When you learn to manage money well, you win your life back.
That is the biggest “life lesson” I can give to you after the events of this past week. Replacing bad money habits with new ones, learning how to create and follow a budget and actually sticking to the savings plans has allowed me and my family to focus on ONE thing –
LIVING a life!
Last week, I wrote about my upcoming trip of attending three Elton John concerts in five days. I titled it “Options and Opportunities”. Of course, I had NO IDEA what options and opportunities would come my way during the trip. Here’s a quick recap:
A 2nd-row-floor seat for the concert in Roanoke, VA
A 2nd row, side view, first balcony seat for the concert in Charlottesville, VA
A 3rd row, side view, first balcony seat for the Youngstown, Ohio concert.
A backstage pass tour ticket for the Youngstown, Ohio show.
When I left on my trip, I had NONE of these tickets. So how did I get them? I was financially ready to take advantage of the opportunity.
This is what happens when I get to sit on the 2nd row – I’m the one with the BIG green poster! The video cuts off right before Elton signed my poster but you can see me handing it to him!
In 2010, when we decided to become debt free, my #1 reason was to have money to go see Elton John. Primarily because it has been my dream for over 20 years to meet him in person. But, also because I LOVE going to the concerts. I love everything about the live concert experience – the music, the people, the energy!
Even after 32 concerts, the whole experience never gets old.
In 2013, when I started Melissa the Coach, Financial Coaching my purpose was to help other people achieve the same thing we did – to become debt free and live life! I help people find that one thing that they are passionate about and then use money as a tool to achieve the goal instead of allowing it to be that thing that gets in the way. Click To Tweet
I want for you what I can now do for myself – be financially ready to take advantage of an opportunity.
As we begin the seasons of Easter and Spring, we are reminded that this is a time of new beginnings. This time of year is a time of hope, renewal, new growth and warmer weather!
What do you hope for you and your family?
What dreams and goals need to be renewed?
What growth do you need to go through in order to change?
I know that change isn’t easy. If getting out of debt and learning how to create and follow a budget were easy everyone would do it and I wouldn’t have a job anymore. It wasn’t easy paying off over $43K of debt in less than 4 years and it’s NOT easy to stay debt free.
However, think about all the times that you had to say,
“I can’t afford it” or
“I don’t have the money” or
“It’s too expensive”
Today is your day to start over, to renew your commitment to “get better with money” and start learning how to control your money instead of allowing money to control you. You ready?
Assess your Situation
Pull your debit and/or credit card statements for the month of March. Start creating categories and placing all of your expenses into categories. Make a list of the debt and total it out.
“Cold Turkey” the Bad Habits
Where do you spend your money out of habit instead of out of necessity? Think about your daily routine. Do you always stop for coffee on the way to work? Do you eat out every day? Do you impulse buy? Do you use our credit and/or debit card on a daily basis?
STOP. Just stop all the bad habits cold turkey. If you can go for one day without giving in to bad habits, you can go two days and then three, etc, etc.
Cash vs Credit
If you have credit card debt, you need to stop using the credit cards. Take them out of your wallet by the end of the day TODAY and put them somewhere. One of the best ideas I ever heard was freezing them in ice and putting them in the freezer. If a situation comes up where you feel you just have to use the credit card, you, at least, have to wait until the ice thaws. This gives you time to think about your purchase.
Start using cash for purchases. I found it easier to manage the budget and purchases every two weeks when we got paid. Sometimes, its easier to manage week to week until you figure out a system that works for you. Start your new week TODAY and figure out how much cash you need for groceries, gas, etc. and start using it. The envelope system is a great tool for this. You simply put the cash in the envelope, mark it for a certain category (i.e FOOD) and then only spend the money in that envelope for food.
You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. It’s ok to be overwhelmed. It’s NOT ok to give up before you even get started. This whole “getting better with money” thing is a process. The process begins with identifying your goal. What do you really want to achieve?
Be specific in your goal and dream BIG!
“I want to meet Elton John”.
See? Specific and BIG.
Many people tell me they want to “save more”.
That’s not specific enough.
They tell me they want to “spend less”.
That’s not specific enough.
You need to have a strong, emotionally driven goal that you want to achieve so badly that NOTHING will stand in your way.
Identify your Goal
Brainstorm. What do you love to do? What is your purpose, your passion? Start writing, with pen and paper and write down a list of ALL the things you could/would do if money was no longer a hindrance.
Nothing is too big, or too small. Nothing you write is dumb or stupid or ridiculous. This list is what YOU want for YOU, not what others want for you. Once your list is created, pick the ONE thing that scares you a little bit and GO!
Create Your Plan
What do you have to do to achieve your goal? How does money factor into that? I know it’s really hard to figure out a plan when you don’t know HOW it’s all going to come together but make the plan anyway.
Start with your goal and then list the steps that you need to take to make forward progress on achieving that goal.
The #1 goal is to always make forward progress on your goal.
For example, I haven’t met Elton John yet BUT I’ve gotten his autograph several times and met every member of the band which is AWESOME forward progress!
This recent trip has renewed my sense of purpose – to help others do the same thing I did: decide that money was no longer going to stand in the way of me and my dream. Then, create a plan to become debt free and SAVE for the purpose of attending concerts.
Are you ready to renew your hope, your passion, your goals?
Are you ready to begin a new season of your life where money no longer prevents you from LIVING life?
I’d love to know your dreams and plans!