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Our little Reach community started earlier this year on Facebook. When Dan & I shared our debt-free story, after 13 months of working our butts off to get there, we had so many people reach out and ask us how we did it! We knew we needed a space to build community, share our new knowledge and passion, and support other people who are on the same mission!
Part of the fun of being in a community of people who are striving for a similar goal to you is celebrating successes, big and small, TOGETHER.
As you are working down your list of financial goals, saving your mini-Emergency Funds and paying off your debts, there will be some big milestone wins. A great way to stay motivated is to set small rewards for yourself along the way. This doesn’t mean crack out the Visa for a trip to Bali or taking the kids to Disneyland for a week. But giving yourself permission to celebrate and be PROUD of what you are accomplishing is what will keep your momentum up!
To be clear, all of these celebrations need to be built into your budget. Decide what your mini-goal is (paying off the visa or cutting your debt in half) and make sure you PLAN for your celebration! I have a friend who saved all of her family’s Christmas gift cards to spread out throughout the year of her debt-free journey. This allowed her to plan her celebrations and do so in a way that didn’t dip into her debt snowball! Amazing.
As you map out the course of YOUR journey, make sure you plan to celebrate your mini-milestones too.
Lunch or dinner date
Go to a movie as a family
Buy concert tickets
Go on a picnic
Fun family outing to a sports game
A day at the local amusement park
Ice-cream cones at the park
Fancy doughnuts (my personal favourite way to celebrate!)
Your choice for celebration depends on you and your budget. What do you LOVE to do? What have you cut back on since going on a budget? What can you afford to cash flow? Make sure your celebration makes sense to YOU.
Our Celebration Story…
We were only about four months into our debt-free journey when we found out our favourite band was coming to town that fall.
You guys, we danced to one of their songs for our first dance at our wedding. But we’ve also seen them a few other times, and we couldn’t justify spending the $150 on tickets. (Times had CHANGED in our home, because not too long before this story takes place, we would have grabbed tickets without thinking twice about it, along with tickets to any other show that caught our fancy!)
So…we agreed we would cashflow the tickets in our May budget, but since the show wasn’t until September, we would hustle.hustle.hustle and use those tickets as a reward for being HALFWAY through our debt, and if we didn’t make our goal we would sell our tickets. Let me tell you, friends. That goal lit a FIRE in us to sell more stuff, pick up more overtime, buy cheaper groceries. And when the show rolled around, and we had, in fact, reached our goal, it was SO great to celebrate together in such an intentional way!!!
Not all celebrations need to be big. What about when you choose to buy off-brand chicken broth because it saves a DOLLAR a box? Or when you are in line at Starbucks, and you want to grab a snack with your coffee, but you remember you have an apple at your desk so you skip the oatmeal fudge bar? OR you are walking through the mall, and you see a cute new jacket in the window at lululemon, and you KEEP ON WALKING because you don’t NEED a new jacket even if it’s your favourite shade of purple?
The small, intentional choices you make with your money are what mean the most. The little changes in your habits and behaviour will be what sets you up for BIG success with your money.
On Facebook, we started calling these Non-Debt Victories (NDVs), along with the same lines as the Weight Watchers NSV – non-scale victories. It’s not about paying an extra thousand dollars on a credit card. (But yes, do that too!) These are the high-five moments when you make a conscious choice to be better. When you choose your budget over your impulses. When you prioritize your future over your present moment. THESE are the choices that pay off in the long run!!
Last Friday when I got home from work I REALLY wanted to just order pizza instead of making the homemade pizza I already had the ingredients for. I was tired and quite honestly, lazy. BUT. I’d bought the groceries. And I know that the homemade pizza is so much healthier for my family anyways. So I ignored the inner voice tempting me to call up Pizza Hut, and I spent 20 minutes in the kitchen. NDV, ftw!
Have you had any NDVs lately? Share in the comments!