People don’t just wake up, one day, itching to try out this whole budgeting thing—I mean, if only they did! (Imagine a world full of financially stable, happy people. Talk about winning!)
- How to feed a family of five on one, not-so-big income, and pay off ginormous medical bills.
- How to get by on a much lower salary in order to pursue a dream job (and escape a not-quite-fulfilling daily grind).
- How to make retirement possible (and comfortable)—when you’re already in your fifties, and you’re only just beginning to learn how to manage your money!
- And, often, how to break free from the stranglehold of big, like six-figure big, debt.
No small potatoes, right? These are the stories of people who reached a tipping point. They had to find a new way, or accept that misery and struggle was the new norm. Flash-forward to the ending, and you’ll see that each of these stories ends with life-changing success.
Now It’s Your Turn
What If You Erased Your Debt?
So, think about that. Imagine being debt-free—as in, what if, instead of scraping together the minimum payments for your debt each month, you got aggressive and just paid them off? If you’re like most of us, you avoid looking at the interest payments, but they’re real (promise). And you can avoid paying thousands of dollars in interest, but only if you get strategic and really go for it.
What If You Felt Financially Empowered?
If debt isn’t your problem (great job), then maybe it’s that your life just doesn’t fit quite right. It could be that you have no savings, and you feel like you’re fated to work until your last breath. Or, in my opinion, worse: you feel trapped by a job with a fine salary, but it’s slowly killing your soul, sanity and overall wellness.
What If You Took Your Life to a Whole New Level?
Or, maybe, you’re doing pretty good, financially speaking. You’ve got savings in case of emergency, no debt and things are humming along. This is an interesting one. There’s a quote by Jim Collins:
“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great … Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”
If you’re doing good, you might be A-OK. I mean it. I’m all for feeling satisfied and grateful for what you have and making it a point to enjoy life. But, if you dig deep and face your truest desires, is there something big waiting for you to bring it to reality? A business, a move, a great contribution to a cause that inspires you?
For example, there’s a family that I know. They owned a little piece of land in Hawaii where they raised their two children. These people are warm, friendly and exceptionally talented—they grew botanicals on their land and created an amazing, skincare line (and a gold-flake infused lip balm!). They created gorgeous, hand-crafted packaging for their products. They were surrounded by beloved neighbors. They lived in freaking Hawaii, people! Life. Was. Good.
… and, then, they dreamed bigger. Now, the grown children attend school in Germany and London. The parents have relocated to France, where they’re shopping for a charming, very-very-very old fixer-upper. The wife will, once again—I’m sure—apply charming, gorgeous finishing details to every inch of the new space. Oh, and start an online thrifted very-very-very old French goods shop. And she looks forward to teaching in one of the rooms in the new estate. This family sees possibility in everything!
And these aren’t wealthy people, they’re just extremely intentional with their dollars. To my knowledge, they were never in danger of falling off of the financial edge, but my point is that they didn’t kick back in Hawaii and enjoy their good life … actually, they did, but they also dreamed, saved and upped the ante! All this to say:
Your Dream Life Won’t Discover Itself
So, at this point, hopefully your daydreaming machine has begun to whir with the excitement of possibility. No more debt! No more worry! No more waiting, desperately, for the next paycheck! It’s time to take control and live happily ever after.
Now, normally, at this point in the blog post, I’d tell you to go sign up for a free, 34-day trial of YNAB (and you absolutely should!). But there’s something else I think you should try, too. I’m 97 percent sure that I first heard about it from Tim Ferriss, during one of his many podcast interviews.
Here’s the drill:
Grab your favorite writing utensil and a notebook—you’ll want plenty of paper at your disposal, not just a single sheet. Without editing or judging yourself, imagine waking up in your dream life. What does your bedroom look like? Who’s there? What color are the sheets? Are they soft? How do you feel sitting up and starting your day? What does the floor feel like under your feet?
Consider every aspect of the entire day, right up to bedtime. What kind of work do you do in your dream life? What’s your health like? Where do you spend your time? Money isn’t an issue, so what occupies your thoughts? As the details come to you, just write them down. Capture silly details. Don’t hold back—seriously, write all of it down.
It sounds hokey, but this exercise is excellent for creating pause, and making you consider what you really want. Most of the time, we’re too caught up in meeting expectations or worrying about things we’d like to escape from to consider, in detail, what kind of life we’d enjoy. But you can’t make your dreams come true if you never stop to pay attention to them in the first place! Right? Plus, you’ll feel good.
Now, Capture That Feeling.
Imagine that you’ve achieved everything that you wrote down. If we published your story on YNAB’s blog, what would your headline be? Save it—save the entire story of your day. And read it whenever you’re lost for motivation.
OK, now go get that free trial. And budget your way to your dreams!