Making sacrifices is essential to success. Financially successful people are no exception. They have made tough choices, forgone things they like for the sake of something better. What are some of the sacrifices needed in order to achieve your financial goals? Here is an honest look.

Are You Making Sacrifices To Achieve Success?

Achieving financial independence, retiring early, paying off your debt – they all require some degree of sacrifice.

People looking to achieve FIRE are notorious for their frugal ways. They go all out to achieve the savings rate they aim for which helps them to build a nest-egg of savings and ultimately retire decades early. They live in moderate houses with small mortgages, take minimal vacations. Their salaries inflate while their lifestyles don’t.

Entrepreneurs need to make countless leaps out of their comfort zone. They are constantly trying to improve their product, build better systems, increase efficiencies or even just doing some fire-fighting.

You can’t achieve your lofty money goals if you oversleep, binge-watch Netflix, or spend your days chatting scrolling through social media feeds.

“There can be no progress, no achievement, without sacrifice, and a man’s worldly success will be in the measure that he sacrifices.”

-James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

To Achieve Extraordinary, You Have To Sacrifice The Ordinary

“If you want to live an exceptional and extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.”

-Srinivas Rao

It is said that in order to achieve the great you have to give up the good. In other words, in order to achieve a life of your dreams, you have to make hard choices and forego things that give you pleasure today.

Let us have a look at some of these.

Things You May Need To Sacrifice To Achieve Your Financial Goals

1. Time

Your day has the same number of hours as the next person. Yet, this other person seems to achieve so much more out of the same limited number of hours.

Some women are able to juggle being a mother of three kids under the age of seven, with a day job and study. Others just wonder where their time went.

It is all about how to make use of your time. Sacrificing time means prioritizing. It means making lists, planning out your day and sticking to your plans.

My dad was in the Armed Forces. As a result, he would get posted to different locations around the country every couple of years (or sometimes even less than that).

My parents decided to live apart, often thousands of miles, so that my mom could have a career of her own, be financially independent, and contribute to the family’s finances. Moving around with my dad would have meant temporary positions and pay cuts for her. They sacrificed time with each other.

Staying away from each other wasn’t easy for either of them, but today when they look back they are glad they made that choice. Our family is better off for the sacrifice they made.

2. Life and lifestyle

Natalie moved from a new apartment, with lots of windows, warm sunlight and a large front yard to a smaller apartment with no yard. The move saved her $500 in rent each month and a lot of stress.

As a banker, my work would involve long hours at the office. I was sacrificing time with my family. My daughter was unable to be there for most birthday parties of her classmates as I was not available to take her. Sometimes, I would feel really guilty. But, it wasn’t all bad. The hard work paid off. There were faster promotions, better bonuses and higher salary jumps.

If you are determined to succeed then power through those tough times. Make the adjustments in your personal life. Your friends and family will understand, your children will forget about the birthday parties they missed. And they will be grateful for the college fund you have built up for them.

3. Sleep

I have known couples who have worked opposite schedules to have one of them be with their munchkins. If the wife works during the day, the husband does the graveyard shift or vice-versa. It isn’t easy. But it is the choice they make so that both of them can work and they can save on daycare.

4. Instant gratification

Instant gratification is the path you take to avoid immediate pain. Eating a chocolate when you feel hungry is one way to deal with a pesky hunger pang.

The other way is to cut up some fruit or make a sandwich. There is more work than opening a wrapper but later on, your healthier self will thank you for making this choice.

The famous Stanford Marshmallow Experiment was a study on delayed gratification. Researchers found that children who were able to wait longer tended to be more successful in life.

People who learn how to manage their needs to be immediately satisfied are more successful.

Each time you forego something today to save for a better life tomorrow you are doing just that. Obviously you need to be rewarded for that. If you forego consumption today in order, you are saving money for retirement. Put that money in a retirement fund and you will earn interest.

Here is an interesting statistic. Roughly 65% of Americans save less than 10% of their monthly income.

graph showing percentage of annual income Americans save

(p.s. I have delved more into the behavioral reasons behind why people are unable to give up short-term gratification for long-term rewards.)

Why People Don’t Save Money (and How You Cant Start)

5. Wants (and even needs)

Every story of a financial turnaround involves giving up. People give up the things they like – visiting coffee shops, buying new clothes, eating out, their hobbies. There are some who have traded bigger homes for smaller ones to save on rent, a mini-van for a rusty old car to avoid a crazy car payment.

Giving up these things enables you to find the money you need to pay off your student loan faster, build an emergency fund, and work towards financial security.

At face value it seems to involve a lot of sacrifice. You give up things that bring joy to your life. It isn’t easy, but you get used to your new lifestyle. It may require a lot of motivation to begin with, but, over time it becomes a part of you.

There are times people may find yourself standing at a critical juncture in their lives, staring down an abyss, which may force them to make the hard choice. But these are the times when giving up on your wants and needs will help you build a better tomorrow.

6. Sanity and peace of mind

There are days when I feel exhausted, stressed out and overworked. However, these are the days when I know I have given my all to achieve my goals. I have worked my derriere off and it was oh so worth it.

That feeling of satisfaction when you overcome challenges is worth the stress and the loss of sanity. I know that achieving goals is never supposed to be easy. Our goals and our aspirations are meant to test us, challenge us and make us stronger.

These crazy moments are short-lived and the success is longer.

And, don’t forget to take time out for yourself amidst all this craziness to take breaks and relax when you need to.

7. Health

If you pursue success at the expense of your health, you will ultimately fall short. Your body, mind or spirit will not be able to cope and will give up.

People make unhealthy choices – be it in the food they eat, not exercising, or looking after themselves. They ignore the signs their body is giving them.

Unlike other sacrifices, this is one that should not be made. You need to eat food that fuels you, exercise consistently, take care of those signs that your body gives you when things are not okay.

To sum up, I wanted to share this quote I love

” Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. “

– Pele

So, in order to achieve your greatest potential, you will need to make choices. However, those who are able to see the gains in the future in the trade-off they make today are likely to be happy making these choices, persevere with them, and achieve ultimately achieve greater success.


making sacrifices to achieve financial goals

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