Money Talks, So Should You

40-Something Frugalista: A marathon, not a sprint

by T.L., Dimespring 30 (@beachbudget)

There are often times I'm out for a run on the beach when my legs feel heavy. It seems no matter how much effort I put into it, my body just doesn't seem to move very fast, and I feel like I'm sinking into quicksand.

There are two ways to think about this situation.

One is to feel defeat. To blame myself for maybe not eating as well as I should have the past couple of days, not training more, or perhaps training less. I can get mad at myself for feeling like a terrible athlete.

The second is to look around during the run. Look and see all the people at the beach who are just sitting there ... not running. Because no matter how crappy you imagine your run to be that day, at least you are moving.

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I often think about this in the world of personal finance ... more specifically how I feel about my own personal finance journey.

There are all kinds of personal finance bloggers out there. Some are dealing with a lot of debt they are trying to pay off, some are trying to control spending, some are trying to find ways to make more money, some are teaching others how to invest, and some are kicking some major ass in life and want to share how they do it.

You can look at their situation and compare it to your own, but in the end your journey is just that ... yours.

Mine involves just a little debt, an unstable and not very good freelance income, and living in a city with a high cost of living. Oh and looking for a full-time job.

When you go about your daily life, it's sometime hard to see how the little things you've changed about yourself make much of a difference in the big picture.

It would be easy for me throw in the towel and think, "Am I really even getting anywhere?"

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But if you add up all of the tiny little changes you've made for the better, they equal great results.

One area that I can think of off hand is my budget.

I can berate myself for always going over each month, especially in a couple categories, or I can look at the fact that I have faithfully KEPT a budget going consistently since May, and each month I get closer and closer to not going over.

I can curse myself for spending a little too much on eating out one weekend, or I can see that overall I eat out way less than I used to.

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There are so many little things to celebrate, like working out consistently most days of the week without paying for a gym, or resisting the temptation to purchase something from Groupon, or having the courage to say no to social plans, even though all my friends may be going.

Over the last six months I've made tremendous strides in my own personal finance journey, and will continue to grown and evolve over time.

I just need to remind myself, "this is a marathon, not a sprint."

Time to celebrate your own successes. What little things have you accomplished in your own personal finance journey that you'd like to share?

T.L. is a freelance video editor and blogger living in Los Angeles. She enjoys movies, running and playing beach volleyball. You can follow her personal finance journey on her blog at Budget & the Beach, and follow her on twitter at @beachbudgetT.L. is a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and attitudes on personal finance.