Track it. Keep it fun.
When I started running again and de-fatting myself, I keep track of my progress. In addition to weighing myself, I recorded all my workouts on an online training log. If need be I could tell you my workouts for April 9th, 2007 for example (I ran 5.5 miles, biked 18 miles and swam 1800 yards. I knew that secretly you wanted to know).
Do the same with your finances when you start getting your financial butt in gear. Make a spreadsheet with all your financial info on it. List all your assets (house value, savings accounts, checking accounts, stocks, 401k etc…) and all your debts (credit card balances, car loans, home loans, student loans etc…). Then subtract the debts from your assets, this will give you your net-worth. Which very well may be negative at first.
Like looking down at the scale when first starting a weight-loss program, it can be painful at first. But the progress, and there will be progress if you stick with it, will be fun to watch…serious fun.
I update my spreadsheet once a month to get the big picture of my finances, if you are just starting out you might want to do it more often for the motivation factor.
Post your progress where you can see it. Bathroom mirror is a great place.
Another plus to having all the financial data on one spreadsheet, it will help your spouse if something happens to you. If during one of my morning runs some cell-phone-talking makeup-applying carpool-mom pancakes me with her mini-van while driving her overweight lazy kids a quarter mile to school (this is a fairly likely scenario) all our financial data is on one spreadsheet on my laptop…password protected of course. And another copy of it is stored in a bank safe deposit box.
Change your future now. Don’t be a typical American consumer.