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One the biggest motivators to overhaul our finances was the realization that if we continued to do what we were doing, we were never going to get to do the things we wanted to do. It's easy to talk about future plans or dreams. "One day we will do this," or, "One day we will go there." They roll of the tongue easily. They are dreamy hypotheticals. Good intentions with no substance. When it really truly hit me that we were never going to get to do those "one day" things was when I became really intense on whipping our financial life into shape. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. The old adage by Benjamin Franklin holds true, especially in the world of personal finance.
Some people, like me, can get down and dirty in the numbers and budgeting, and that brings a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction in itself. My husband on the other hand, could care less. He doesn't get excited about allocating money to different categories. He is a spender through and through. He needs a big reason for doing the nitty gritty. The prize for a race well run. Chris Hogan's book, Retire Inspired, stresses the importance of dreaming big. What would you do if you could do anything you wanted? Honestly, this question is hard for me to answer. I am such a practical person at heart that it takes a lot to get me into that frame of mind. Scott and I talked about this and his answer was quick and definitive. All he wants is to buy a sailboat and sail around the world. That's a big dream but it is the perfect motivator. It's big enough that it will require sacrifice but it still attainable. My dreams are similar. We both love to travel and I cannot wait to take our future family all over the world. I want to plan a trip, have the money, and not stress about anything.
So what does that really look like? If the whole point of this dreaming big thing is to actually do it, then how do you get there? One word, budget. It's not a dirty word. For a person like me, who will get the worst case of buyer's remorse, it is a life saver. Knowing that I have money allocated to a specific category keeps me from freaking out when I go to buy something. It also assures me that I am not sabotaging future goals for a momentary pleasure. Seeing how all the pieces fit together is amazing. Now you might be thinking, "Yeah, that is great for a nerd like you, but what about me? I don't care about numbers! I just want to spend my money how I want to!"
Your thoughts are real and valid. I would argue that your definition of budget might be slightly wrong. Budget doesn't mean cheap or constricting. It simply means that there is a finite amount you can spend on any particular thing. How does that sound any better? Well, the reason is because YOU decide what that finite amount is. You tell your money where it is going to go. Sure there are some things that you going to have to pay even if you don't want to. Utilities, maybe rent or a mortgage, food, transportation, but the rest is up to you. It's is when you consciously decide how you going to spend your money that you actually can see those big dreams becoming reality. Otherwise the money just leaks out of your bank account month after month, and you will never make any progress.
If you still don't believe me, I strongly encourage you to try out www.everydollar.com. It is great budgeting tool that has helped us to so much. When I use it, I can see that we are going to get to those "one day" things and I can actually start dreaming bigger. I am confident that those dreams are going to become realities.
Any other personal finance junkies out there? Are you more of spender or a saver? What big things do you want accomplish?