Contributed by Tabatha Y.

Spending money is easy for most people; what is difficult for many of us to manage, despite all good intentions, is saving money.  With debts to pay off, college or retirement to plan for and that new sofa or incidental home repairs to handle, it is quite a challenge to stick to any savings plan.  Here are some ways to achieve our savings goals when we feel overburdened.

Focus on one goal at a time.  You want to save for retirement, pay-off  bills and go on a vacation; but getting started on all three (in this case) might spread you too thin.  So, start small and focus on one area.  Figure out what you want to do and come up with a plan of how best you can do it.  Then, after a few months of working your plan consistently, bring in another goal.  

Willpower is limited.  If you love to shop and spend lots of time going to the mall, watching the shopping channel or surfing the Internet for bargains, it might be hard to save and cut down on spending.  So, get of temptation and find new ways to spend your time.  Consider volunteering your time with a favorite cause or finding ‘freebie’ activities in your community or city.

Track how you are doing.  Check out your statements and look at how you are doing month by month. You can even make one of those thermometer charts that fundraisers use and fill in the thermometer to chart your progress.  If your goal is big, i.e., pay off $20,000 in debt, break it down into smaller goals, start by paying off the smallest amounts, then continue up the line.  Charting your progress allows you to see how you are doing; the more you can see the progress you are making, the more likely you’ll stick with your plan.

Ask for help.  Your bank, a financially savvy friend or a financial coach may be able to help you. So, reach out and ask for advice. Remember, you don’t have to do it all alone!

How do you stay motivated to achieve your financial goals?