5 Tips on How to Find the Motivation to Save Money (for When it Tough)

Actionable steps to keep your motivation for saving money strong and in full effect!

Author: Kari Lorz, Certified Financial Education Instructor

Author: Kari Lorz – Certified Financial Education Instructor

If you’re reading this, that means that you’ve already committed to saving money, but maybe you’re finding it harder than expected.

Whatever you are stuffing that piggy bank for, you know that road will be long, even a bit bumpy. You also understand that sometimes you may need a bit of help (kudos for recognizing this).

The number one thing that moms say they need help with holding onto the motivation to save money. Here are five actionable tips to help you keep motivated to save money!

5 tips on how to stay motivated while saving money

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Ways to help you stay motivated while saving money

I get it. Somedays, you just can’t even deal with thinking about it. You are drained, you are overwhelmed with your budget, and saving money seems impossible as your bank account is empty! Here are some ways to get back in the game!

1. Write down your savings goal

It’s said that people who write down their goals are 50 thousand times more likely to achieve them. Okay, I made that number up, but you get the point. Write. It. Down.

You NEED to write your financial goals down, burn those letters and words into your brain. You need to do what all the experts agree upon. Yes, they all agree that writing down your goals is the KEY to succeeding. Don’t believe me?

  • Neuroscience Explains Why You Need To Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want To Achieve Them
  • The Power of Writing Down Your Goals and Dreams
  • This is Why You Need to Write Down Your Goals for Faster Success

Now, how you write them down is up to you. On a paper napkin that you keep in your wallet? Cool. On a Google Doc? Cool. In a pretty Journal? Cool. A great way to help work through your ideas and financial goals is with the help of a guided workbook just for this.

Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered with the Big Money Goals Workbook. It’s specifically designed to help you succeed with creating, clarifying, and then succeed with your money goals!

When you write your goals down, it’s important to know your “why”. Why is “this” important to you? For some, it may be the constant worry, the struggle. For others, it’s all about keeping your family safe…

Or maybe you’re just tired of not being happy, and your personal finances are one of the areas you know you need to get under control. Understanding what is truly important to you can be the key to your success…

If you need help on how to clearly define your goals and how to create actionable steps to reach those goals, then be sure to check out my Goal Setting Master Series! And, check out this post on the top 5 SMART financials everyone needs to conquer!

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2. Make your financial goal visual

You’ve written down your savings goal. Great! You are ahead of the game! Sometimes you need to make them a bit more visible to give you the motivational nudge that you need to succeed.

My husband was in the ARMY, and now he’s in the National Guard. Two years ago he went away for an entire month, which was hard on so many levels. Yet, this time I was excited, as I set a goal for myself, I made it a big goal to save as much money as I possibly could with a money saving challenge! I was trying to save our extra money and dump a ton into our emergency savings.

I knew that curbing my grocery spending habit would be hard, so I made my own savings tools to make it BIG, I bought a roll of wrapping paper at Dollar Tree ($1, of course), and I covered my fridge with the backside of it.

Then I took Sharpies and drew a big thermometer on it; you know, the ones that they use for fundraising. I drew it up to like $300, as that was my goal, and I broke the measurements down by week.

Each week I needed to save $75 to reach my goal. Then I printed out a table on regular paper that had columns for

  • date
  • amount spent
  • store name
  • exactly what I spent $ on. If I bought even a tomato, I wrote it down!

I even printed out a savings jar, so I color in how much I was saving!

Each day, as my daughter was eating dinner, I would update that table and a fun printable savings tracker. It was literally the highlight of my day, like frugality was my THING! I was so pumped to write down how little I had spent. I wish I had a picture of it, and I wish you could take my words and imagine them live, on your own fridge, in your own kitchen, in your own home.

Each time I walked by that fridge, I was reminded about what I wanted and the steps I was taking to get there. It was a visual reminder of my financial goals to help ME stay motivated to reach them.

Now, it doesn’t have to be a massive statement on your fridge. It can be a regular letter-sized paper on your bathroom mirror, with dots and smiley faces for days that you kill it. Maybe it can be a sticky note on your car dashboard. Or, it can be your computer screen saver (that’s my vision board). It can be whatever motivates you to KEEP GOING!

If you’re looking to track your progress, be sure to check out Savings Charts for Supercharging Your Money Stash. You’ll get some great ideas on some savings charts that you can use to track your progress towards your money goal!

When you do something like this, be sure you celebrate your savings milestone. So when you reach $500, or $1K, or $5K, be sure you acknowledge how much hard work it took, and how proud you are of yourself! It helps reinforce that good saving habit, and hopefully make it a long term goal and habit. If you need some extra help with long term saving try a 52 week money saving challenge. You can save $1,000, or $5,000 or even $10,000!

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3. Use your imagination to help keep up your motivation to save money

We’re going to get super dorky here. Are you ready? I have a scenario in my head, like a full like 10-minute show of the moment that I finally “make it”. I can picture my success; feel the swell of emotion, the pride that I feel when my future self sees the proof of my success.

I have always had a very active imagination, and I am harnessing it to visualize success in my financial life. I’m nerding out on the scenery, the smells, the weather, the cast, the tactile sensations. I can literally see the tears of joy streaming down my face when I finally close the launch of my first course.

There. I’ve said it. I’ve told you my biggest dream, having a successful course launch. Do I have a dollar figure attached to that? Not really, maybe $7K, maybe $32K, maybe even $57K … HA! One day, perhaps, but not now, not anytime soon. But one day. I can literally taste it.

Ambitious? Yup, you need ambition to survive! You want to be debt free? Imagine what that scene will look like when you finally close those credit cards or when you finally pay off that suffocating student loan or when you max out that retirement account. When you finally reach your DREAM.

Can you picture it? Who’s there, what are you wearing? Is it sunny, or are you inside? How do you react? Feel that moment (yup, sounds a little crazy but just do it). How do you FEEL? Whenever I am feeling like I’ve lost my way I will absolutely harness this tactic to help me stay motivated on my journey.

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4. Surround yourself with like-minded people

We’ve heard the saying from motivational speaker, Jim Rohn “You are the five people that you surround yourself with”. I think that it is true yet more flexible these days.

Let’s think about this. With your social media, you have cultivated opinions that are like your own. You follow who you like, who speaks to what resonates with you. It makes sense that this is true in real life (before FB, yikes!) You follow what you like.

So if all of your friends like to go out and party, then you’ll go too. If your basketball mom’s club likes to eat soup at every meeting, you’ll be eating soup, you’ll be noticing soup on the shelves, and you’ll be looking at soup recipes on Pinterest. Hmmm… there are worse things than soup but you get the idea.

Let’s bring it closer to home. If your husband likes to go out to eat at Applebee’s (that’s literally the only restaurant chain I could think of on the spot), then you guys will go there vs. other places. So if you want something other than Applebee’s you need to change something. YOU need to reach out to new people, in new places.

Meeting new like-minded people isn’t always easy. So use the tools that you have to surround yourself with the support that will help you stay motivated! This can best be done with our good old trusty phone. Hello Facebook! Here’s what you do…

  1. Unfollow any store pages that you like d. For me, bye-bye Anthropologie. I don’t need any temptation to go out and spend money, so I unfollowed them, and now I don’t see their promotions. Sometimes you need to take a good solid look at your spending triggers, and then take action to mitigate those instances.

  2. Follow money minded industry leaders or news publications and join FB groups geared to saving money. Some good ones are Money Magazine, Dave Ramsey, etc. Find some bloggers to follow that have groups that you can join. I love Stacking Benjamins, ChooseFI, and more!

These group pages are gold for finding people just like you who are in the same situation as yourself. They share their struggles, so you feel that you aren’t alone. You can learn what’s worked for them, so you can get new ideas. They share their victories, so you can see that it’s possible. You can even ask them how they found the motivation to save money. Then in time, you can go on to inspire those that are just starting on their journey to save a penny for their paycheck (and a lot more than just a penny)!

  1. Use your email to bring in information, sign up for newsletters and webinars. So many people have useful information out there, you just need to reach out and sign up for it! In your new online groups ask people what resources they have found helpful, people love sharing so just ask!

  2. Use guides and check out others’ financial plan! Many people have already combed over tons of info and put together the pieces that really resonate with audiences and have a proven track record. For example, I have 31 Days of Financial Goals, where each day you learn about one small topic. These are shorts sections, guiding you through big concepts and small tasks. You don’t have to do it all that day, but just being open to learning about why it’s important is a great first step!

  3. Embrace the podcast! Seriously, this is my favorite way to learn about money. BUT, fair warning, make sure you follow a reputable source. Anyone can be a podcaster, that doesn’t mean they are qualified. Look at review ratings, and how many people have reviewed them. Again, my gateway drug into listening to podcasts was the Dave Ramsey Show. My commute to work is anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes, so I used it to my best advantage. You can listen while cooking dinner, folding laundry, taking a shower. Whenever you have the time just do it.

5. Always be learning

A sure-fire way to lose motivation is to let something slip outta sight, as they say out of sight out of mind. So I try and keep learning about money upfront & center! Also, keeping the information fresh and changing helps to keep your brain engaged!

Besides, sometimes it takes a few times to “hear” something before it sinks in and clicks! I had this happen to me just the other day. I was going through the preliminary pages of a new training that I bought, and I was skimming through, sure that I had heard it all before. Something caught me eye, and I went back to double-check.

It was info that I had heard before but had dismissed it. Yet, this person said this “thing” in just the right way for me to really grasp it and have it click for me! I was so excited, I jumped on her FB page and told her how excited I was to have this finally sink in!

Personal Finance Goals are Personal

If you’re not picking up what I’m putting down then let me explain. Your money is one of your most personal relationships, you either control it or it controls you, you deal with it multiple times a day, every single day of your life. Forever.

It’s personal, and as smart people say “no one will care about your money more than you”! Sometimes I think that quote would be better if it read “no one should care about your money more than you”.

You know what happens when relationships get out of whack, be it relationships with people, or food, or your career. Things go downhill, spiral out of control, or fill you with dread. So it’s essential that you take action today because financial troubles don’t ever just go away! Even with bankruptcy, those “issues” aren’t fixed, they’re just reset with a zero balance (and a new set of problems). Staying on track is important, but getting back on track on your financial journey when life throws you a curve ball will take grit.

Your financial goal doesn’t always have to be things that you need to be saving for. A goal could be to raise your credit score by 100 points or to take an hour and comb through your credit report to make sure everything is accurate or learn about what financial freedom is. Whatever your goal is, that’s great!

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Keeping Your Promises – Grit

Making a promise to yourself should have MEANING in your life. I know that these promises are easy to break, as only you would know if you broke them, but I’m telling you that’s a slippery slope that you don’t want to mess with! Staying motivated is hard, especially when it’s around saving money.

Oddly enough I was reading Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. It seems that everyone has read this book except me, and it’s one of the most loved & hated books around apparently. I am not easily offended, and I have a wicked sense of humor. Snark anyone? Bring it; I got you! Anyway, her book is about the lies we tell ourselves as women. The book is a very fast and easy read. I related to so many of her “lies”, and how she told the stories was so open and cringeworthy in the best way possible.

Chapter One was funny and full of “oh girl” moments. Yet the second chapter just killed me. Killed me in the best way possible. The chapter is “The Lie: I’ll Start Tomorrow”. She talks about how we try, and we fail, we try again, and fail some more. How we plan and make promises to ourselves yet these promises are the very first ones we give up on. We -GIVE UP- on ourselves, we make excuses, we “forget” our best intentions, our goals, and our dreams.


Think about it, how many promises to yourself have you broken?

  • I won’t eat any more sweets
  • I will go running four times a week
  • I will curb my inner judgemental diatribe

These are all things that I promised myself, and these are all things that I have quit. I broke my promise to myself. Reading Hollis’ words and recognizing it in myself was hard. She went on to tell a story about a lady who was doing Whole 30 and quit without an ounce of guilt. The heart clencher came when Rachel asked us, the reader, “Y’all would you respect her?”

Double Ouch.

Y’all, Would you respect her? This woman who starts and stops over and over again? Would you count on Pam or the friend who keeps blowing you off for stupid reasons? Would you trust them when they committed to something? Would you believe them when they committed to you? No. No way. And that level of distrust and apprehension applies to you too.

– Rachel Hollis

If you haven’t already, it’s time to draw the line. This is for you, for your family, for your daughter, or your son. This is for your life!

At the end of the day

You and your actions are going to make or break your drive and determination. You already know this. If you want it bad enough you will find a way, and if you don’t, you will find an excuse (someone smarter than me said that). Getting on the path is easy, but staying on the path takes hard work. Use any and all resources to help you stay motivated while saving money.

I hate to say it but you will falter in the very beginning, don’t worry. It’s all part of the process; this is how we learn. Don’t think that you will achieve greatness on the first swing, pace yourself. Learn from your mistakes, tweak your plan, and PUSH THROUGH, just don’t give up!

Mama, you’ve got this!

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How do you stay motivated while saving money?

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  1. Great post for the family budget. Over budget really stress me out I have tried a lot nothing works out. Your tips sound really effective and I think I must try for once.

  2. This is such a great post! I’m saving for a house and I keep having to remind myself that every time I’m browsing lovely shops on the internet. It’s going to be so worth it x

    1. I totally get it šŸ™‚ I took a drastic step and unfollowed all the places I shop on social media, so now I never see about their sales, it’s great!

  3. I recently went through and unfollowed a number of store pages for exactly this reason! I didn’t need the constant temptation to buy things that I didn’t need lol

  4. I like thinking of money in terms of goals. It makes it seem so much more managable. Your idea for a giant thermometer is brilliant! I have to see my savings, or I feel like it is not happening. Maybe Hubs and I should try one on our fridge.

    1. I would love it if you tried one on your fridge! If you saving for something special, like a vacation try putting a big picture of your destination right next to it. (maybe I will do that for our next Walt Disney World vacation for my little one!)

  5. I have a new dry erase board on my refrigerator! It tells me all of my income for the day, as well as all that I spent. I have a flexible income. Sometimes it is so flexible it doesn’t exist. Haha. I have been beginning to keep track of my income and outgo. I get so excited when I don’t spend any money in a day. I put the saved money aside. It is a start! Thanks for your great post!

    1. So glad you liked the post! I dunno… a whiteboard with daily income sounds like Baller status to me šŸ˜‰ I too, am totally happy when I spend $0 in a day!

  6. Great ideas, it can be hard to stay motivated and I love the idea of visual aids. Also, great point on getting rid of the temptation with emails and social followings. I totally said bye bye to Anthro and it hurt a little šŸ™‚