Why is it we fight the middle of the road? Because it’s never been a popular place to be. The slow and steady.
It’s considered a safe place. No guts, no glory. A place without stance. Not wrong or right, not black or white, just a very boring shade of grey.
We see it every day. If he is right, then someone else has to be wrong.
I find the same is true of budgeting or saving money. People are one way or another. They spend and feel guilty at any level or they save and are frugal to the point of nosebleeds.
Why can’t there be a middle of the road. Because we are conditioned to be this way. It’s all or nothing.
Because any other way is considered doing it half way, or the failing way.
If you could get your act together? What is it you would really save up for? Trip, paying off your house, retiring early, living on less, or just simply living better for you and your family?
Now why do you not do it? I’ll tell you why.
Because you see it as an insurmountable mountain and you don’t know where to start.
You have tried before and failed when something came up and all your hard work went away.
You simply don’t think you can right now.
You have but one income and just can’t make anything happen.
All these are right and they are wrong too, because for every situation there is always a solution.
How do you climb a mountain? Well first you have to start walking in the direction of the mountain. See most people just take a look at the top and get overwhelmed when there is no need. You always start at the bottom and most times, it’s not as steep as it looks. There are plateaus and vegetation and flowers and greenery. It’s quite beautiful, but you can’t see it because you are looking at it from a distance and can’t quite make anything out except for the vastness of the mountain, so you turn away without trying.
So start walking up and see what happens, and deal with the steep rocks when they come because I can guarantee that you can come up with a solution way before you get to the rock. You will probably see it coming a mile away and have time to come up with a strategy on how to climb it. And you can even prepare for the steep inclines since you know there will be some.
What if you have but one income? Then get yourself another. I don’t even mean work another job (although you could do that too), I mean get a roommate. Rent a bigger apartment for a little more and split the rent (still a savings) or live with someone who doesn’t mind sharing the space you have. Split the cost. Get another income. Screen the people, set up boundaries…etc… There is always a solution. Are you willing to do it? Or is it just easier to make excuses and live in the right or wrong, the black and white?
What about if you have tried and failed? What did you do to get it done? Did you cut everything out and sacrifice everything to try to get it done faster, without a real plan. And then the car broke down and you needed medicine or a dentist or new shoes for the kids and the $500 you put in your credit card needed to be taken out again and you just gave up. What if I told you all you needed was a plan. To organize yourself.
What if it was much easier than that while still getting results? What if you were smarter with your money so it worked even harder for you than it already is while easing your financial burden?
People always start with trying to pay off debt (Revolving Credit), but they really need to start with all the stuff they are paying like monthly expenses.
What are you paying every month to live? Probably too much.
You need to revise all you are paying and see if you can get a better price, rate, plan. There are so many options out there for services or how to replace services or even out right get rid of them. How much food are you wasting in your fridge? Could you plan smarter, shop elsewhere?
Are you stopping yourself from saving out of fear of the unknown or the familiar? Are you keeping your cable because you are afraid that the other choices won’t add up? Are you too lazy and don’t want the inconvenience?
Start small. Here is an example: Get a TV Box and Android Box. Familiarize yourself with it while you keep your cable. Then try to live just watching that box for a week, two weeks more without using your cable. It’s still there, but set yourself up a challenge to not use it, try to find alternatives. See how it feels to live without it. When you are comfortable, take the plunge and cancel your cable subscription. I actually ordered an HDTV antenna to make sure I still could watch TV if the internet died. That was the comfort zone for me. See the small steps it took to get you/me there. When you start saving almost $100 a month from cable or satellite, you will then leave it in the account. Not spend it. You will let all your savings from all other expenses you revise and get and let them accumulate until you have a nice little padding in your account or some call it an emergency fund (here is where you are organized and have planned for the steep incline or rocks you may encounter). Decide the amount you are comfortable with, I think $1000 is good start because things tend to add up quickly especially if there is more than yourself. Only use it to get you out of a jam and replace it as fast as you can.
Then go about putting any other amount you are able to save monthly from your bills, onto your debt. And chip away at it. Chip until you get rid of one then two and take the money you no longer pay on those and chip at the others (this is where you get your forward momentum or what they like to call domino effect).
You can maintain everything else. Do NOT spend the money you have saved on more crap. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop having Thursday night eating out if you have always done that. You don’t need to spend less if you don’t want to, but certainly don’t spend more.
If you want to do some bigger stuff, take a bit of that money and put it in another account. This is a sinking fund. This is how we went to Montreal last weekend. I saved $1000 and spent it guilt free and had a wonderful weekend and our schedule for repayment of bills did not get touched.
I have seen many preach that you cannot do anything while getting out of debt. And yes, it might not be a great idea to spend thousands of dollars to go to a Mediterranean Island (unless they have great deals that you can use your sinking fund money on), but you can save up for what I call ‘Sanity Breaks’.
A person can only starve so long before they walk in somewhere and suddenly gorge themselves silly, making things worse. This is what I don’t believe in. When a change becomes a sacrifice, then that change is no fun and no fun for any amount of time will not last. Plain and simple. So find the middle. The thing that you can say. This ain’t so bad! I can do this, or wow, this is not a sacrifice at all and I can do this no problem. Then you have a change that you can live with. Something that both helps you and keeps you satisfied, and if you don’t like something, don’t give up. Look for another solution. There is no one thing for everything. No one magical answer. If I have learned anything is that there is much more out there. More than black and white. And sometimes, it’s actually better!
The biggest part of this whole process would be, stop living like you are starving for more. Stop buying more than you need. Live and be happy with the things you have. Use them and enjoy them to the fullest. And when you do make a purchase, make sure it will meet all the criteria that are important to you. Don’t make terrible choices by what has been told you to do or dictated over the years. You can live with less and enjoy it a lot more than if it was the other way around.
And you don’t have to pay to find ways to do things better. If anyone knows this, it’s me. My blog and Channel offers a ton of ideas and they are all free to read and watch. And if you look around, you will see I am not the only one doing this. People love to brag about what free stuff they get and how to get it yourself.
So start with that first step…Don’t worry about the height or width of that mountain or what it looks like miles away. All journeys start with that first step. Just put one foot in front of the other and see where you get to.