Business LoansAccounts Style 02Car LoansCareersCheckingCredit CardsDigital BankingAccounts Style 01Home Equity LoansInsuranceInvestingMembershipMortgagePersonal LoansRV, Boat, Motorcycle LoansSavings
Skip to main content
Back to Saving & Investing

Fun vs. Funds

Featured Image
Two young women looking out the open window of a vehicle.

When we have a concrete and enjoyable goal in mind, like taking a trip to Florida for Spring Break, it’s easy to be motivated to save. It’s harder if the goal is vague or not as appealing.

I had a college student ask me recently, “Why am I having such a hard time saving for an emergency fund but had no problem at all saving for my Spring Break trip?”

In response, I asked her two simple questions, and a light bulb seemed to go off in her head.

My first question was, “On a scale of one to ten, how motivated were you to save for that trip during spring break?” Without thinking twice, she responded “10 plus.”

She shared how she and her friends had planned their trip at the beginning of the year. For months, they had been looking forward to taking time away from the books.

My second question was, “How realistic did you think it was that you could reach your goal to take that trip?”

She said that she had figured out exactly how much she needed to save toward the trip each time she got paid. She was very confident that she could save enough money for the trip. Her answer was “a solid 10.”

My friend demonstrated why it is easier to save for some things than others.

When we have a concrete and enjoyable goal in mind, it’s easy to be motivated to save. It’s harder if the goal is vague or less appealing, like building up a 6-month emergency fund.

Those two questions, “How motivated am I to realize this goal?” and “Do I believe that I can do it?” are strong predictors of success.

When our motivation and confidence are high, there’s nothing we can’t do. Just knowing that can help you prioritize and achieve the important goals that you set.

  • Related Resources

    See More Resources

  • Can I Afford My Love of Sports?

    The founding fathers may have stated that we have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but they didn’t tell us how much it would cost. Since my happiness depends on watching basketball, I know I need to consider just how much of my monthly income I’m willing to see dribbled down the court.
  • Shopaholics Anonymous, anyone?

    Ever wonder why you spend money on the things you spend money on? Money experts say it’s tied to values and things that have shaped what’s important to you.
  • Confession: "I'm a product hoarder."

    Does anyone else have 1.5 million bottles of half used products under every sink in their house? I’m talking about shampoos, lotions, perfume and cleaning supplies.