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Rewarding and Motivating Myself

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I have a problem. It's a "first-world" problem, so I don't expect any sympathy.

Father's Day is just around the corner and my wife asked what I wanted. I honestly couldn't think of much. I kind of want this Intel NUC to update our Windows Media Center that eliminates our cable box rental fees. The Dell Zino that I got 5 years ago is showing its age.

Unfortunately, Microsoft discontinued the software to make it go, so I'm reduced to experimenting putting Windows 7 on it (not easy) or putting an experimental build of WMC on Windows 10 (also not easy). I don't want to take on the project. I just want something that works.

Other than this, the only other thing I can think of wanting is this extremely expensive television. Hey it only costs a fraction of the $25,000 that the technology cost a few years ago, so it's a "bargain", right?

I don't see myself saying, "I think it's a good idea to spend $3000 on a television." I'm just not wired that way.

However, I realized that if I put aside a little money each month, it feels like an easier purchase. I saved specifically for it, so I can justify it.

I've decided I'd put aside 1% of my monthly revenue each month. So if I were to make $60,000 a year (I don't, this is just an example), it would be around $5000 a month. When I put 1% aside, I transfer $50 to a specialized account. That would be around $600 a year saved. So it's going to take me 5 years to save up for the television, right? Well fortunately technology becomes much cheaper over time. In a couple of years, I wouldn't be surprised if it was $1500 and I would have saved $1200 (in this example).

I'd still be a little short, but here's where the Father's Day solution comes in. If my wife adds $50 here or there the gap is bridged pretty quick. It's no big deal if it takes 30 months instead of 24.

This helps me in three ways:

  1. Budget for a big purchase - Some people just add it to their credit card and pay a ton of interest. Those people are not likely to be the ones retiring early.
  2. Motivate Me to Make More Money - Because I'm putting 1% away, the more money I make the faster I get to my goal. If I can grow from $5000 a month to $6000 a month, that means that I'm putting $60 aside each month. That would get me to $1440 after two years instead of $1200. I'll reach my goal quicker and get the television quicker.
  3. Reward Me for Doing Good Work - This is kind of big thing for me psychologically. As I mentioned in the beginning, I don't really want a lot of things. To expand on that, there aren't a lot of experience things I want at this time either as it's hard to do them with the 2 and 3 year old. All work and no play make Brian a dull boy, right?

What do you do to motivate and reward yourself? Let me know in the comments.

Posted on June 14, 2016.

This post deals with:

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Budgeting, Financial Planning

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