Exercise #0: (Yes, there is a ground zero for this class.) What do you do when your favorite sports team wins, when you win an award, when you get some good news, when something happens that makes you feel like you “won”? Do you cheer? Dance? Jump up and down? How do you celebrate winning normally?
Exercise #1: Do you need to pay off debts? If so, what is the smallest debt that you have that needs to be paid off? Figure out a schedule to pay it off. List that schedule here. (If you are not dealing with debt issues, feel free to skip the next two exercises.)
Exercise #2: Now when it’s paid off, it will be time to celebrate the victory. What will you do to celebrate? (Spending money can’t be involved in the celebration, sorry.)
Exercise #3: Along the way to paying off the debt, you will have several smaller steps which you can see on your schedule. What will you do to celebrate each step?
Exercise #4: Do you need to start saving? If so, pick a small amount that you know you can save. What will the amount be? (If you are already doing a good job saving, skip the next two exercises.)
Exercise #5: That small amount you listed in Exercise four is now the amount that you’re going to mentally treat as “zero”. Your account should never go lower than that amount, because it is now zero. How are you going to celebrate when you get there?
Exercise #6: After one month, what will the amount be that you will treat as zero?
Exercise #7: Develop a savings schedule to eventually reach the point were you have 6 months of living expenses saved in an emergency fund. (Smaller steps at shorter time intervals are better. Be very realistic with your schedule. It’s OK if it takes you a long time to get to that goal of an emergency fund.)
Exercise #8: What will you do to celebrate each step on that schedule?
Exercise #9: Eventually the goal is to be debt-free (other than a mortgage and perhaps a car loan) and to have 6 months of living expenses in savings as an emergency fund. Especially if you have a lot of student loans or credit card debt, you probably have many small victories ahead of you on the way to those goals. How will you celebrate each time you make a decision that gets you closer to freedom from debt and financial stability? (Yes, we want you to celebrate each small decision that gets you closer to your goals. Focus more on the number of victories than on the size of each victory.)
Exercise #10: We already worked on what you will replace your unwise spending habits with. Each time you replace spending with something more healthy, what will you do to celebrate?
Exercise #11: Do you have a friend you can celebrate these small victories with? Who can you ask to be your partner on the road to financial freedom?
If you’d like to talk about your answers, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
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