When you first make the decision to take control of your debts and your financial situation, the change can be really exciting. You’re personally motivated to turn things around, and each new tactic you discover for cutting your spending seems like a great idea.
After a few months, though, the honeymoon ends and you begin to realize that it is a pretty long march to financial freedom.
It is easy to give up at that point. I know I certainly wanted to. I was sorely tempted to spend money on unnecessary things when I had built up a bit of breathing room under my mountain of debt.
I “deserved” it. It was a “reward” for my hard work.
In reality, it was just my subconscious mind wanting to slip back into old, bad habits.
The most effective tool for getting beyond such temptations is to find someone (or, preferably, a group of people) that you are accountable to for your financial success and for your mistakes.
In my situation, Sarah and I were accountable to each other. We spent a lot of time talking to each other about our financial moves, both good and bad, and we helped each other to make better decisions along the way.
You don’t necessarily have to rely on a spouse for such an accountability partner, though. It can be a close friend or another family member. A sibling can be a very good choice for this if you’re from a tight-knit family. Your best friend can be another strong choice.
The key is honesty and openness. You have to be able to share your successes with this person as well as your failures. If you don’t feel you can admit your failures to someone because you need to “save face,” then that’s not a good person to be accountable to.
One great approach for this is mutual accountability, meaning you’re accountable to each other for your mistakes and you celebrate your individual successes together. This not only can help you stay on a strong path, but it can also build a strong and lasting relationship with the person you’re accountable to.
If you’re struggling on your path to financial freedom because of your own poor choices, find someone to be directly accountable to. Be completely open and honest with this person and share when you succeed as well as when you fail. That person will do wonders for helping you make better choices and move onward to the life that you want.
This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. Images courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography, the proprietor of which is my “photography intern” for this project.