Is Debt Strangling the Life Out of Your Dreams?

I am not shocked that most people are relatively unsuccessful; money wise that is.  I do believe that any human being can accomplish what they desire if they have a mind to do so, but I don’t think the majority truly have burning desire.

I believe the majority of people go to school to get a job and if they make $50,000 per year combined with their soon-to-be spouses’ $50,000, they will be happy and live out their life working for “the man.”

After all, the average household income in the U.S. is $50,000, so compared to the average, your family would be sitting pretty.

credit-card-debt

image credit: stingyliving.blogspot.com

The problem with our society today is not that people cannot make enough money to live their dreams or work their dream job(s).  The issue is that most Americans have fallen for a great lie: credit is a necessity.

Credit can be evil.  It is a modern form of slavery for most.  It restricts you, it binds you, it ties you up and keeps you right where “the man” wants you: working your job to pay for stuff you couldn’t afford in the first place.

I want to paint 2 scenarios, then we will continue our discussion.

Scenario 1:

Jane and Jon get married with both partners making $35,000 per year. They have been responsible with their money, putting off the temptation of credit card debt.  One has a school loan the other does not.  They decide to rent an affordable, small apartment and drive dependable, yet slightly older model cars, with only 1 small car payment.

Each month, because of their responsible living, they are able to put $800 into their savings totaling nearly $10,000 per year.  They decide to live this lifestyle for 5 years and add all additional raises and bonuses to their savings account.

They have a small cable bill, basic utilities, one small car payment, car insurance, student loan payment, renter’s insurance, etc.  They eat out but not extravagantly and not too often.  They practice cooking and eating at home.

At the end of the 5 years they accrue a savings balance of over $60,000 including interest and have nearly eliminated the student loan.

They then use part of that money to buy their first home, but use restraint and buy a home slightly larger than their apartment, yet large enough to start a family.  Their mortgage is slightly higher than their rent, which was their plan so they could own a home AND continue to add to their savings.

They continue to add to their savings and at the end of 10 years they have made one extra mortgage payment every year for the 5 years and have a savings balance exceeding $80,000 due to raises and bonuses.  The extra mortgage payment has created an additional $20,000 in equity in their home.

They now have options because of their responsible living.  If either one wants to start a small business or one loses a job, they have savings to fund themselves.

 

Scenario 2:

Jane and Jon get married with both partners making $35,000 per year. They have been irresponsible with their money, giving in to the temptation of credit card debt.  One has a school loan the other does not. They decide to rent an apartment that is a little pricier than they planned, but Jane loved the layout so they went for it.  They both drive new cars, with 2 car payments.

Each month, because of their irresponsible living, they are unable to put money into savings.  They hope that once they get a raise next year or a bonus they can begin a savings account.

They have credit card bills, a student loan, full cable television service, basic utilities, 2 car payments, car insurance, renter’s insurance, etc.  They eat out regularly and rarely cook at home.

After a few years they decide to buy their first home.  As they did with their apartment they buy a home slightly larger than they planned, but rationalize the extra expense by believing they can make a few cuts here and there to offset the additional increase.  This purchase uses all of their small savings.

They continue to add  what they are able to their savings, but at the end of 10 years they only have a savings balance of $2,500 due to large property taxes and living expenses.  They also don’t have much equity in their home as they are not able to make the 13th extra payment each year.

They have limited options because of their irresponsible living.  Jon doesn’t sleep well at night constantly worried about money and dreams of the day he can tell his boss where to stick his miserable job.  He works constantly to make sure the bills are paid, meanwhile neglects his relationship with his wife and kids.

Jane loves her husband, but wishes he didn’t work so much and paid more attention to her and the children.  Her feelings of loneliness cause arguments with Jon when she tries to talk about it.

Both feel trapped.

 

My previous statement was “credit is an evil.”  And I believe that.  I don’t buy into the statement that a mortgage is a “good” debt.  Debt is debt.  And if someone can come and take “your” stuff due to failure to pay, then you own nothing; so don’t be fooled.

Most people fall for the trap of the credit mindset.  I want you to stop and think about credit and why it exists.  Credit is a system that allows people that cannot afford stuff they think they need, to have stuff they think they need with an interest rate applied.

Credit would not exist if people didn’t want for things they couldn’t afford.

credit-card-bills

image credit: moneycrashers.com

 

And buying into the credit lie is what will eventually restrict your life and those restrictions will have a direct impact on your ability to do the things that will bring you joy, thus stifling your dream life.

If you have fallen for this lie, then you must take action immediately.  I have emailed and talked in person with many individuals that have paid off incredible amounts of debt and they have all said the same thing: “I wish I had taken action sooner.”

If you are in a place where your money decisions are hindering you, then why not do something to change the situation?  Why do you continue to ignore the problem or wish the problem away?

I will tell you why!  Because your desire for stuff you can’t afford exceeds your desire to live the life of your dreams.  It is that simple.

***side note***  I attended a funeral Saturday of a woman that died of multiple myeloma.   I had never met her, but she was an extended family member of an in-law, so I felt I needed to be there to show support.  Death always reminds me of how unimportant material things are.  I am sure the last thing on her mind as she breathed her last breath were all of her possessions.  Be careful about the value you place on material things.***

Once you realize that stuff is not important you will make the necessary decisions to pay down your debt.  Until then you will continue with the status quo.

Now you might ask, how am I supposed to get stuff?  Or what if I am already consumed with credit card debt?  Or what if I already have that huge mortgage?  Or worse, what if my life is represented by scenario #2?

As in all aspects of life you are left with a decision that only you can make. Are you willing to downsize or move into an apartment?  Are you willing to cut cable or eliminate eating out?  Are you willing to cut up your credit cards?

If I were you I would immediately read anything Dave Ramsey has ever written on debt.  Figure out a way to build an emergency fund, develop a strategy to pay off your debt and make the sacrifices necessary to relieve yourself of the debt burden.

Scenario #1 is attainable, but not if you continue to want for things you cannot afford.

 

 

 

In Pursuit of (Im)Perfection

Little victories add up. How do you lost 70 pounds? One pound at a time!

FoodBalance

happiness joy jumping health

Many people don’t believe me when they hear I didn’t actually set out to lose 70 pounds a few years ago. They don’t believe that I don’t obsess over my daily calories, or that I’m feeling comfortable in my own skin. You’re a millennial, female in her mid-twenties, AND your a Dietitian. How is that possible?! I try to focus on being perfectly imperfect. Too bad that type of messaging doesn’t bode well for a culture that believes in deprivation, what you shouldn’t eat, and how you shouldn’t look.

I focused my efforts more on lifestyle change and creating abundance in my life. It wasn’t until I woke up one morning on my 18th birthday that I decided I was sick and tired of letting my weight dictate who I was going to be. How could I live a life that wasn’t riddled with guilt and shame? I was ready for change and to…

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Living Within Your Means

The second item on the list of Habits of Successful People is: they live within their financial means.  Statistically they allot 25% of their income to housing, rent or mortgage.  15% to food.  10% to entertainment.  And 5% of their net annual to holidays/vacations.  I can tell you from my wife’s previous occupation of financial consulting, that the vast majority of people do not live within their means.

A Huffington Post poll revealed that only 10% of Americans are living below their means or spending less than they make.  Why is this so and why is it important?

Successful people guard two things with serious conviction: time and money.  They understand the importance of financial responsibility and freedom.  When I first started writing the Dream Big blog I was not sure where I wanted to go with my writing, but that was clarified for me when I compiled the list we are working through now.

In the U.S. people make one fatal financial mistake: they fall for the lie that everyone has to have credit cards.  We are led to believe that it is normal and okay to accrue credit card debt, which leads most down a destructive road.  I have written about this topic a lot and learned that the average credit card debt per household in the U.S. is just under $15,000.

c92470c3e7607e72fa3a9405066e4a5dSo why is living in your means important?  When you spend less than you make and do not rack up debt, you allow yourself freedom and mobility.  What I mean is you have the freedom to switch jobs or occupations if your current situation makes you unhappy or unfulfilled!  So many people I speak with about starting their own business or changing jobs simply cannot take a job making less money because they owe so much money; they have massive debt.

So what do you do if you have stacked up huge debt?  You must begin immediately assessing the damage and take action to pay the debt off.  I recommend making serious sacrifices for a couple of years in order to pay down credit card debt.

My list of recommended cuts are as such:

  • Pay television, cable, satellite,  internet based.  The average pay television bill in the U.S. is $123!!  And most shows can be streamed for free!  Plus there are better things to do with your time.  Just sayin.   Estimated savings per month (ESPM)… $123
  • Shopping at premier stores.  Swallow your pride and start bargain hunting!   Marshall’s, TJ Max and even thrift stores are great ways to get what you need at a fraction of the cost.  ESPM…$100
  • Stop smoking and drinking.  Not only is this good for your budget your lungs and liver will both thank you!   ESPM…$150
  • Eliminate eating out.  Look at eating out as a luxury, one that you can no longer afford!  For special occasions find a nice, inexpensive spot to dine.  My wife and I found a great Chinese restaurant that we can both eat for under $20.  ESPM…$100
  • Elaborate entertainment.  If you have credit card debt I can safely surmise that a large percentage of the balance is due to entertainment you could not afford in the first place.  Get creative when planning family entertainment: go to the park, rent a DVD from Red Box and have family movie night, attend a free music fest.  Entertainment does not have to be a $100+ night at the theater.   ESPM… $200
  • Starbucks or coffee-house.  This is a personal peeve of mine as I know lots of folk that have a $70+ coffee habit each month.  Buy a good $9 bag of coffee and brew at home.  ESPM… $50
  • Memberships.  Gyms are the worst investment known to every financial counselor.  Every one of them had this at the top of their lists.  Buy your own weights, run outside and stop wasting $75 each month.  ESPM… $75
  • Magazine subscriptions.  No explanation needed.  ESPM… $20
  • Car payments.  If you have more than 1 car payment, you are handling your money foolishly.  Automobiles depreciate.  One financial advisor said to me, “finance assets that appreciate, but never finance assets that depreciate.”   Rework your current auto situation and eliminate 1 or more car payments!
    ESPM… $350
  • Name brand groceries.  I shop at Aldi and love it.  My wife is amazed at what we get for the money.  ESPM… $200
  • Misc. waste.  Most people have a couple hundred dollars each month that simply vanishes.  Well, find it!  Keep all your receipts for a month and identify any holes in your ship.  ESPM… $150

Once you have eliminated unnecessary spending take the surplus and combine it with your minimum payment on your lowest credit card debt.  Imagine how quickly you could pay off $5,000 if you were paying $600 to $1000 per month!  Once you have paid off the first card, apply your total payment from card 1 plus the minimum from card 2 and hammer that debt down.  You proceed in this fashion until you have paid your credit card debt off.

I have talked via email with a few people who decided to pay themselves out of debt.  They all said the sacrifice was so worth the freedom and relief they felt once the debt was paid off.  I strongly encourage you to take a look at your finances.  Do not tell me you cannot find extra money because I know most people can.

Make a short-term sacrifice for a long-term gain.  You will thank yourself!

Big Dreamer

Sometimes I Have To Get Little Ra Ra

When I first began writing I asked a close friend for his opinion of my blog.  He stated that he enjoyed reading, but at times my message was a little too ra, ra for his liking.  His feedback was honest and appreciated and accurate.  I write to encourage people to challenge themselves to discover their inner greatness thus opening the door to living the life of their dreams and often times that requires a little cheerleading.  Often times I feel like I am begging and pleading with people to just try something, anything to change.  Refuse to accept mediocrity,  always look for ways to expand and improve.  And sometimes people need to know someone believes in them. People are very reluctant to change even in the face of imminent death and I will do whatever it takes to get through to just one person.

I know the positive impact of knowing someone believes in your abilities; even when you do not believe in yourself.  That person for me is my wife and my life changed dramatically when I had her support, encouragement and unwavering belief in my abilities. 

I beg, plead, implore people to lose weight and strive to live a healthy lifestyle.  Is it because I think people should not be content with who they are?  Am I a “fat basher” as I was called in a recent email?  No.  I encourage every person that is overweight to lose weight because I don’t want anyone to die of congestive heart failure.  I don’t want people to suffer from obesity related diabetes.   I don’t want people to deal with the physical pain of lugging around the extra weight equivalent to a small human.  I beg, plead and cheerlead to convince one person to change. 
  

I beg, plead and urge people to begin today to pay off credit card debt.  Is it because I think I am perfect and enjoy standing over people in judgement?  No.  I encourage people to stop using credit cards because very few have the discipline to use them responsibly and millions of Americans are chained and shackled to jobs they hate because of ridiculous debt.  I want my readers to experience the freedom of being out from under the weight and stress of insurmountable debt. I want people to have professional flexibility.  It takes making serious sacrifices such as cutting cable TV, eating out and buying new clothes from your budget.  I beg, plead and cheerlead to convince one person to change.

I cheer readers on because I know the power of knowing someone else believes in you; someone has your back.  My wife has my back, and I have yours.  Trust me when I say: whoever you are, whatever your challenge, I believe in you and I believe you can conquer whatever goal you set your mind to achieving.   You can rest assured that if no one else gives you support, Danny will always be there to lend support, encouragement and tough love! 

Do something today that your future self will thank you for having done!

Big Dreamer

I Owe, I Owe, So Off To Work I Go…

This past Tuesday I got into a discussion/argument with a friend of mine about him being enslaved by his job and how he was trapped.  Eventually he admitted that he had made choices and accumulated debt which disallowed him the freedom to switch jobs.  How many can identify with that?  I’m guessing a lot.  So I decided to develop a list of the top things I see people waste money on that should and could be used to pay off debt and provide financial freedom.

I frequently refer to credit card debt as almost everyone can relate.  My thoughts are to sacrifice for a period of time, make spending cuts, apply the net money from said cuts to your smallest credit card debt and pay off card #1 quickly.  Next, apply spending cuts plus credit card #1 monthly payment to credit card #2 until it is paid off.  Rinse and repeat.  I personally know 2 friends that paid off $12,000 in credit card debt in under 2 years using this method.  They have not touched a card since and talk often of the freedom they enjoy.  In my opinion debt is the number 1 dream killing machine, followed closely by poor health habits.  Anywho, here’s my list of things to eliminate immediately:

 

1.  Pay television, cable, satellite,  internet based.  The average pay television bill in the U.S. is $123!!  And most shows can be streamed for free!  I watch Walking Dead, Better Call Saul and Person of Interest free every week.  Plus there are better things to do with your time.  Just sayin.   Estimated savings per month (ESPM)… $123

2.  Shopping at premier stores.  Swallow your pride and start bargain hunting!   Marshall’s, TJ Max and even thrift stores are great ways to get what you need at a fraction of the cost.  ESPM…$100

3.  Stop smoking and drinking.  Not only is this good for your budget your lungs and liver will both thank you via email!   ESPM…$150

4.  Eliminate eating out.  Look at eating out as a luxury, one that you can no longer afford!  For special occassions find a nice, inexpensive spot to dine.  My wife and I found a great Chinese restaurant that we can both eat for under $20.  ESPM…$100

5.  Elaborate entertainment.  If you have credit card debt I can safely surmise that a large percentage of the balance is due to entertainment you could not afford in the first place.  Get creative when planning family entertainment: go to the park, rent a DVD from RedBox and have family movie night, attend a free music fest.  Entertainment does not have to be a $100+ night at the theater.   ESPM… $200

6.  Starbucks or coffee house.  This is a personal peeve of mine as I know lots of folk that have a $70+ coffee habit each month.  Buy a good $9 bag of coffee and brew at home.  ESPM… $50

7.  Memberships.  Gyms are the worst investment known to every financial counselor I spoke to.  Every one of them had this at the top of their lists.  Buy your own weights, run outside and stop wasting $75 each month.  ESPM… $75

8.  Magazine subscriptions.  No explanation needed.  ESPM… $20

9.  Car payments.  If you have more than 1 car payment, you are handling your money foolishly.  Automobiles depreciate.  One financial advisor said to me, “finance assets that appreciate, but never finance assets that depreciate.”   Rework your current auto situation and eliminate 1 or more car payments!
ESPM… $350

10.  Name brand groceries.  I shop at Aldi and love it.  My wife is amazed at what we get for the money.  ESPM… $200

11.  Misc frivolous waste.  Most people have a couple hundred dollars each month that simply vanishes.  Well, find it!  Keep all your receipts for a month and identify any holes in your ship.  ESPM… $150

These examples represent an Estimated Savings Per Month of $1520!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  IMAGINE PAYING THAT EACH MONTH ON YOUR LOWEST CREDIT CARD BALANCE!   Even if you do not eliminate a car payment the savings are still $1170!   I estimate the average household could easily find an extra $500 each month to pay extra on credit card debt, if they are willing to sacrifice.  Other ways to help: extra part-time work like cutting lawns, monthly yard sales, programmable thermostats, move to less expensive housing.  Think outside the box.

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The sacrifices needed to become debt free are tough, but you owe it to yourself to take action.  Teach yourself, teach your kids, teach your friends how to change their life and obtain freedom.  Those that I know sat the entire family down and explained the problem, explained the course of action and explained what each member needed to do to help.  And they succeeded!

I always say, “Do something today that your future self will thank you for doing.”  This is one of those things.

Be sure to LIKE my Facebook page, Dream Big, Dream Often and FOLLOW via Twitter, @BigDreamer0323.

Debt freedom allows one to……Dream Big, Dream Often.

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Why Living Debt-free Creates a More Joyous Life

The reason that I write is to try to motivate people to seek fulfillment, happiness.  Because I know so many people who portray themselves as happy on Facebook, that I can see are not very happy at all.  People are keeping up with the Joneses, piling up credit card debt, feeling the pressure of impending college tuitions, wondering how in the world did I get here and how am I going to get out of this? They work jobs they abhor and live lives that are severely disorganized.

101My challenge has always been to push people to challenge themselves, to break the cycle of a life that is designing them vs them designing their life. And as I type this I realize some might read and say most people’s lives aren’t that bad; and my response is you have not been paying attention. Maybe my description encapsulates many details that don’t all exist in one person or family, but many families have serious issues that are keeping them from being happy and fulfilled and most of these elements are controllable and changeable.

We must realize that our life is our responsibility and it is possible for us to make positive changes.

I have talked often in the past about debt and I have wondered myself why so many of my thoughts regarding living out dreams come back to debt.  And I guess the answer is that in conversations with people I have heard the money excuse used all too often. And when I hear the money excuse used I immediately wonder how much cash they waste each month or how they use their money.

I had a challenge several weeks ago to keep all receipts for spending for a 30 day period and at the end of that 30 days take the spending that was necessary and separate from spending that is unnecessary. What I find most interesting about the challenge is what people deem necessary vs unnecessary.  I also find it interesting that people are amazed at what they spend their money on.

I personally have two resources that I guard as sacred: my time and my money.  The money situation is very sensitive for lots of individuals because they feel a sense of embarrassment when light is shined upon their inability to run their fiscal life. If you speak to someone who works in the financial business they will tell you how defensive people get when their debt is criticized (and by criticize I mean it in the truest definition of the word, not pointing out flaws or making fun of).

I am saying this out loud to you: your debt is getting in the way of you living a fulfilled, happy life!  We live in a society that tells us we must live in a certain type of house, drive a certain type of car,  send our kids to a top school, we must work a certain type of job, we must associate with a certain type of people. And if you do not you are not successful. And you must obtain these things at any cost. So get yourself some credit cards, get yourself a line of credit and go buy things so that people think you are successful and these things will make you happy and fulfilled.

And in the end what you have attained is a life that is fake, that you don’t own because you owe others for it, and a mountain of debt that you carry around like a 300 pound gorilla each and every day. Your debt restricts your ability to move out of a job that makes you unhappy, it restricts your ability to move out of a city or town that you do not like, it restricts your ability to see the world around you and it sets an image of the type of life your children expect to have for themselves.

Fyi, Warren Buffett still lives in a house in Nebraska that he bought 50 years ago and drives an old Buick,  both of which he paid off many years ago.

It is time for you to take action, evaluate your finances, eliminate all unnecessary spending and allocate that extra money to paying off debt.

121908-600x349Do not wait for tomorrow do it today!  And contrary to what some might say Starbucks is not necessary. Car payments are not necessary. Shopping at the most expensive grocery stores is not necessary. Eating out is not necessary. Gym memberships are not necessary.  Boats & motorcycles are not necessary. Cable television is not necessary. And these are just a few of the things I see people spending money on that they can neither afford nor sustain.

Your attitude towards buying things should always be: if you do not have the cash to buy, do not buy it.  I will guarantee you if you eliminate all unnecessary spending each month you will have approximately $500 to pay on debt. My advice would be to pay down the smallest credit card first and gain some positive forward momentum. Then choose the second debt item and take the $500 plus whatever you were paying on the first credit card and pay that on the second credit card.  You duplicate this formula as many times as it takes to get you out of debt and if you commit three to five years to this you will be 100% debt free (excluding mortgages, which is an entirely different topic).

Many of the happiest people who I know have extremely low debt. And by extremely low debt I mean they have an affordable mortgage, no car payment, and zero credit card debt.

You are fully responsible for the life that you live.

Successful people do not stumble upon being successful. Their lives are purposely designed to give themselves the best opportunity possible to find success. And it is time for you to take control of your life and design it to give yourself the best opportunity possible to be successful.  The first step is acknowledging that your life is your responsibility and it is no one else’s fault that you are where you are and no one else gets the credit for where you are in life right now.

If you take action today and maintain that action through the steps we’ve discussed you will begin to take steps toward living your dreams!

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!