After years of watching the Food Network and witnessing chefs creating their masterpieces without much measurement, I know all to well that I can become overly confident with my own culinary abilities. Time and time again, when I try to cook a great dish or desert WITHOUT following a recipe, MY finished product usually turns out to be something the neighbors dog wouldn’t want to eat. However, when I take the time to follow a recipe step by step, I can serve up something that people think was delivered by the top caterer in our area.
I find that the same is true when I help people figure out and design their plans to pay off debt so they can obtain financial freedom/peace. It takes a specific recipe to get the best results. THIS I’M GOOD AT!
The recipe that I find most useful to get there includes these 5 KEY Ingredients:
- Simplifying your Life
- Eliminating Your Debt
For this week, let’s look at the first ingredient in some detail:
In your personal life, this means reviewing your current ‘reality’ and taking steps to minimize your monthly output by removing things that are hindering your progress or that just need to change because they are weighing it down. For example: Do you have a gym membership that you are paying for and yet you haven’t seen the walls inside for 3 months or more? Are the kids involved in sports, music lessons, etc (many today are involved in ‘multiples’) and have you calculated the annual cost of their extra curricular activities: Uniforms/Costumes, Tournaments, Cleats/Dance Shoes. Recently, we found our monthly “eating out envelope” drained very quickly because my son joined a new one game a week “recreational soccer league”. The game times seem to have created a new “Hey, let’s just grab something after the match” habit for us. While the initial cost of the league may have only been $85 for 8 weeks–add in the new cleats $120 (this is an indoor league and his foot grew AGAIN from last year), a $10 shirt, gas to/from and now the eating out, this ONE addition to our ‘normal’ plan could bust our budget by $1000 over 8 weeks. What was I thinking! Even a budget coach can get tripped up by these ‘extras’ people! In this case my ‘simplify our lives rule of ‘one sport at a time’ backfired as an ‘in between’ sports sessions league appeared. Has this happened to you?
When we look very closely, we tend to see areas more clearly that are screwing up our recipe towards financial freedom. Here’s a few more:
Are you buying brand new cars every few years? Are you tackling monthly car payments that are almost equal your monthly housing expenses?
Are you eating out so much that the waitresses know what you want to drink as soon as you enter the front door?
Do you have constant ‘store rewards’ showing up in your mailbox because you are a frequent shopper?
Are your closets full of three different sizes and clothes you haven’t worn in a year? (Mine were!)
Do you have ‘too much’ house? If the kids are grown and gone, have you been talking about downsizing but haven’t pulled the trigger.
Truly look at what YOU CAN change.
Sell some stuff! Downsize! Settle the kids schedules (and yours) and discuss whether they really need to be ‘SO active’ that they can’t remember how to rest.
Study after study shows a life with LESS stuff (And LESS DEBT) tends to become a life with more freedom, more meaning and more time to spend enjoying what’s truly important.