All humans start off with not a single bill in our name. It’s hard to remember, but at one point we didn’t have a single bill to pay, we didn’t have to buy our own food, we maybe had or did not have all we needed, but we survived.
And then we get to college or to our first job, and perhaps pick up our first credit card. Or we rent our first apartment, we start spending money eating out, we finance or lease a new car, then more and more and more, and then kids, and sports, and activities, and clothes, and vacations and things just start to happen.
Before we know it, our monthly cost of living is high, and when I say, I mean high because not many people even realize how much money they spend month to month, and many survive, and many live pay to pay, and many upgrade monthly and spend more and more, going further into debt.
How do we put a stop to this?
How do we perform a financial reversal?
How do we scale back?
How do we save a bit more than what we earn?
How can we retrain ourselves to a life of less spending, buying, purchasing?
The habit I always go back to, is to simply simplify. By simplifying our life a bit or a lot, we take back the reigns of endless financial output. We simplify and we cut out, cut back or just say NO to things we have committed to in the past. We simplify by doing nothing at all, and actually enjoying what we already have. We simplify by engaging in everything free.
Take an inventory of where your money is going. Where are most of your dollars ending up each month, or each time you get paid? Do you have a mortgage, and a car, or more cars, do you have eating out expenses, or clothes, or shoes, or bags, or sports, or travel? What is going on with your money, on a monthly basis? Are you paying off old bills, are you spending money on subscriptions you’ve signed on months or years before – magazines, gyms, clubs? Once you figure out where your money is heading, cut all the processed carbs. (I say carbs, and not fat, because fat is good, and empty carbs are “bad”). What can you immediately delete from your monthly spending?
Extras. We all have things that come up last minute, and we feel we must IMMEDIATELY put our money out there and buy this and that. Maybe it’s school pictures, maybe it’s birthday parties for children your children don’t know well, maybe it’s really truly legitimate expenses, maybe it’s anniversaries, and holidays, maybe it’s once in a lifetime events or occasions – whatever it may be. Can you figure out how to spend less, and simplify those extras? We don’t buy school pictures, and I’ve shared that in the past. As much as I love my three humans, and as cute as they are, the packages that the pictures offer are just not in my budget. They will officially never be in my budget. If we have invites to parties, and we do not know the friends very well, we respectfully decline the invitation. It’s not personal, it’s just life changing. Because we live in Fl, and because we live 25 min from the beach, I don’t see an official “vacation” in our future. Not because I don’t find them to be awesome and relaxin’ but because at this point in our financial life, and at this point in our families’ tenure – it would be more stress to head out on a “vacation” with three kiddos. So we’re staying put and vacationing from home.
Do you really need, all that you have? Maybe you have more than one home, or more than two cars? Or more than one phone. Or many cats in one hat? Can you cut out the big guys – can you decrease your living expenses, your cars, your phones, your entertainment, your eating out? What DRASTIC changes can you make, to simplify your financial life?
Maybe it’s Target that gets you, or Whole Foods, or that lottery ticket every day? Where are you constantly putting out your cash, or credit, and coming home realizing that there was absolutely nothing needed.
One of the hardest parts of clearing up and simplifying our financial life is taking full responsibility for our current state. It is much easier to say that life is really expensive, and so many things have happened, and kids need more as they grow, and major drastic life change and expensive things happened. But it’s really important to accept that whatever your current state, is 100% your responsibility and in your control going forward. I know this sucks, especially if divorce is involved, especially if medical problems and bills are present, especially if the economy is to blame, especially if work is hot and cold. I know, I get it. There are so many legitimate, real, raw, life issues, problems, challenges, obstacles that are true and honest and present for many people. It’s not always our fault, and sometimes life hands us a bag of dead lemons. But, to move forward, we must accept what is, so that we CAN move forward, and create an immediate better, and simple financial future. If we spend more than the time we’re due blaming others and things, and life and events for financial mishaps, then we’re stuck. And who loves living stuck? It’s no good for anyone. We do best, when we’re free.
What can you do right now, to simplify your life? If this means you have to break some commitments you’ve made to the cable company, or to future plans, go for it. I know it’s never ever fun taking steps BACKWARDS, but they are necessary to keep moving forward, stronger.
It’s not fair. It’s really unfair that some people are born without parents who love them, without support, without anyone letting them know about the importance of education. It’s not fair that some beautiful humans are abused, and mistreated and grow up feeling unloved. It’s unfair that some have been given nothing but debt, or disease, or guilt and are then tasked to move on. It’s unfair we live in a world that has bias and prejudice, and unfair that things that should not matter – decide our pay and income. We do live in an unfair world, and I recognize that many people are blessed with so much more than other people. Yet, we can still do better for ourselves, even while accepting this fact. To mitigate this unfairness, we must continue to educate our minds so we always and forever have the stamina and endurance to do well by ourselves. We must look at our financial states, and know we deserve to grow them stronger, even among the baggage that surrounds us, baggage that we may have been given, or garbage that has been thrown at us. We must know that regardless of the pain many feel, we can RISE UP, and do better for ourselves and the ones that look up to us.
Change your habits. Habits, routines, rituals are tough to change. They are, and I totally get it. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is falling apart when we don’t do something exactly the exact same way as we always did before. We also may feel that if we don’t do something for our children that it will ruin them forever. Perhaps its a brand new book-bag, or brand new amazing shoes, or endless amounts of sports sign ups. It can get pretty scary to think about NOT doing something that you’ve always done before. How can it be, that all of the sudden, I’m actually RETURNING to the store things I do not need, instead of purchasing more? How can it be that I’m NOT signing up my daughter for dance school with three different recital outfits and photos to buy, instead of the opposite? Because it’s time to change your life, and save your future. Change your habits, and recognize that by SIMPLIFYING we are doing more for ourselves. It’s hard to imagine NOT throwing a big birthday party for our friends and our children and our spouses, but the day will pass, and life will go on without a stack of bills you want to shovel deep in the grass.
We are in control. Even when it feels we aren’t. Even when it doesn’t make sense. Even if you never ever imagined not having or not going without something. You can do it. We can do it. It must get done, if you want to build a better life, and a more peaceful present and future. It is a big deal to change little things, and turn change into more.
Cheers, Savers! Get strong, be strong, get wise, live wise.