Couple Money

How NaNoWriMo Can Help with Your Finances

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Looking to know our a big money goal this year? Learn how NaNoWriMo helped me to focus and make our finances easier to manage!

I can't help thinking about goals this time of year. We still have months to go before 2023 starts, but I like to use this time to reflect on our progress so far. 

We can then discuss what we’d like to do over the next year and start setting up the pieces for them. 

Over the last several years, we've made some solid progress with our finances together. 

One of our earlier goals was getting out of debt by paying off the car and student loans. We then focused on building up our financial cushion and getting more comfortable with investing and discovered FI.

We’ve tried to keep a holistic approach by putting certain expenses into our family budget, including more travel. We’re so grateful to be in this position. 

While there are plenty of reasons why we've hit the mark on many of our money goals, I think changing our approach to finances is key. 

The funny thing is the inspiration for these changes had nothing to do with spreadsheets and calculators.

It came from counting my words.

NaNoWriMo's Monthly Challenge

One goal that I am extremely proud of was completing the NaNoWriMo a few years ago.

It's a challenge where participants are encouraged to write a novel (defined in the challenge as 50,000 words) in November.

It was a ton of work and there were quite a few times that month that I wanted to quit, but when December 1st came I had a significant portion of a story written down.

Something that had been on my personal wishlist was done and it was on the first try of this challenge.

That got me thinking – what made NaNoWriMo work for me when I've started and stopped writing so often?

With the dust cleared in my mind and the benefit of some hindsight, I think I have an explanation – the monthly challenge took a huge task, gamified it,  and made it into a SMART goal. 

How to Master Your Money with SMART Goals

I've s talked about SMART goals a few times, but as a refresher, here is a summary of what they are:

Writing Over 50,000 Words in One Month with NaNoWriMo

There were several factors at play that pushed me towards winning the challenge. The more I looked at it, the more I saw how SMART goal framework worked with NaNoWriMo.

Was I exhausted at the end of the month? Yep, but it felt so good to accomplish something I've wanted to do for years.

Monthly Money Challenges

What does this have to do with finances? Plenty. 

If you're looking at mastering your finances this year, doing a monthly challenge for your money goal can be an extremely powerful tool in your arsenal.

Which do you think you'll be able to do better with by the end of this month – “saving more” or “save $5/day in January”?

Having something concrete for a limited amount of time can be very motivating.

While I've found monthly challenges the perfect size to tackle goals like buying a family car, saving $100 or optimizing your bills.

Need ideas? I have four fun monthly money challenges to try out

Want to increase your chances of success? Make your challenge social – involve your friends, either as fellow participants or as cheerleaders.

So what's your monthly challenge? What do you hope to finish in 30 days?

This article was originally posted January 2014. It has been updated October 2022. 

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