What Are You Willing to Give Up to Reach Your Financial Goals?

by Alexa Mason · 12 comments

Every day, you’re presented with an abundance of choices. From the moment you wake up to the moment you prepare for bed, you make choice after choice after choice. These decisions not only affect today but also your future as well.

To reach your financial goals, you need to make appropriate daily choices. Life is all about trade-offs. Achieving your financial goals come from hard work and sacrifices. For long term success, there really are no shortcuts.

So what should you do? Here are a few key actions that will help you reach your financial goals:

Make Sacrifices

I have a few big financial goals of my own. The one I’m working on right now is to put ten thousand dollars in my emergency fund. To reach this goal by the deadline I’ve set, I decided to make a few short term sacrifices. For instance, I’ve vowed not to eat out until I reach this goal. I’ve been actively looking for cheap or free entertainment for my daughters and me, and I work on bringing in extra income.

Sacrifices come in many forms. To reach your financial goals, you may have to sacrifice your time, scale down your living arrangements, or give up something you enjoy such as cable TV or a fancy phone contract. Once you cut out the fat, you may find that you don’t even feel like it’s a sacrifice anymore because your life with a smaller budget is remarkably similar.

When it comes to sacrifice, what you have to remember is this. You should do what makes sense for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all because everyone’s preferences are different. What can you do today?

Work Hard

Aside from working my regular 9-5 job, I’ve also picked up several side jobs. Each night, I spend two to three hours working on these jobs after my kids go to bed. I also spend about ten hours on the weekend working. To reach my goals, I’m trading in my normal relaxation and sleep time to work on earning more money and building my own business.

For you, this could look different. You might want to work overtime at your current job, find a second job, or become a freelancer.

Nothing in life worth having comes easy. Meeting your goals will take hard work whether they’re financial or otherwise. I look up to David in this area all the time. He started MoneyNing.com when he was working what sounded like a 70 hour-week job. He runs MoneyNing.com full-time now but he also took on two more freelance jobs recently. It sounds like he’s having a blast writing more, but he’s always traded his leisure time to get ahead. It’s no wonder why he’s doing so well at such a young age.

Celebrate Big Wins

With all of the hard work and sacrifices, it can be easy to get burnt out and lose the fire that got the ball rolling. That’s why it’s important to celebrate progress. Celebrating doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank either. You can do something simple like taking your family out to dinner or the movies. Without celebrating milestones and allowing yourself to occasionally spend money, you’ll start to resent the whole situation. It’s important to loosen the valve once in a while to let some air out. Otherwise, you run the risk that it will burst.

Once I save up ten thousand dollars, I plan to take my daughter to a fancy steakhouse to celebrate the hard work I’ve put in these past few months. I not only have the restaurant picked out but I also know what I want to order. I believe I even know what my daughter will get, but I will let her decide then.

Follow Through

Financial goals such as saving a large amount of money or paying down debt can take time. Some bigger goals, like reaching financial independence, can take decades. For many who are also investing their money to get to the promised land, there may be years when progress is seemingly halted by the volatility of the stock market. Know that you’re on the right track as long as you’re doing your best to reach your goal by saving and investing through the thick and thin. Keep going and remember that you aren’t alone. There are many others who are working on a goal quite similar to yours. If you need help or someone to discuss your situation with you, just ask. There are plenty of us who are happy to talk things through. Just keep following through and you’ll eventually get to where you want to be.

What financial goals are you working towards right now?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Charles McMullan says:

    Excellent advice

  • Steveark says:

    I don’t really ascribe to working hard. It might look hard to others but if you are doing it right work should be more like a complex, but enjoyable hobby. I never worked as many hours as my competition but I achieved better results and did so in a way that the money I made for our owners/shareholders was noticed. Most of my friendly competition worked longer and harder, but I worked smarter and ended up achieving all of my career goals. I’m sure it is also possible to gut out enough years in a job you don’t enjoy, but that is a waste of those years. The journey to financial independence should be the time of your life, a time just as much fun as what follows. Celebrating big wins is huge, I’m so glad you included that! One of my biggest wins was an idea that made our company over thirty million dollars, basically for no investment. It led to a big promotion to the top job and a lot more income but one of the most fun things about it was a call from my Fortune 500 CEO telling me to take my wife out and see how much money we could possibly spend in one evening meal at the fanciest place we could find. He got that celebrating big wins mattered, I’ll never forget how fun that was!

  • Marcelina says:

    I admire your goal to save a set amount for an emergency fund and especially that you’ve given yourself a deadline. Seven years ago my husband and I started automatically depositing small amounts monthly into an emergency fund. It came in handy this month when we received an $8,000 special assessment notice to make a repair at our condo building. If it hadn’t been for the emergency fund, I’d be awake at night worrying. Stick to your goal and your future self will thank you!

  • Josie says:

    I am working on the same 10K E.F. goal…I was able to save a similar amount of money to get me a car last year and I know I can do it. Like you say sacrificing is part of it and I am also taking freelance jobs and eating at home a lot. It has been awesome because I didn’t realize how entertaining is to make food together with music in the background 😀 ….In November my debt will be paid off and after that I will put everything that was going to the debt for the E.F…right now I am not sending as much as I would like to but at least is is growing little by little. Hopefully I make more freelancing money so I can get to my goal even faster!

  • AJ says:

    I love all these posts. Its great to hear like-minded people, its encouraging.

    As for the original question, what am I sacrificing for financial goals? Nothing!! I’m gaining peace of mind by not stressing living beyond my means. I’m not stressing during a relatively major setback like a car dies. I’m finding joy in finding ways to make things, grow food and meet like minded people learning from and trading tips without spending a lot of wasted money socializing at restaurants. You haven’t had fun till you’ve milked a goat and fed a calf! -AJ

  • Vicky says:

    Eighteen months ago I set about trying to pay off the remaining 9 years of my mortgage in 2 years. It’s been hard – sometimes very hard – but I’m 6 months or so away now and I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Posts like yours have kept me going, especially over the last 6 months when I was starting to feel a little fatigued with it all!

    • jim says:

      Yay for you Vicki!!!!!! We’re on a similar path. If we really stick to this plan (and it is not easy) we should be mortgage free 2 years from now. Hang in there – the worst part is behind you. You are now on the final stretch and if you don’t concentrate too much on it (as difficult as that will be now that you can see the finish line) 6 months will pass in the blink of an eye. Congrats!

      • Vicky says:

        Thanks Jim! To ‘not concentrate too much’ on this final stretch is actually really good advice. I think there is a danger of getting too obsessed and making these last months feel like forever. I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing and it will be here in no time. Good luck with your own goals!

  • Renee says:

    Nice! I really feel motivated after reading your post. Right now my goal is to clear off my credit card debt. It has been following me around for a few years now. 🙁

  • John S says:

    Good post Alexa! We worked hard to get to the point where we could start our business and have enough in the bank to be comfortable enough to take the plunge. Our goal now really isn’t financial, per se, in nature, but it’s geared towards continuing to grow our business.

  • Simon says:

    There are things I would give up in pursuit of financial goals and then there are those I wouldn’t. Looking at it, there are more things to life than just finances.
    For example, I do not think I would sacrifice family time to reach some financial goals additionally, I would ensure that my health is not suffering for it.
    That said, there are no short cuts and hardwork as you pointed out is key…make that smart hard work 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    Great post! I have been working a ton over the past couple of years in order to pay off student loan debt and do what I want in life. Couldn’t be happier!

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