Photo: Beautiful Sunrise that I witnessed while in Nebraska.
What do all of those things listed above have in common? In my opinion, the are conveniences of living in the modern world. Everything comes so easily to us these days. I can go to a mall and shop at 30 different stores (if I want to). I can get in my car and drive wherever I want. I can go to the grocery store and stock up for a weeks worth of meals. I have a refrigerator, which allows me to keep food cool. These modern conveniences have made our lives so easy. There is very little sacrifice when it comes to these things. I know that we can sometimes sacrifice time with our family to finish things at work (But sacrificing time with family does not make you awesome). This article is not talking about that type of sacrifice. I'm talking about sacrificing modern conveniences and modern needs to get ahead financially. Watch this video from Under Armour (Under Armour is not paying me to link their commercials, I just found them very motivating).
This video shows the importance of sacrifice. Kelley O'Hara wanted to make the US Soccer Team and worked daily to obtain that goal. She truly sacrificed and pushed herself to reach this goal. Three things from this video really jumped out to me. First, she talked about the importance of setting goals. Goals are very important, because they give you a target that you want to acquire. You aren't just blindly running around shooting in the dark. You have something tangible to shoot for. My wife and I have had multiple goals since we got married. Our first goal was to get out of debt. We reached this goal in August of 2015. Our next goal was to save up for a house. We recently just completed this goal and purchased a house using a down payment and only took out a 15-year mortgage. We now have a new goal. This goal is to pay off the house in 10 years (hopefully sooner, but ten would be pretty good). Our goals have kept us focused and gave specific tasks for our finances. We knew where the money was going to go each month, because we had a plan. This is why goal setting is so important.
Secondly, she stated, "It comes from a belief within you." I couldn't agree more. Accomplishing any task requires belief from within yourself. If you want to lose weight, but decide that it is too difficult, then you don't have that belief from within yourself and you will never start. I have heard stories of someone from my school district. This person has recently lost 100 pounds. That's right 100 pounds! Don't you think that he had some belief. He had a goal and he believed that he would be able to complete this goal. This is the exact same with finances. If you want to make a difference and change your financial future, then you have to believe that you can do it from within. I believe that we can pay off our house early. I don't make excuses and say, "Everybody else has a mortgage, it's no big deal." I don't care if everyone else has a mortgage! I don't want to pay the bank all of that compound interest. Therefore, we believe in ourselves and are focused on paying off the house early.
Lastly, Kelley's last statement tells us a lot. She stated, "You have to earn what you want." This is the truth. Nothing will be handed to you on a golden platter. If you want to be debt free, then you have to go out and grab the bull by the horn (take control of your money). Once again, you can't expect the government to fix your money problems. A new president will not make enough changes to make you rich, so don't expect it from them. You have to go out and earn what you want. As Under Armour titled this commercial, "Earn Your Armour." Think of all the steps in your life as battle scars that make you into the person that you are today.
I feel like I kind of took a left turn and got away from the topic of sacrifice, but it is all kind of connected. Kelley had to sacrifice to make the US Soccer Team. We had to sacrifice to get out of debt and save up a down payment. Sacrifice is the beautiful thing that will make you a stronger person later in life. How will this happen? It will make you stronger, because you have suffered a little bit now, for success later.
My wife and I have made sacrifices to reach our goals. These sacrifices can be very little, but make big differences over the years. Here are some sacrifices that we have used or will use in meeting our goals:
- Clothing: My wife only buys clothing about once a year, and she doesn't buy very much clothing at all. This could be considered a sacrifice, because we don't have the latest and greatest clothing. I honestly don't care because that money is in my bank account earning compound interest instead of sitting in my closet. We are toying with the idea of buying all used clothing until the house is paid off.
- No Cable or Satellite: We have decided to forgo the purchase of cable or satellite. This will save us close to $100 a month. This may not seem like a lot, but over the course of 12 months, this will save us $1,200 (it's better to look at things long term instead of monthly).
- No new car: Some people would consider this a sacrifice. My current car is ten years old and is still running perfectly good. There is no need for the purchase of a brand new car. I will use the money that would have went to a new car and put this money towards retirement or extra mortgage payments. I actually have a goal with my car. I want to own it for ten years (only 3+ years to go).
- Lawn Care: I am mowing my own lawn with an old style rotary lawn mower. The idea for this type of mower came from Mr. Money Mustache. He is totally right, that you feel like a bad a** after you finish mowing each week, because you use muscle instead of motor. It is a great workout and I have found that I don't have to worry about making sure that I have fuel for my lawn mower. I'm actually not sure how much this saves me yearly, but it is cheaper than paying for the gas to run the lawn mower and it is cheaper than paying somebody to mow the lawn for me, also.
Those examples above are just a few of the things that we are trying to do to accomplish our goals. Take a look at your life and find something that you can cut out. Could you cut out your daily Starbucks run (could be killing $1,000 of your hard earned coin)? What about your weekly habit of going to Happy Hour with co-workers? Do you blow lots of money on margaritas? I go to Happy Hour with co-workers once in a while, but do you know what I drink when I go with them? I drink water (it's free). I get to spend quality time with my co-workers without spending a dime. What about your shopping habit? You know that you could cut back, but you never have. Now is the time to make these changes that will set you up for a future of success.
How can sacrificing be beautiful? It's beauty in accomplishing the tasks, that you would have never accomplished without these sacrifices. You will feel a sense of pride in accomplishing something that you wanted to and never thought that you could. These sacrifices are great for the body and mind, because they make you a stronger and a better person. Don't we all want to be better and stronger?
To go back to my intro, we have so many luxuries as a society, that we could sacrifice what would be considered crazy by today's standards, but are no where near as tough as our ancestors had it. Back in the day, our ancestors had to hunt for their food daily, because they had no way of keeping their food from going bad. That is not one sacrifice that I would want to try, but puts things in perspective for me. We shouldn't be complaining about little sacrifices, because it is no where near as difficult as the anything that our ancestors had to go through.