Staying Focused: Mini Rewards for Goal Milestones

Since I have been working very hard to pay off my debts, save for financial independence, and try to balance my life overall I find it difficult to stay focused some times. There is a constant mental battle between wants and savings that I am usually good at winning for savings.

I have found that the best solution is to give myself small rewards along the way. For example I just paid off my credit cards and as a reward to myself for that I spent a weekend in Denver, CO visiting my cousin while I was in the area for business. We went out, had a good time, and caught up on things. It was nice to relax a bit and take my mind off of work and money for a bit.

Now I am back on course. I have my vacation coming up in 10 days and have my finances sorted out so I can minimize surprises and issues while I am gone. I have money in my "fun account" so I can easily see where I stand at all times thru online banking while I am there. I can safely say my biggest worry over there should be where and what to eat that night and to remember to use bug repellent on the islands.

I find that I am not alone with the mini-reward system. We need motivation to sock away as much as we can per month "for later" and I think giving yourself a treat now and then does exactly that. You can say to yourself: "When I pay this off I can finally go for a weekend trip in Vegas to celebrate" for example. As the goals get bigger so do the "carrots" that we get to have. My next milestone, yet to be determined, will include some sort of travel that I always wanted to do. I am looking at the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. If I have my student loans paid off by then I will go!