Did you set a goal to save more money, learn how to use credit more wisely, or streamline your spending this year? For many people, uncertain circumstances have made accomplishing financial goals more challenging and urgent than ever before. Good news: there are countless money milestones and victories worth celebrating, no matter their size. Additionally, research shows that feeling the power of progress — which can stem from celebrating even the smallest of wins — can help you renew your sense of purpose when working toward a bigger goal.
Kelli Scott, VP of Customer Experience, notes, “Understandably, people are generally quick to feel upset for making an occasional money mistake, but they rarely show themselves grace for all of the efforts they put in each day to take care of themselves and the people they love.”
Are you ready to flip the script and celebrate your hard work? Here are a handful of accomplishments we think are worthy of recognition, along with some suggestions for acknowledging each one.
1. You’re successfully using a financial checklist.
A financial checklist can empower you to take stock of your current finances, and it’s a valuable tool to help you plan your future. A checklist is especially helpful for evaluating your spending and debt and identifying where you can streamline your current expenses.
If you recently created a money-focused checklist to use during regular financial check-ins, pause and give yourself a pat on the back. Keeping organized and staying on top of money matters will make it much easier to reach additional financial milestones.
2. You’ve stuck with your budget for a set amount of time.
Much like putting together a financial checklist for the first time, using a budget template can help you build a strong financial foundation and establish healthy money habits over time. If you’re new to budgeting or recently made some updates to your existing budget, you may have found that adjusting to new financial allocations isn’t easy.
Whether you’ve just started sticking to your budget each day, have made it through a couple of weeks, or consistently stayed on track for a month or more, stop to recognize your dedication and hard work. If you’ve built “fun” into your budget, there’s never been a better time to treat yourself.
3. You consistently pay your bills on time.
Paying your bills on time will help you avoid late fees and penalties, and in some instances, can help you build your credit. But making on-time payments when you’ve experienced an unexpected setback — such as a job loss or big unplanned expense — can be exceedingly tough.
Rather than berating yourself for a rare missed payment, take time to reflect on all of the on-time payments you’ve made to date. “Simply acknowledging the effort you make to pay for your everyday expenses is important,” Kelli says. “The reality is, it can be difficult to do during uncertain times. Your consistency, even when things aren’t in your control, should be commended.”
4. You recently paid for an unexpected expense out of pocket.
Did you know that 40 percent of Americans are unable to pay for a $400 emergency expense? If you’re working with a tight budget or have been working hard to grow an emergency fund, finding money for extras or unexpected expenses can seem impossible. You may be tempted or forced to pay for a purchase with a credit card, or in some cases, take out a loan.
If you recently paid for an unplanned purchase — such as an auto repair or to replace a broken cell phone — out of pocket, you should feel proud. “Share your win with a friend or partner,” Kelli suggests. “Even if just a simple text, it’s validating to share your success with the people who support you. You’ll feel inspired to continue working toward your bigger goals.”
5. You’ve grown your savings.
Having a dedicated account to save can help curb a temptation to spend and help keep your money safe. Even more, saving can empower you to make your life goals and dreams a reality. “Once you’ve established some baseline savings, you’ll be in great shape to do things you’ve been thinking about, whether it’s paying for your child’s supplies and schooling costs or buying a new refrigerator,” Kelli offers.
Whether you’ve managed to save a small amount of money or you’re closing in on a big milestone you’ve been working toward for a long time, having a bigger balance in your savings is a reason to celebrate. Do a happy dance when nobody’s watching, treat yourself to a fancy coffee, or schedule a fun outing. You deserve it.
Recognizing the small steps you take toward achieving your financial goals will help make your big picture vision a reality. At One, we’re helping people maximize their paycheck and empowering them to do more with their money. Sign up for One here.
Katie is a tech and finance writer, covering stories from building better financial health to credit cards. They are currently based in Sacramento, CA with their puppy Ollie and cat Bagel.