Financial Freedom and Living Your Dreams

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to my friends and associates use the “lack of money” excuse for the reason they can’t do something.  I can’t go on vacation this year because I don’t have money.  I can’t take night classes to secure a degree and get a better job because I don’t have money.  I cannot start up my own business because I don’t have money.  The plain and simple truth is that you do have money.  If you have a job then you have money.  And unless you are busy 24 hours per day, you have available time to make more money!  There have been millions of successful people that started from nothing, zilch, nada.  Maybe it’s time to look it things a little closer.

People get a little touchy when you start to look at their financial situation; kind of feels like being exposed and vulnerable.  But if your finances are out of control, you will most likely never see your dreams realized.  At one point in my life I was terrible with money.  I had expendable income and often would run out of cash before the next paycheck.  And I used not making enough money as an excuse often.  But here’s what I learned and how I changed my habits.  I looked at all my expenditures and decided what was more important; achieving my goal or financial freedom? Achieving my goals or paying $150 per month to watch 574 channels of worthless television?  Achieving my goals or paying $55 per month to the gym?  Achieving my goals or eating out 4-5 times per month?  Achieving my goals or going out with friends and running up bar tabs?  Get my point?  See there are two ways to create more income in any economic situation: increase your bottom line.  Spend less and make more.  So what I did was stop going out and got a part-time job at night.  This immediately cut my spending and increased my income.

I realized that I could run at the park for free or could buy a few weights off of Craigslist for next to nothing.  Watching lots of television is counterproductive so I eliminated my $150 cable bill.  (We still don’t have cable and do not miss it thanks to streaming!)  Once I started buying more groceries and eliminate eating out I saved about $200 per month.  You see what I’m getting to.  I had cut about $500 off of my monthly bills very quickly and easily.  Add to that the income from my 2-night per week part-time job and I had a net financial gain of about $900!!  Do you remember step 2 of the “laws” of the universe: determine what you are willing to sacrifice to reach your goal/live your dream?  Well, this is what I was referring to!  At some point you make the decision that enough is enough, stop making excuses and get your life in order!  You get all the credit or you get all of the blame for your personal success or lack there of.  The real issue comes down to how badly you want what you say you want.

I’ve listened to people talk and give lip service to all the things they want to accomplish, but watch as they live their lives in a way that directly opposes success.  Wasting time every day watching television instead of researching and figuring out how to accomplish goals and developing a plan.  Spending irresponsibly versus buckling down for 36 months and paying off credit card debt.  Wasting time in the evenings instead of going back to school to better their education.  Surrounding themselves with unproductive people versus shouldering up with those that have achieved more and can provide mentoring.  All of these things don’t just happen by chance, but happen because you design your life in a way to get the most out of it!

The bottom line is this: I bet if you sat down and decided you had to cut $200-$500 off of your monthly spending, you could easily find it.   Starbucks, cable, gym memberships, shopping at department stores versus Marshalls, buying name brand groceries versus Aldi, getting out of a car payment and drive a slightly older vehicle, etc.  There are ways to make it happen, but is it really that important to you?  Will you put action behind your desire?  Or is your desire more wishful thinking?

I want you to audit your spending over the next month by keeping all receipts for all spending.  Then categorize them in to two groups: necessities and luxuries.  Necessities are fuel, insurance, groceries, haircuts, utilities, etc.  Luxuries are car payments, gourmet coffee, eating out, going to the movies, shopping at high-end stores (clothing and grocery!), etc.  Anyway,  take that total and then eliminate most, if not all, of the luxuries.  Remember, this isn’t a forever situation, but sacrifices must be made in order to succeed.  And the bigger the dream, the bigger the sacrifice!  Mark Cuban lived for several years on mustard and ketchup sandwiches, slept on the floor of an apartment he shared with 5 other guys and lived on Ramen Noodles a few days a week just to scrimp and save every dollar he could to see his dream come to fruition.  Are you willing to go without cable for 3 years to pay off credit cards?  Are you willing to downgrade your vehicle?  Are you willing to stop eating out?  If you take action today, you will thank me in one year!

Till next time…dream big, dream often!


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