Competition is often depicted as an unhealthy thing. You see it in movies, where competitive instincts take over and ruin the plot (and the occasional friendship). Advice constantly tells us not to try and compete with other people, to be the best that we can be, and not be consumed about what others are doing.
Except… competition is actually pretty healthy. Obviously there are ways and means of taking it too far and crossing a line but, generally, it’s a positive. We all need an incentive from time-to-time, the feeling of having something to strive for or something (or even someone) to beat.
Much of the world of savvy money management isn’t that exciting. In fact, much of it is about resisting your impulses and more telling yourself what you shouldn’t do rather than the things that you want to. It’s necessary impulse control, but it’s not going to get your blood racing and you grinning from ear to ear with excitement. “Security” is never going to be an enthralling a prospect as “lots of excitement”.
So why not jazz it up a little? You don’t have to abandon your financial management focus; you can just make it a little more interesting.
- Have A Savings Competition With A Friend
If you have a close friend who is also financially savvy, then you have a friend for life. You can swap tips on the best coupons, compare notes and information on how this site always has new sweepstakes to enter or that site has better discount codes. It’s a useful, mutually beneficial friendship… so why not up the stakes a little?
At the beginning of a month, you set a goal. Whoever can save the most money by the end of the month (without damaging their budget in other ways) is the one that wins. The loser could pay for an evening out together from their savings, or could even do a few chores for the winner. It’s a fun way of making scrimping through the month feel a little more enjoyable.
- Compete With Yourself
If you know your way around sound financial management, then you probably don’t need telling to regularly switch your utilities supplier and look for the best deals on your broadband.
But what if you try and be the you who did this the last time?
Let’s say last year you ran through these checks and saved yourself $300 per year. That’s a huge win – but can the you of 2017 better it?
Of course, you need an incentive. So say for every $10 extra you save on your monthly outgoings, you get $1 to do with whatever you please. If you want to put it into savings then more power to you – or you could use it as a way to treat yourself to something you’ve been wanting for months.
- Compete With Your Family
Fuel costs are a huge burden through the winter months, but they don’t have to be a necessity. The whole family can compete in a “who can resist turning the heat up?” the longest challenge. (Note: for children with asthma or other cold-sensitive conditions, choose options like “who can use the least water”).
When dealing with kids, it’s better to have an incentive for holding out rather than a punishment for not doing so. A new toy or a half-hour later bedtime on weekends for a month should do it. So make sure everyone has got a sweater and is ready to play.