Here’s a secret: I used to think that budgeting was just for people without money. Really. I thought that if you paid attention to how much money you were spending and where, that was a sure sign that you did NOT have enough and something was wrong with you.
After Handel coaching, that way of thinking is pretty funny to me! But admitting it really helped me to see that I had a ways to go to get to my real money dream.
When I started coaching, I had a great job with an impressive salary. Yet I often wondered what I was doing with my money. I wasn’t necessarily worrying about it, but I sort of felt like I didn’t have anything to show for it either.
This is what can happen when you are living in “default mode.” I was “just living”– read, with little direction. So it really was no surprise that I didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything with my money.
In coaching, we have you start with articulating your dream for any area of your life. When you work on your dream, you start to see your goal line. And when you have your goal line, you can make a plan to get there. It sounds pretty simple, but it can have a tremendous impact on how you feel. Doing this gets you out of that “default mode” and into deliberately creating experiences that have a purpose.
For me and money, this was about coming up with a dream for what I wanted my money to look like. I tuned in to the fact that I had a dream about what kind of house I wanted to own, where I wanted to vacation, and how I wanted to feel about my savings, among other things. That forced me to come up with a plan for how much I wanted to make in my job (even amidst a job change!), to save for retirement, to spend on debt, to give away to charity and to spend at Starbucks (you get the picture, right?). Hmmmm… this was sounding more and more like a budget – you know, those things I avoided because they were for the people without money? By the way, I still don’t really love that word budget – I actually prefer “my money design.”
With my dream in hand, I can now design how I spend my money on the things that are lined up with what I ultimately want: my dreams. So, it’s not that I never get my lattes, instead it’s that I’m tuned in to what making that choice means in the big picture for me. It becomes really easy to say “no” to something when I know that it means I”m saying “yes” to something bigger. For example, I might pass on dinner out on a Tuesday, because I know that I”m just four Tuesday dinners away from that weekend get-away, or paying off that debt, or that new purse, or repainting my bedroom.
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And what happens next is always fun: as you begin to deliberately design and attain your dreams at any level, you begin to push pass your own limitations and dream even bigger. For example, my current money dream now includes having my own foundation to give away money, a second home in the mountains (I do live in Texas and summers get HOT here!), and a new addition to that house we bought five years ago.
Now I believe that the smartest (and richest!) people are those who have budgets and know exactly where they are spending their money. Because I know that those people are prioritizing and deliberately getting what they most need and want!
Are your spending habits lined up with your big money dreams? If not, I challenge you to take time to map out your dream, then work to get your spending, saving and investments lined up with that dream. I promise it will be a RICH and rewarding experience.