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SERIES: Wagon Staplers – Part Five – Rewards

In this series, I will be sharing some key wagon staplers – tools that I believe are essential to keeping one stapled to the wagon – because we all have the potential to fall off the wagon – these wagon staples’ will help keep you on the wagon even in your moments of weakness!

Part Five Reward Yourself For Victories!

It is extremely important to establish key milestones in your financial journey and celebrate as each goal is accomplished!   If you are in an incredible financial mess and are just getting started on your financial journey, make sure you reward yourself for the small (but extremely important) victories.   Victories when you are just getting started out include:

  • Not using the credit card for an entire month
  • Preparing a budget and following it for an entire month (we offer several free ones – they are located HERE!)
  • Getting completely caught up on your bills – no late payments!

Of course, the celebration/reward needs to align with the goal that was accomplished.   Maybe the beginner celebrations would be going out to eat at McDonald’s and using the Dollar Menu.

As you make progress, the celebrations can be greater.   Here are some examples.

  • Paid off all non-house debt! REWARD:   Use the payments you used to make for debt to fund a weekend getaway
  • Hit $100,000 net worth REWARD:   Give $1,000 to a non-profit that you care about greatly
  • Pay off the house! REWARD:   Throw the biggest blow-out mortgage burning party ever and then depart for a 14-day trip to Costa Rica.
  • Pay cash for a new car! REWARD:   Drive the car on scenic three day trip and stay at a different Bed & Breakfast each night
  • Hit $1,000,000 net worth REWARD:   Buy a ski boat and give away the same amount to a cause you care about greatly
  • Pay for kid’s college in cash REWARD:   See your child start out life with ZERO debt AND go visit them regularly and take them and their friends out to eat at really nice restaurants!!!

I can go on and on and on and on … with this subject because I know that encouragement toward goals is what helps us stay on the wagon the most!

QUESTION FOR THE READERS:   What rewards have you given yourself for “staying on the financial wagon” and achieving your goals?

I hope this series has been helpful to you!   If you did not get a chance to read all of the posts, you can click the link below to read them.

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SERIES: Wagon Staplers – Part Four – Automatic

In this series, I will be sharing some key wagon staplers – tools that I believe are essential to keeping one stapled to the wagon – because we all have the potential to fall off the wagon – these wagon staples’ will help keep you on the wagon even in your moments of weakness!

Part Four AUTOMATE The Important Things

Have you noticed that even though some things are important to us, we still fail to do them?   We want to exercise, but we don’t.   We want to eat healthy, but the Big Mac (McFat) looked too delicious.

Luckily, when it comes to finances, we can actually automate many things that are important to us!

For example, you all know that I love my Capital One 360 on-line savings account and I have written about it several times.   I actually have three Capital One 360 savings accounts.   One of the top reasons is the ability it provides me with to make things AUTOMATIC!

Here are key financial goals you can automate (and I have!):

  • 401(K), 403(b), SIMPLE IRA, 457, or TSP contributions (automatically from paycheck)
  • College 529 savings (automatically draft from bill pay account)
  • Tax savings account (the taxes are going to be due – save for them!)
  • Known Upcoming Non-Monthly Expenses (vacation, Christmas, new car tires, annual insurance premium, property taxes, furniture, 30-06 rifle, etc.)
  • New Equipment (automatically draft from bill pay account to ensure no debt!)
  • Roth IRA (automatically draft from bill pay account)

We may not be able to automatically hitch ourselves to the treadmill, but we can make sure the 401(k) and college fund are automatic.

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SERIES: Wagon Staplers – Part Three – Accountability

In this series, I will be sharing some key wagon staplers – tools that I believe are essential to keeping one stapled to the wagon – because we all have the potential to fall off the wagon – these wagon staples’ will help keep you on the wagon even in your moments of weakness!

Part Three Establish accountability AND embrace it!

If you are wanting to lose weight and get into shape, accountability to someone else is essential.   When you know that your accountability person will be at the gym at 5AM waiting for you, the chances are much greater that you will show up!   The same is true for your finances.   When you know that you will have to drive that 100%-financed car over to your friend who is holding you accountable, you are much less likely to buy a car with 100% financing!   Even more so when that person holding you accountable is your bride!

If you are married, it should be obvious that your spouse would be your number one accountability to your financial plans!   They know your weaknesses the most, AND they can really help you stick to the plan.

It is important that the person who is going to hold you accountable also possesses the following characteristics:

  • Winning with their own money!
  • Not trying to sell you anything!
  • Available to you – so that when you are making a major financial decision, you can have ready access to their thoughts!

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SERIES: Wagon Staplers – Part Two – Budget

In this series, I will be sharing some key wagon staplers – tools that I believe are essential to keeping one stapled to the wagon – because we all have the potential to fall off the wagon – these wagon staples’ will help keep you on the wagon even in your moments of weakness!

Part Two Have a budget AND follow it!

There is nothing more important to remaining on the wagon than to prepare a written plan for every single dollar you are expecting to receive.   Whether you choose to plan your spending every week, once a month (my favorite!), or once per quarter – the importance of this activity simply can not be overstated!

I have discovered a key fact that the following formula is true for every single one of us:

INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO

Regardless of whether one earns $400/month or $40,000/month, you will not prosper if you spend more than you make.

The act of planning forces one to recognize that this fact is true and helps staple us to the wagon!

Application in my own life – I have prepared a written spending plan with my bride every single month since July 2003.   I can not imagine operating my life without this plan.   It has allowed me to fire myself from Corporate America and pursue this dream of helping others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible.   It has brought a new level of unity to my marriage.   Our planning has ensured that our children’s college is funded and that we will be able to retire well someday.

Helpful tools and resources

  • We have some AWESOME & FREE budget tools located HERE.
  • Book: I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. – my story and I teach the exact tools that my bride and I used!

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SERIES: Wagon Staplers – Part One – Intro

“They keep falling off the wagon.”

Surely you have heard this statement made before.     It can refer to relapses related to an addiction or failing to uphold an exercise plan or diet.

Falling off the wagon.

I see it occur far to often when it comes to personal and business finances.   People know what they need to do, but they fail to follow through.   They might even know that their actions will result in great anguish and stress, yet they choose to continue.

Falling off the wagon leads to pain, heartache, frustration, stress and can have long-lasting consequences.

In this series, I will be sharing some key “wagon staplers” – tools that I believe are essential to keeping one “stapled” to the wagon – because we all have the potential to fall off the wagon – these “wagon staples’ will help keep you on the wagon even in your moments of weakness!

This should be a great series, and I look forward to the conversation!

Read the entire series

Read recent posts by Joe

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