I’ve been on a self-reflection kick over the past few months. Trying to figure out what makes me tick when it comes to money. During this process of self-reflection, I have realized many things about myself. Don’t worry. I won’t bore you with all of the details of my self-discovery right now! But, I made one critical observation that I want to discuss with you today. Are you ready for it?
Ok here goes…I am a future-oriented person. As far back as I can remember I’ve had a plan. A 5-year plan. A 10-year plan. Always focused on the future.
Plans and goals are great. In fact, in most cases, being future-oriented has served me extremely well. It has helped me to achieve many of my financial, personal, and career goals. As Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”.
Because of my orientation towards the future, I have developed a characteristic that has helped me excel at paying off debt and master the art of budgeting. It has enhanced my ability to embrace delayed gratification.
Delayed gratification is the ability to put off something mildly fun or pleasurable now, in order to gain something that is more pleasurable or rewarding later. Delayed gratification is a great virtue to possess while getting out of debt. In the beginning, it can be a struggle to pass on purchasing the designer handbag that you’ve been lusting after and instead, use that $300 to make an extra student loan payment. But it gets easier. Practice makes perfect. So what’s the problem? This all sounds like good stuff! Well, for me, I can sometimes take things too far. I tend to get tunnel-vision.
Future-oriented people run the risk of being:
- Extremely anxious about the future.
- Overly focused on tomorrow and forgetting to enjoy today.
- Hypervigilant and controlling with money
- Chronic underspenders
I’ve experienced all five of these at one point in time or another… working ridiculous amounts of hours, pushing myself to the point of exhaustion to hoard cash, nitpicking about a tiny expenditure that wasn’t accounted for in the budget.
I’ve made myself, and my family, miserable at times, because I chose to focus all of my energies on being prepared and financially fit for the future instead of being an active participant in my life TODAY.
No more. There will always be opportunities to earn money, but you only get ONE life.I’m determined to enjoy the view along the way to achieving financial freedom. And I want you to do the same. Are you enjoying the view along the way? Or is your financial journey a drag, a pain, or a hassle?
There is no need for us to be miserable as we pay off debt and work towards achieving other financial goals. We have to enjoy ride! Enjoy the process. Enjoy the journey. Tomorrow is not promised so remember to enjoy life while you plan for the future.
7 Ways to ‘enjoy the view’ along the way
1. Figure out your ‘why‘.
The journey is much more enjoyable and meaningful when you have a compelling ‘financial why’.
2. Have non-negotiables.
There are some things that you just might not be willing to give up even as you embrace budgeting. And that is ok! Some things are just sacred. For me, it’s name-brand cereal and those ridiculously expensive (but delicious) store-bought smoothies. The homemade ones never taste the same!
For you, it might be coffee or your gym membership. Whatever it is, continue to enjoy some of your favorite things as you get out of debt.
3. Experience life and travel.
My husband and I get immense value out of traveling. It’s one of our favorite things to do. So, we continued to travel while we paid off debt. Controversial move in some debt-free circles! Creating a sinking fund can help you save cash money incrementally throughout the year so that you can travel without reaching for a credit card.
4. Budget for fun.
Elizabeth Warren says, “If you can’t afford fun, you can’t afford your life”. In essence, if things are SO tight in your budget that you don’t ever have money for fun stuff, ‘just because’ stuff, then something is wrong. Now there are some instances when you may need a scorched earth budget and eat rice and beans but hopefully, that is only for a brief period of time.
5. Enjoy free time with family.
It can be tempting to work a ton of overtime in order to pay down debt faster. I am the queen of side hustling so I know the feeling all too well! There is nothing wrong with hard-work. However, don’t forget that time is our most limited commodity. You cannot get time back with your spouse, kids, and other loved ones once its gone. I don’t know too many people who get to the end of their lives and say to themselves, I wish that I had worked more!
6. Make time for self-care.
Keep it simple. Self-care does not require a lot of money. I have an entire nail polish collection that I have neglected for so long! But, the other day, while my husband took care of the kids, I gave myself a DIY mani and pedi and enjoyed every minute of it.
7. Celebrate your wins.
Don’t obsess and stress your way to the finish line. Celebrate your smaller wins and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.
How will you enjoy the view along the way to financial freedom?