I have just returned from the incredible island of Hilton Head in South Carolina. My suitcase is sitting in the living room & I still smell of the beach. I'm not so quick to unpack just yet. I usually welcome a seamless return home, with an immediate load of laundry tumbling & a freshening post-flight shower. But this evening, I was exceptionally excited to drop my bags at the door & write a new blog post before anything else! I have so much information for you all that I spent every airport second brainstorming a list of topics to write & share. And I even took it to snapchat & asked you all what type of advice you're seeking. Thanks for everyone's engagement!
So, most of you were interested in knowing how to better fund the adventure you dream of. I'll start by saying that you must be aware of how you're spending your money. It's easiest to answer these questions based on a monthly income accrual (which then can be calculated to a yearly expense overview):
What percentage of your income is spent to cover living costs (shelter, water bill, electric/gas, etc)?
What percentage of your income is spent on food (groceries, dining out, coffee, happy hours, etc)?
What percentage of your income goes to monthly bills (cell phone, credit card, car payment, insurance, student loan, etc)?
What percentage of your income is tied to an automatic monthly charge (like an online account or subscription, monthly memberships, etc)
What percentage of your income is allotted for savings?
***If you aren't great at math or being organized, the CoinKeeper app is useful. My fiancé uses it for budgeting. It generates charts, graphs and highlights excess expenses.***
The questions to consider do not end here, but the most important thing is understanding how & where you spend money. If your money is going towards things & activities that do not support your goals, then you may want to refocus your energy. The best way to shift a deeply embedded way of thinking (i.e. "I will always have debt") is to write down your goals, even if you don't believe them yet! I wrote about this in my post last week. Every single morning, I take 2 minutes and write down what's important to me. This exercise is as vital as eating breakfast or drinking water. At first, I was embarrassed to share my goals on paper with myself. They became real & I couldn't ignore my purpose anymore. I felt they were too colossal & I wasn't good enough to achieve them. But the more I saw them written down, the more comfortable I became with my own greatness & my actions began to align with what I wrote. I was able to shift my energy & focus on the life I wanted. Before, I was "living a script" & expecting to pay just the minimums on my never-ending monthly bills. I lived with a lot of fear and doubt in myself. This technique of repetition is so powerful, for it reminded me of my goals every single morning. I began my day super focused & sharp with intention. Your life is a sum total of your mindset & past decisions. Where you are today, is where your thoughts were yesterday, last week, last year. I encourage you to think beyond your current situation! What do you really want? Quit thinking about your obstacles, but moreover set goals beyond them. If you feed thoughts of fear & doubt & debt & struggle, then that's what your life will be.
Here's another question for you:
- Does more money flow out of your account, then in?
The absolute best way to "make more money" is to spend less. I am a big fan of the saying "work smarter, not harder." I do not believe that humans are meant to work 40+ hour work weeks for systems that encourage more consumerism & more debt. We experience a tsunami of ads daily and our spending habits are tracked & used for data to provoke our next purchase. The odds seem stacked against us. But, instead of working harder to buy more, spend less & have more freedom with your time. My life changed when I came across this Ted Talk.
Earlier this year, I was painting my bedroom & surfing Pinterest for decoration inspiration. I fully intended to purchase new furniture and buy things to hang on the walls. That same day, I strangely navigated to this ted talk video. As I finished painting the bedroom, I replayed it over & over again. Then I went to my basement & found 3 boxes full of home decor that I was keeping for when we moved into a bigger home. Wait… WHAT? I was about to shop for art and picture frames and a rug and a lamp and candles… when I already had boxes full of these things stored in my basement, which I was saving for a bigger place when we were ready to move! My life was put into perspective on that day. I had to eliminate the clutter, which was slowing my life down & keeping me from freedom. I mapped out a series of yard sales I would have throughout this summer & fall, then I sifted through my things to decide what I am happy without. I found that I have no attachment to the things that aren't affiliated with my daily goal list. I had actually detached from those things years ago, but since they were stored in boxes, I had forgotten about them. It was money just sitting in a box, in a basement, taking up space in my home that was slowly filling up. I even tossed old photos that no longer reflected my happiness. The money I am receiving from my yard sale series is savings for the honeymoon next year and immediate cash to pay towards the wedding as we book the details. My goal is to marry my Everyday Sweetie without debt accrual. Totally achievable.
I plan to write a follow-up financial post soon. I want to share how successful my yard sales were & the other steps I took to affording all the adventure in my life. If you have any advice you'd like to share with this community, please comment below or write me on twitter. I would so love to talk more about having the freedom to live without a script!
Now, go write down ridiculously huge goals on paper & watch magic happen. Oh, and quit buying shit. It won't make you any happier.