What thoughts or emotions come to mind when you think about creating a budget? Frustrating? Horrible? Painful? I’d rather go to the dentist for a root canal? This used to be my mindset on budgeting so I completely understand every negative emotion that you feel. However, when I decided to change my financial future I knew that the key to this was a budget. In order to actually create a budget and follow through with it, I had to change how I viewed a budget and I’m here to tell you that you can too.
If you want to change your mindset on budgeting you first have to realize what a budget really does. It is not meant to be restrictive or remind you that there is never enough. What a budget really does is the opposite. A budget allows you to actually decide where it wants to go instead of wondering where it went! This is HUGE! A budget gives you control. A budget allows you to manage your money and ultimately fund dreams. I don’t know about you but I would much rather fund my dreams instead of going to the dentist for a root canal.
Instead of looking at a budget as a worthless process, start to think about what a budget can do for you. Write down your dreams. Do they cost money? How are you going to get that money? A budget. Once you start looking at a budget as a way to make your dreams a reality, any negative thoughts will become a thing of the past.
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Several years ago, before my bride and I had children, I took the time to build a radio control airplane from a really basic kit.
It took a LONG time because it was intricate work, but the work produced a really nice airplane with six foot wide wings that would fly really well.
Along came our daughter and time for the hobby disappeared as the necessities of building a career, completing my master’s degree, and life itself. The plane somehow made it through several moves without being totally destroyed.
Now that my son is running around everywhere, he is enchanted by the plane. He always wants to see the plane, touch the plane, fly the plane, fly on the plane, and sit in the plane (not possible – but he’s too young to determine that).
Recently, I pulled it off the shelf to see if I could get the motor to start. It did not. For literally three hours, I tried to fire the engine unsuccessfully. My son became bored and wandered off. He eventually went down for an afternoon nap, and then it suddenly started for me! There was only one issue – the throttle was stuck! There was no (safe) way to turn it off, so I literally held it until the fuel ran out.
When my son awakened, I told him that I had managed to fire it up so we needed to go outside. He lost his mind in excitement. We ran outside, and it would not start. NOTHING I tried worked. I eventually put the plane back up in the garage.
The next day, I woke up with aching legs and arms from attempting to start the stupid airplane (if you’ve ever experienced starting an RC airplane with a chicken stick, you know what I’m talking about). The stiffness helped me realize I had done about 400 squats and 2,000 reps of “chicken stick motions.”
There’s a financial lesson to be learned here. Many times, we will start off our financial journey with a dream, a budget, and detailed plan to accomplish it. Everything goes well as long as you continue to dream, budget and plan. But eventually, time can cause our enthusiasm for important things like budgeting and planning to wane.
So we stop.
We put away the tools.
Time passes. A lot of time passes, and one day we discover the need to utilize the tools again. But when we pull out the tools, we’re rusty. It doesn’t operate like it used to.
No matter how much effort we put into it, it just won’t seem to work anymore. You discover the “throttle is stuck” on an expense, and it is going to require some work to turn it off! You may not be able to get your spouse to participate.
It is for this reason my bride and I:
- Put together a budget EVERY MONTH – planning our spending BEFORE the month and the bills arrive. This is EVERY MONTH, not every now and then!
- Share our dreams with each other – and keep a list. This allows us to remind ourselves and each other WHY we are doing the discipline of planning and budgeting.
- Save money EVERY MONTH – we know we simply cannot prosper if we don’t save!
- Give money away EVERY MONTH – we truly believe we are blessed to bless others!
- Invest money EVERY MONTH – we can’t fund huge dreams without the assistance of compound interest!
Take a few minutes to think about the disciplines and practices you need to pull back out and start up again, and be sure to recognize that you are going to have a few “stuck throttles” and “misfires” as you get back in the groove of discipline.
In the meantime, I’ll be out in the garage firing up my RC airplane.
I am passionate about helping people accomplish their dreams. It is the entire reason for my life’s passion statement: “To help people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible!” Most people have no idea of the real potential they possess. One reasons for this is because they have never taken the time to write down their dreams and challenge themselves to take the necessary actions to accomplish them.
Today, I want to try something new. I am asking you to take just a couple of minutes and share the dreams you have for the rest of your life. It is completely anonymous, so please be real and honest. I believe that if most of us were truly open and honest, we all have at least one HUGE DREAM that we have never dared tell anyone for fear of what others might say.
Would you please share your dreams with me?
Do you have a plan for your life? I know you have dreams for your life so let me be more clear. Do you have a WRITTEN plan for your life?
Something amazing happens when you take pen in hand and write out your plans! When you write them down, there is a much greater chance your goals will be accomplished!
An old Chinese proverb shares, “The faintest ink is sharper and longer-lasting than the brightest mind.”
It is the truth. On many occasions, I have written my plans on paper and accomplished the goals. Sadly, I have had many more occasions where I did not take the time to write out my plans and rarely were those dreams accomplished.
We tend to get way too busy to continuously remind ourselves of our plans and dreams. We are busy running from the kid’s basketball game to go to church. We run from there to go to dinner with friends. From there we dash over to school for an event there. In the midst of all of this activity, we can lose sight of our future hopes/dreams/plans.
Maintaining a written dreams list will provide a constant reminder of “why” you are doing what you are doing right now.
Take the time right now to write out your plans, hopes, and dreams! The achievement of your hopes and dreams is at stake, so it is worth the time! Spend five minutes dreaming and writing right now. It could change your life forever.
You may have wondered why there was silence on the blog for most of the past week. It was because I was able to take my family on an incredible beach vacation!
I am overwhelmed at how blessed I really am that I am able to take such a tremendous vacation – and to do it without debt.
I just want to share a picture of my wife walking with our son along the beach early in the morning and to share a few things that I love about taking “paid-for-in-advance” vacations.
- The beach is my bride’s favorite place to be
- Watching my kids play in the surf and sun
- Seeing an 8 foot shark, dolphins, alligators, and sting rays
- No bites from all animals mentioned in #3!
- No debt followed me home
- Able to totally enjoy the trip – knowing we saved for it!
- Total relaxation knowing that we funded a dream – and lived the dream!
- Able to negotiate a better deal because we had to plan early to save for this trip!
- I arrived home FIRED UP and CREATIVELY RENEWED!
- My bride is happy!