit: they’ll be able to move out faster with all that money saved! ;)
#3. Chart your net worth progress against your goals!
LOVE LOVE LOVE this from Bill Furst:
“I wanted to pass along a neat little tracker I put together that I use monthly (now, and previously just yearly) with my own net worth updates. It basically tells me that I am on track for my retirement goal ($$ and time) with a visual chart. The larger the green section, the more ahead I am. You just input in the grey boxes and the yellow parts calculate for you.
I filled this in with your stats dating all the way back from 2008… I did yearly from 2008-2015, and then monthly from 2016 on. Line 8 is your historical net worth amounts. I don’t know what your time line is for your cool $1M, but if it’s 2020, you’re ahead of the game.”
So smart, right? Looks like the first year and a half I was falling short of my goal of “a million,” but from there we took off and are set to hit it earlier than expected. I really like this because it gives you a super fast idea of how well you’re doing or not in relation to your OWN goals and not anyone else’s. And it’ll now be yet another addition to my sturdy spreadsheet I’ve been tweaking over the years – woo!
I’ll have to make a template of it one day for y’all, but for now here’s the spreadsheet Bill created above for any of you who’d like to copy/test it out yourself: Net Worth Comparison Chart
Thanks Bill! (And your wife is right – you totally need to share your thoughts online somewhere! Start a blog already so we can check out all your other ideas you’ve got brewing :))
#4. “How much freedom will this cost me?”
Great way to think about all your purchases, by Free-Range-Nation.com:
“I ask my clients to think carefully about every purchase, and ask themselves how much freedom do they have to give up to work for someone else for this item? 15 mins … ? One hour… ? One day… ? One week… ? One month… ? One year… ? And then, is it worth it? If it brings tremendous value or return on investment, go for it. If not, sit on it awhile. Then, when they decide not to make the purchase, I suggest putting that amount into their Freedom Fund, or FU fund, as many like to call it. How about the Middle Finger Fund to keep the fun there and the profanity out. :)
#5. Pay enough extra towards your mortgages to see a $1.00 decrease every month
Another interesting idea by Richard, in response to staying motivated paying off your debt:
“One of the things that made it simpler for me is focusing on a small detail. I call it my magic number: $310. That is the number (rounded up to next $1) at which the extra principle payment reduces my monthly interest by one dollar. It is great to know that by paying that extra amount, all my future payments will include $1 more principle, and $1 less interest. It’s a benefit I can see on paper. I can also see the compounded effects of making those extra payments over the years. It soothes the number crunching addiction I have.”
I used to love seeing the interest portion of the payments going down by a dollar too. I never calculated “my number” to make sure that happened every month, but I did round up to the nearest hundredth every month – for both our mortgages – which sped up the debt killing immensely.
#6. Visualize your debt progress!
This also comes from Richard above.
“For the visual reminder, we use a picture of Walter’s Wiggles on the Angel’s Landing Trail in Zion National Park. Every few payments results in another marker placed on the trail. When the markers reaches the top, the mortgage will be gone!!”
Here’s a picture of Walter’s Wiggles, in case you were wondering what the heck it was like I was :)
[photo by Joshua Eckert]
#7. Another “physical trigger” – the fridge!
“My wife and I have always been “goal setters” but last year at this time we made a pact to get things down on paper and put a due date on them. We decided to keep ourselves honest and post the list on our refrigerator on bright green paper! A couple of things happened:
- It was a constant reminder of what we need to accomplish
- Our friends and family were constantly asking us about our goals and would comment when they would see another thing crossed off the list
- It was A huge motivation when we would see things getting crossed off the list… it would definitely fire us up to tackle the next one.”
#8. The Money Circle
Here’s an interesting one from Twoee:
“My mother in law challenged me to try her way of saving. A group of people get together and say they will each put it a certain amount of money per week (ours is $50). One person collects the money on the same day every week. Depending on the amount of people who choose to do this is how long you pay for. It also determines how much you get. Everyone gets to choose when they want to get there money. Our time is 25 wks for a total of $1,250. There is no interest on this but it does teach you that you have money to save.
I didn’t even think I had the funds to do this. I work part time and my husband had just been laid off. Well, I am proud to say I have been saving $200 a month since Jan of this year! I have paid off more than 50% of my credit card debt and all of my bills are current and on time. This is major motivation for someone who had nothing 7 yrs ago.”
Great for accountability for sure! Especially if all your friends/family are doing it along with you. I’d just make sure you can really trust the people collecting it though ;)
#9. Track all your transactions to the nearest dollar
Here’s one from Vicki:
“I’m sure other ‘old’ people do this already (I’m 40)… but I still use my checkbook register and every purchase gets rounded up to the nearest dollar when I log it. So I eventually have more in my checking account than I’m showing in my register.”
Whatever it takes to keep more padding! I can’t say I’ve picked up a checkbook register in at least a decade or two, but I do love the overall idea with this. And even more so if you then invested those round-up amounts through apps like Acorns so they keep growing!
#10. Try a “financial fast”
We’ve featured this idea from Yolanda a number of times, but always a great reminder as it was one of the biggest game changers for me and my money too. Highly recommend!
“Right now I’m in the middle of a financial fast as I’m working on becoming debt free. A financial fast is when you only spend money on necessities. Rent/Mortgage, Utilities, gas, groceries, etc, and eliminate spending on things such as eating out, habits, or anything not required to live. The purpose is to find out exactly how much money your are spending and how much you can afford to save that could be used to become debt free, save, or invest. I love it so much. I think I’m going to do it again next month.”
#11. Start making “To-Done” lists!
Left in response to our “To-Don’t” List idea we blogged about last year :) By Chris:
“I learned several years ago that instead of creating a To-Do list at the beginning of the day/week and then feeling down when there are things that you did not complete, it is much better for me to complete a To-Done list at the end of the day/week showing all that you accomplished.”
Hope these help! Leave any of your own ideas down below that’ve worked well for you too… Sometimes the simplest thing can change someone’s life/finances!
PS: You’ll be glad to hear that my email wrangling is still going strong from earlier in the summer’s E-shredding :) Gotta pay attention to the electronic stuff just as much as the physical clutter!