This is Part 2 of my “Having it All” series. The first part is “Step One to Having it All”
Everyone has a different definition of Having it All. In the first article, I asked you to list a few goals based on what you want out of life. Now, I want you to pick one for this exercise.
Living Debt Free with Enough Money for Expenses
That’s part of the “Having It All” dream for many people, so I’ll use it to illustrate how to start small and take action steps towards your goals.
As an example, I am going to use “Save $20 per week to build $1,000 in emergency savings in 1 year.” See how specific this goal is? That lets you check your progress and feel good about your success.
It’s also a good example of starting small. It may not seem like much, but $1,000 can cover a leaky roof or a brake repair. The less often you use your credit cards, the more your savings accounts will grow. One thousand in emergency savings is a good base for building the “debt-free” dream.
Now let’s break down the goal into action steps by first asking a simple question…
Do you have $20 a week to save?
If the answer is Yes…
Step 1. Set up a separate savings account in a different bank or credit union than the one you normally use. This way you won’t have easy access and it won’t be linked to your ATM/debit card.
Step 2. Visit your HR department to set up an automatic transfer from your paycheck, or, visit your bank to have $20 per week transferred from your checking account to your new savings account, or if you do online banking you can set this up yourself.
If the answer is No…
Step 1. Reduce expenses until you can save $20 per week.* (I’ll write more on this below.) Can you bring your lunch to work? Can you cut out the impulsive shopping? Think of how you can reduce your spending to come up with the $20.
Step 2. Return to the top and take Steps 1 and 2 above.
Step 3. Tracking and celebrating your success
I want you to check in on your progress throughout the year. Are you on track to meet your goal or did something happen to throw you off? We all want to be perfect, but that’s not real life. Things happen that get in our way. You have to understand this and get back on track as soon as possible to achieve your goal.
Keeping track also allows you to celebrate and feel good about what you’re doing. This is your baby that you’re nurturing – your future, your wealth, and the beginning of your dream life.
*Just a note about personal austerity measures. “What…” you might ask, “…does giving up eating out and impulse shopping have to do with having it all!? That’s my dream lifestyle!”
First, I’ll have you know that a lot of millionaires are pretty tight fisted. They spend their money selectively instead of blowing it on any old thing that comes along. So, I challenge you to think like a millionaire.
Second, many successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Julia Childs, Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey started with small budgets. They built their fortunes by working hard and investing their money back into their businesses, making a little bit go a long, long way. They had the discipline to put off luxury living until after they had money.
Third, cutting back doesn’t mean living unhappily. Take joy in building your dream life from the ground up.
I used saving money as an example. I challenge you to break down one of your goals into simple action steps. Let me know what you’re working on and join the discussion.