Do you have a dream you wish you could afford? Is it to own your own home? A vacation home in another in another country? Start your own business? Take early retirement? What if I told you that you can afford your dream?
What you may or may not know is that I have been in the financial field for 20 years and still run my insurance consulting firm, Lewin & Gavino. I started Tasting Wellness a couple of years ago because I knew that our relationship to money was just one piece of the puzzle to a balanced and happy life.
So how can you afford the dream you’ve been longing for? The answer is by setting a budget and sticking to it. Your dream has to be more important to you than your daily two cups of designer coffee or the newest “it” bag. I know how tempting those purchases can be, believe me, I was once in your “shoes.” One day, I was reflecting on how much money I had earned over a 10 year period and realized that I had spent a good portion of it on frivolous things I couldn’t account for and it made me sad. By now I could achieved my dream of owning a vacation home in Hawaii.
Budgeting is an important tool used to curtail the small expenditures and to allocate money for the things that are considered to be “needs,” and not “wants.” Needs are the things that are necessities to life such as the roof over your head, the clothing on your back, the food to nourish your body. Wants are things you desire but do not need to survive. The 3,000 square foot home is desirable but you could live comfortably in a nice cozy apartment. The 100th pair of shoes is great but not needed. I am sure you understand the concept.
Despite what you may think of when you hear the word budget, budgeting is a great way to help you see where your hard earned money is going and to make the adjustments necessary to reach your financial goals. A sample budget would list your total monthly household income minus all the expenses broken into monthly installments (i.e. rent, mortgage, auto insurance, food, childcare, tuition, school loans, utilities, clothing, and personal care).
There are three principles to budgeting:
- Write down a goal or a dream and post it on your Vision Board (visit subheading of vision boards in Chapter 1: Self Care/Inner Joy of my book, Balanced Life Happy Life.) Perhaps you have dreamt about owning a second home or saving $1,000,000 for retirement.
- Write out your monthly budget. When you can account for every $1 spent, you are better able achieve your dreams.
- Stick to the budget you have set for yourself and for your family.
A great tip to rein in spending is the use of envelopes. Mark each envelope with a category. Every month, insert cash in the monthly amount that has been allocated for that specific category. Let’s assume you have a designated envelope for Happy Hours which contains $200 cash. Knowing that there is $200 in that envelope may make you think twice about that third cocktail or will motivate you to find less expensive options for a night out with friends.
Another tool is a pocket notebook or a mobile expense app. There are numerous budgeting software and apps available today. Sign up at www.tastingwellness.com to be notified when my app becomes available.
My aunt has a little pocket notebook in which she records every expense made each day. If she purchases a pack of gum she records it. Her commitment to her goals is astonishing. Keeping a record of her purchases made her more mindful. She and my uncle had a goal of owning a home in wine country. While they enjoyed life to the fullest during their working years, they saved enough to purchase a home in their desired location and to renovate the place over the years. Now they split their time between their country home and their apartment in the city. They travel regularly and have the financial freedom they dreamt about.
With a budget and plan, you, too, can realize your dreams.
If you want to learn about the steps I took to finding inner peace and happiness, and to help find the happiness locked inside of you, get your copy of Balanced Life Happy Life (Balboa Press, 2015) today at www.tastingwellness.com/my-book. Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.