Author Topic: Great at paying off debt, not so great at stashing! Could use some inspiration.  (Read 4578 times)

jeastith

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
My husband and I began reading the MMM blog last summer and it was exactly what we needed.  We shifted our lifestyle and paid off my husband's $50,000 in student loans in 6 months.  We also paid off his car.  Our only debt is our mortgage.  It felt GREAT! 

However, once we paid off those loans, I feel like the inspiration to save has died down.  We have sort of "half" gone back to our old habits, and we aren't saving huge amounts of money like we were when we were paying off the loans.  We're certainly saving more than we used to, but it just doesn't feel like its adding up to very much.

I really want to stash cash so my husband can retire early, and he wants to retire early.  Right now, I want to keep working because I love my job.  But I also want more freedom option should I choose to stop working at some point.  We make two good incomes, but my husband has a long commute. 

How do we get inspired again to stash?  Have any of you experienced this?  Any help would be great! 
Jeannie-stache

Apocalyptica602

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 271
Kind of an 'out of the box' way of thinking of it. But why don't you try setting a goal in Mint.

You were probably so motivated because you saw that debt balance and then saw it shrink each month.

Retirement goals set a balance, a predicted 'date' and depending on how much you save and what the returns are, it even auto-corrects the date to say 'wow you're ahead of schedule!'.

Or, (I'm not sure how easy it would be to pencil-whip this) maybe set up a 'fake debt' in Mint. Say another $50,000 'loan' and say you wanna get it paid off in another 6 months. Although instead of setting up automatic payments to your loan company, make your 'loan company' Vanguard.

warfreak2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1140
  • Location: UK
    • Music by me
Could be that you found it easier to motivate yourselves because there was a concrete goal (paying off debts). Set a goal to reach FI. (You don't have to stop working when you are FI.) You'll need to know how much you have to save and how long it will take you to save it (see other forum posts, or MMM articles, for how to calculate this) but maybe you'll be more motivated when you see that goal getting nearer, or when you slip up and see it move further away.

jeastith

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
Oh man!  I really like that idea!  We are using Mint, and I just know we'd jump into action if it felt like a debt!  Thanks Apocalyptica602, totally going to set that up tonight.  Love it.  I've gotten such great ideas from this forum :)
Jeannie


Kind of an 'out of the box' way of thinking of it. But why don't you try setting a goal in Mint.

You were probably so motivated because you saw that debt balance and then saw it shrink each month.

Retirement goals set a balance, a predicted 'date' and depending on how much you save and what the returns are, it even auto-corrects the date to say 'wow you're ahead of schedule!'.

Or, (I'm not sure how easy it would be to pencil-whip this) maybe set up a 'fake debt' in Mint. Say another $50,000 'loan' and say you wanna get it paid off in another 6 months. Although instead of setting up automatic payments to your loan company, make your 'loan company' Vanguard.

homeymomma

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 335
We're at the same point. We just finished paying down all our debt a few months ago, then we took a couple months to re-build our emergency fund. Now we have two big goals of saving 50K+ for a down payment and saving for eventual retirement, which is probably multiple decades away. Now that the numbers are bigger and the end results more nebulous, it's much harder to find that daily inspiration to stay frugal! Something I did recently to try and inspire us was taking our big giant retirement number and dividing it by two, dividing again, and again, down to a number that we currently have. I made the next number in sequence our next Big Goal. I'm hoping we can plan a celebration of sorts when we get there, and record how long it takes to reach each milestone. This is all with the hope of watching compound interest do it's magic in a more tangible way, as well as increasing our savings as we get "close" to each goal benchmark.

As for the down payment, it's a smaller number so it's slightly more tangible. But it's still a good three years away, so it will be hard to keep motivation up. I'm planning to keep track of the percentage we save each month (in both retirement contributions and house savings) to keep an eye on things and maybe spur us to do better over time. It's hard to do much more when all the "low hanging fruit" of cost cutting has been picked.

The nice thing about getting rid of debt is that you can justify loosening the purse strings a tiny bit. As long as you have an FI date you're comfortable with, let yourself do things that were out of reach when your hair was on fire. Taking a small trip that you wouldn't have considered during debt payoff may be a good motivation to save, even though it's not contributing directly to your FI goal.

Apocalyptica602

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 271
Oh man!  I really like that idea!  We are using Mint, and I just know we'd jump into action if it felt like a debt!  Thanks Apocalyptica602, totally going to set that up tonight.  Love it.  I've gotten such great ideas from this forum :)
Jeannie


Kind of an 'out of the box' way of thinking of it. But why don't you try setting a goal in Mint.

You were probably so motivated because you saw that debt balance and then saw it shrink each month.

Retirement goals set a balance, a predicted 'date' and depending on how much you save and what the returns are, it even auto-corrects the date to say 'wow you're ahead of schedule!'.

Or, (I'm not sure how easy it would be to pencil-whip this) maybe set up a 'fake debt' in Mint. Say another $50,000 'loan' and say you wanna get it paid off in another 6 months. Although instead of setting up automatic payments to your loan company, make your 'loan company' Vanguard.

You're welcome, happy to help!

...Or you could set up a REAL debt and take a huge home equity loan to invest! (Just kidding, please don't do that) =p

LadyStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 231
Try to up your stache to build automatically, so it won't require you to be consistently motivated. For example, increasing the amount of your 401(k) contribution or setting up automatic contributions into a Roth IRA. Whenever I find out about getting a raise at work, I feel incredibly motivated to save and increase the amounts I am investing basically the same day.

jeastith

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
Good stuff, and its nice to hear from someone who's in the same boat.  We are saving for a downpayment too, and have found that way more difficult than paying off that debt.  Spring seems to be the hardest time to save anyway - I'm a self employed voice over artist and made more money last year than my quarterlies paid for, so we ended up with a $10,000 tax bill in April.  Had to up the quarterlies for this year and they were due at the same time, so it was a pretty big hit to our regular savings.

I like the idea of breaking the FI amount down.  I think that would be helpful because I can totally relate to what you're saying about that goal feeling far off.  For us, realistically, its about 6.5 years away. 

Anyway, thanks for chiming in!
Jeannie
   

We're at the same point. We just finished paying down all our debt a few months ago, then we took a couple months to re-build our emergency fund. Now we have two big goals of saving 50K+ for a down payment and saving for eventual retirement, which is probably multiple decades away. Now that the numbers are bigger and the end results more nebulous, it's much harder to find that daily inspiration to stay frugal! Something I did recently to try and inspire us was taking our big giant retirement number and dividing it by two, dividing again, and again, down to a number that we currently have. I made the next number in sequence our next Big Goal. I'm hoping we can plan a celebration of sorts when we get there, and record how long it takes to reach each milestone. This is all with the hope of watching compound interest do it's magic in a more tangible way, as well as increasing our savings as we get "close" to each goal benchmark.

As for the down payment, it's a smaller number so it's slightly more tangible. But it's still a good three years away, so it will be hard to keep motivation up. I'm planning to keep track of the percentage we save each month (in both retirement contributions and house savings) to keep an eye on things and maybe spur us to do better over time. It's hard to do much more when all the "low hanging fruit" of cost cutting has been picked.

The nice thing about getting rid of debt is that you can justify loosening the purse strings a tiny bit. As long as you have an FI date you're comfortable with, let yourself do things that were out of reach when your hair was on fire. Taking a small trip that you wouldn't have considered during debt payoff may be a good motivation to save, even though it's not contributing directly to your FI goal.

phred

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 506
Pay yourself first.  Open up a savings account at a bank some distance from you.  Have that bank auto withdraw from your direct deposit paycheck Open an investment fund where you commit to sending them money every month automatically from your direct deposit account. 

fidgiegirl

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1086
We are having the same issue!  The automatic thing has helped us a lot in the retirement accounts, but we're still not maxed out- should look into that.

Also, having a chart has really helped with a written goal.  The trouble for us is agreeing on a goal that will be mutually motivating.  At one point we saved a bunch of money for a new car in a much-shorter-than-anticipated timeframe simply for having the goal.  I'd like us to get a new goal, but we disagree on what that should be, so we're working at financial odds.  Oh well, that's another thread for another day.  Get thee a goal!!

ambimammular

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 386
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Indiana
Something I did recently to try and inspire us was taking our big giant retirement number and dividing it by two, dividing again, and again, down to a number that we currently have. I made the next number in sequence our next Big Goal. I'm hoping we can plan a celebration of sorts when we get there, and record how long it takes to reach each milestone. This is all with the hope of watching compound interest do it's magic in a more tangible way, as well as increasing our savings as we get "close" to each goal benchmark.


That's how I got my husband on board with paying down the house.  At owning 50% outright he earns himself another tattoo.  Not my thing, but it got him motivated! 

rubybeth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1402
  • Location: Midwest
I totally get this, because we also paid off about $50k in 4 years, and reaching that goal was awesome, but then the next big goal was tougher to figure out until I stumbled upon MMM.

I would think of it as a debt to yourself. You owe yourself $xxx,xxx to retire, so it IS a debt, in a way. You can set up smaller goals within Mint and link as many accounts as you want. Right now, I have a 'goal' set for my pension fund separate from our 'goal' of our stash amount. But you could break down the stash amount into smaller goals, like $50k in 2 years, and when that's met, set another goal for $100k total in the next year, and so forth.

payitoff

  • Guest
Make saving automatic?  so it's deducted to your account without your control and all you have to do it make sure to have the funds in there. 


TomTX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3440
  • Location: Texas
Well, if you are able to pay off $50k in 6 months, you should be:

1) Maxing 401(k) (both of you!)
2) Maxing Roth (both of you!)
3) Putting at least $25k/year of aftertax money into savings/investment.

marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6370
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
This might sound counterintuitive but....

Why don't you take out more debt? Only this time to buy appreciating assets such as stocks or real estate.


CU Tiger

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 460
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic USA
 Our savings and investments are set up so they are automatic. We pay ourself first! That way we do it without having to decide to save or not save.