I think we all sometimes find ourselves frustrated with budgeting and living differently and we notice our resolve weakening. We start to wonder why we’re going to all this trouble. Why shouldn’t we buy a dream home and a nicer vehicle? Why are we sacrificing so much while we are young and should be enjoying life?
It’s times like these when we really have to re-evaluate our motivation and focus clearly on our goals. If we don’t have a concrete grasp of what we’re working toward and why, the path to financial freedom becomes a slippery slope back into society’s consumer-driven rush. It’s hard to go against the grain. I’m a short, nerdy, Christian, sports-hating homeschooler who is 28 years old and loves watching The Today Show while clipping coupons, writing a blog, and crocheting. My husband and I are young and fertile and we chose to adopt because there are kids who need homes. We know a few things about being different. Sometimes it’s very rewarding, but a lot of times it really stinks. It can feel lonely and it has the potential to be divisive (people get tired of hearing you talk about Dave Ramsey and they may cut you if you suggest his book one. more. time.) It’s so important that we maintain a clear picture of our dreams before we start to back-track.
Find your Motivation
This is going to require a little bit of homework, but it is a good exercise. I’m going to do it with you because it’s time to refresh my mind about all this as well. Most likely, your deep-down, driving force to get your finances in order is not the accumulation of dollars. Money is a resource, not an end point. The pursuit of wealth just for the sake of becoming rich is hollow and unsatisfying. I bet your real reason looks more like something on this list:
I want to work less and travel more.
I want to spend more time with my kids.
I want to be able to pay for my children to go to college.
I want my husband to be able to spend more time at home and less time at the office.
I want us to have more quality time as a family.
I want to pursue my dream job.
I want to retire early.
I want to be able to give generously.
I want to homeschool.
I want to start a business.
I want to grow our family.
I want to move into a new house.
I want to be a stay-at-home Mom.
I want to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck.
During nap time or your lunch hour this week, take some time to think about the question, “Why am I wanting to save money?” I encourage you to have your spouse ask the same question. After you come up with your answers, find some time to discuss it. Compare dreams and talk about why these things are so important to you. If you have been finding it difficult to get your spouse on board with your savings plan, this conversation should really help bring him over to your side. Knowing your motivation will make him more likely to adopt your budget and cut back on unnecessary spending. If your man is the finance guru in your relationship and you’ve been resistant to follow his savings plan, you definitely need to have this conversation and find out why it’s so important to him. You may be surprised.
Keep your Eyes on the Goal
The American Dream is quickly becoming the American Debt Nightmare for much of the middle class. Our pattern of racking up debt with mindless spending has become mainstream. We just go with the flow of those around us justifying our lives of excess with #YOLO and never realizing that we’re giving up our biggest dreams for shallow, immediate gratification. Do not let yourself be deceived by this facade of happy affluence. Somehow our generation has developed a sense of entitlement about what we “deserve” in our 20s and 30s. We buy things we can’t afford because we’ve “earned it” or because we feel like won’t be able to fully enjoy it if we wait until we actually have the money. This attitude is destroying the finances of the millennials, most of whom already have a load of school debt. You don’t need the big house, a Facebook-perfect Christmas, or an expensive vacation to find happiness. Meet like-minded friends, buy only what you can afford, make the most of what you have with DIY projects and scrappy saving, and go create memories with your people. That’s what really matters. Being different and living lean doesn’t have to be a drag if you remember what you are working toward. Whatever your motivation is, I’m sure it’s worth the wait.
I’ve created this printable poster to help you stay the course. You can get this as well as my other freebies here.
Tell me, what are you working toward in this season of life?
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