This idea applies to so many things in life.
You may have heard the term 'visualisation'. Visualisation is a great tool for goal setting, and staying true to your dreams.
It can also help you to avoid budget leakage when saving for something that is important to you.
If you can keep your eye on the prize, you'll find you're less likely to fall prey to little temptations. That latte` every morning on your way to work? Let's say 220 times a year? That's $880-$1100 over a 12 month period. That's enough for an overseas holiday, or a good lump sum towards any other significant purchase including a deposit on your own home, or a really good Christmas for your kids. That's even a good start to an emergency fund so that those unexpected bills don't cause you headaches.
Here are five ideas to help you keep your goals in your sights....
1. Keep pictures of your 'prize' be it a holiday, a home of your own, a new car, or a great Christmas, in places where you'll see them every day. On your bathroom mirror, in your wallet, on your Desktop screen, on your mobile lock and home screen.
2. Change your passwords to reflect something relating to your goal. Something like 'disneyland442016'...that is Disneyland for four people in 2016, or 'mazda6november16', or 'parisinspring2017'...you get the idea. Every time you type those letters and numbers, you're reinforcing your resolve. Maybe even 'nolattes2015' would do.
3. Don't let others mess with your head. So no keeping up with the Joneses just for now. Who are the Joneses anyway, and where do they live....I want to have a word with them! If you're tempted more when you shop with friends or you have friends who encourage you in habits that are incompatible with your long term goals, then minimise the impact they have on your wallet. Socialise somewhere away from temptation, only take enough money for lunch but not a shopping spree, or have a reason to leave before the spend-a-thon begins. Seek out free entertainment. Learn a new skill. Propose a weekend cookup so that all of you can eat inexpensively and healthily for the coming week. That will save everyone a packet!
4. Learn a new skill every year and gift your time and your newly discovered skills, instead of lashing out on expensive gifts. An online tutorial on cake decorating could see you baking up a storm and delivering personalised cakes to those your care about. Learning to knit and investing in some oversized knitting needles and gorgeous yarn could mean that you're producing throw rugs that easily retail for up to $400, in just a few weeks. Working on making your own soap and bath bombs (either from scratch or by using the French Milled method which is easier and just as much fun) might give you the ability to conjure up gorgeous toiletries to rival those found at The Body Shop and Lush, for next to nothing. Now, just a note on this. Choose something within your capabilities and time constraints, and start off simple, working your way up to more complex interpretations of your newly found skill. For example, a simple iced cake, decorated with fresh (unsprayed!) flowers dipped into eggwhite, then into caster sugar is stunning and so easy to do, over attempting a full on fondant covered affair. Splurging on a ball of wool in a stunning colour or texture, and knitting a simple scarf that's finished in a day or two, or a week or two at most, will give you more satisfaction and confidence, than starting on a throw rug that may take months. Making French Milled soap, which involves grating existing soap bars, adding colour and fragrance and setting them in moulds, is a heck of a lot easier than making soap from scratch and still yields a gorgeous result. Start small and simple and work your way up to more spectacular ideas from there. Accept too, that there will still be an investment of time, effort, and some money involved in learning any new skill. So choose a skill that is compatible with your budget, and seek out tools in thrift shops, garage sales, and eBay before lashing out in a designer haberdashery or cake decorating supplies store, or you're defeating the purpose.
5. Finally, learn new financial confidence boosting words and phrases. Don't say "I can't afford it", say "Sorry, I have other financial priorities that don't include xyz at the moment". Don't say "I'm broke this week", say "I've contributed all my 'fun' money to my holiday/Christmas/new car account this week so I'm having a quiet one". And don't let anyone make you feel bad about it!
Be clever, creative and inspired and see what a difference you can make to your life.