My ferrety little Type-A brain latches onto challenges like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi latches onto cobras (shout out to the animators of the 1960s; y’all really didn’t shy away from showing hand-to-hand lethal combat to kids, did ya?). I love a good personal challenge, and I tend to commit myself most heartily to the goals that land in the sweet spot between attainable and ambitious.
That is: if I know, in my heart of penny-pinching hearts, that the savings goal I’m challenging myself to reach isn’t feasible, I’ll enter into the challenge with misgivings, resentment, and a defeatist mentality. When I stray too far into the Land of the Ambitious, a moody little demon sets up shop on my left shoulder and starts whispering such gems of wisdom as: “If you’re too strapped to afford a grocery store trip more than once a week for real meals, what makes you think you can afford to set aside emergency funds for theoretical disasters?” and “I don’t care if you checked twice. I’m 120% sure you left the coffee machine on when you left the house this morning.” If I relegate myself to the Territory of the Easily Attainable, however, my demon rolls his eyes, starts a slow-clap, leans in, and mouths the words: “Girl, you’re a hero.”
A quick note before we continue: Don’t worry, friends. I’m not a hallucinating schizophrenic. I just think it’s more fun to talk about stress and #adulting like the world is one big episode of Looney Tunes.
The sweet spot between ambitious and attainable is elusive, and I firmly believe that — if you want a little angel action on your right shoulder — you’ve got to lay out a numerically-specific roadmap to hold yourself accountable. That’s why I enjoyed J. Money’s fourth pick of the week. The author provides 10 different challenges, each one with a unique structure that appeals to a specific hurdle, whether that stumbling block be related to income (I’m not paid on a weekly basis, so I need a monthly goal) or personal temptation (I’m a spendthrift, so I need to take baby steps to wean myself off of sprees and onto savings).
So, which one hits my personal attainable-ambitious sweet spot? The 12-Week Savings Challenge: save $60 in Week One, and ramp up the weekly savings amount by $5 with each passing week. By the end of your 12-week challenge, you’ll have squirreled (ferreted? Mongoosed?) away a nice, round, satisfying $1,000. Save those slow-claps for a rainy day, shoulder demon! BOOYAH. I hope you enjoy this week’s roundup of financial advice and food for thought.
1. Can Everyone Retire A Millionaire? — Jlcollinsnh: The Simple Path To Wealth
“The short answer is a qualified ‘Yes!’ It is possible for every middle-class wage-earner to retire as a millionaire. But it’s never going to happen. And that’s not because the numbers don’t work.”
2. My Philosophy On Money — 1500 Days To Freedom
“Someone recently asked me this: What is your philosophy on money? ‘Oh, that’s easy!’ I said. And then it wasn’t so easy.”
3. What Are We Losing By Taking A Year Off Work? — Montana Money Adventures
“There are two burning questions people have when they find out we are taking a year off work. 1) How can you afford that? And 2) Why would you give up that income?”
4. 10 Money-Saving Challenges To Try — Saving Advice
“It seems that social media has blown up with ‘challenges’ in recent years…Let’s take a look at 10 of the best savings challenges on the web.”
5. What You Didn’t Learn About Money In College — The College Investor
“Nobody’s going to force you to save money…There are no professors in real life. You don’t get reminders and extensions. Your rent is due, and that’s that.”
6. The 10 Smartest Things Ever Said About Debt — The Micawber Principle
“The essence of finance is time travel. Saving is about moving resources from the present into the future. Financing is about moving resources from the future to the present.”
7. Retirement Has Already Cost Us $5 Million — Go Curry Cracker!
“The choice isn’t just whether to have more money, it is whether or not to sell years of your life to have that money. What are your remaining days worth? How many days do we even have?”
Image via Unsplash