Today, I’m going to tackle that first topic in this Getting Real mini series. I’m going to take a look at financial freedom – a simple idea that will allow for investment and the ability to live out those big dreams.
What do I mean by that?
Getting real with your finances is one of the best things you can do and, transparently speaking, we have just not done that great of a job in recent years. We can chalk it up to all sorts of excuses but when it all boils down, we have the ability to do better and 2021 is going to be the year we really focus on it.
We want to dream big and do to that, we need to be out from under the stress of “money” and be able to do the things in our life that we want to do. We feel like this comes down to three general areas:
- Spend wisely and on only things you need and can afford
- Know your financial picture
Here are our steps:
Step 1: Set Some Goals
We spent some time thinking through our goals. What are they? When do we want to accomplish them? What are we willing to do to make them happen? Where should we focus our effort.
We outlined a few major goals (ones that are, frankly, a bit scary) that we are willing and able to put the work towards and set them in stone. For us, that was debt service and a refreshed idea of what we spend on money on.
Step 2: Dig Into Our Financial Picture
It became clear that we had not been very good “friends” with our financial picture. We were not doing a good job knowing the ins and outs of where our money was going or what it all meant. So, we made the commitment to really dig into our financial picture.
To do that, we enlisted the help of a personal money app called Monarch Money. It is simple and to the point which for me is key. We committed to spending time in it each day to organize and update ourselves and taking one day a week to take a deep dive into our personal “profit / loss” statement and plan for the week ahead.
There are so many personal money programs available ranging from free to crazy expensive. For me, this was all about a program I could understand as well as use day in and day out. This one felt right to me and we decided to just commit to it and turn that page. My suggestion is to find a program that works best FOR YOU and leave others to find their best fit.
Step 3: Evaluate Our Needs / Wants
Once we had a chance to SEE our financial picture on “paper” (and yes, we were surprised at what we found), we could really evaluate where our money was going and make some real choices. Some of those choices were things like where we buy food or how we could talk ourselves into “needs” when we were perfectly good without.
It gave us the chance to look at subscriptions we were paying and the desire to really start price shopping for meals and medical and other life things. Really, seeing what our dollars were turning into was a key part of this and without Step 2, we could never have committed to this in the first place.
Really evaluating our situation and picture was tough but asking those hard questions was the only way to really change. If we aren’t willing to put in the effort, we won’t ever see those results we want.
You know what they say: If you want the same results, don’t change a thing!
Step 4: Commit and Forget
We no longer have to worry about IF we are going to do this because we have already decided that we ARE going to do this. Now, we can forget about the goal and carry on. We have built this into our DNA for 2021.
We can cut out the noise. Believe in the plan and process. Know that the results will come.
Step 5: Celebrate the Progress
We are going to celebrate the progress as we see debt decrease and net worth increase. We are going to celebrate it by digging in deeper because nothing feels better than seeing positive change. We are going to work even harder (but smarter) than before in our business so help drive our personal financial health. It is all in line!
As we begin to make headway in all of this, we will be able to begin putting money where it can work for us. To create a bigger pile of “mailbox funds” and to take adventure to another level.. for us, our kids, and our future. The freedom is just around the corner and we can taste it.
This is going to be EXTREMELY hard. It is a “group” goal. One our entire family has to be 100% on board with EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s already hard and we know there are going to be highs and lows throughout this year. We keep asking ourselves the same thing though:
What is our goal??
What are we doing RIGHT THIS SECOND to achieve it?
I ask this to myself when I’m at the store about to buy something that is not on my list. I do this when I’m browsing the net or looking at bike gear. Every penny matters. What we spend it on matters. Our future matters.