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I tend to be a wanderer. What does that mean? Well, I like to go and see things and not worry about time constraints. I like to not be stressed about rushing places and I can get distracted by new things or new experiences. My wife and I are very different in this regard, because she likes to get things done as fast as possible and I like to lolly gag.
For example, a one-hour grocery store trip for my wife will take me an hour and a half. Similarly, a drive around town for errands will take my wife 2 hours, but could take me up to 3 hours. I make the exact same stops, but I will get distracted by other things I found in the store or things I find on the road.
This can drive my wife crazy, because she wants to go in and get things done. Therefore, whenever we go shopping together, we make a plan and she pushes me to get the shopping done as fast as possible.
Oppositely, I have always been a great trip planner. Since 2011, I have planned four different long vacations. In 2010, I planned a 3-day trip to Seattle and this plan was a total of 76 pages long with maps and everything. So, when I do plan I can go overboard.
This also happened in 2011, when my friends and I went on a month long road trip. I planned half of the trip and my planning for the trip was very detailed (two-three pages per day).
Here's the weird thing, on a day-to-day basis, I was never a big planner, but I am a huge planner when it comes to vacations. Why is this? I feel like it stems from the idea that a vacation is important and I want to see as much as possible. The best way to see everything is to plan out your trip.
This lesson of planning was somehow lost, when it came to my finances in my early adult years. I just spent money on whatever I wanted. I didn't think about a monthly budget and I just assumed I would pay it off over time.
Let's just stop for a second and understand the absurdity of my thinking:
I thought it was more important to plan a vacation than to make sure that I had the money to pay for the vacation....
Some of you may have the same type of mindset that I had in my early adult life. Some of you may spend money like congress and never think about it. I've been there. I understand, but you will need to change to make progress financially.
My mindset began to change after listening to Dave Ramsey talk about the importance of having a plan. He used a great analogy that connected with me. It went something like this, "Adults devise a plan and stick to it, Children do what feels good."
This was earth shattering to me, because I had always spent my money based on what I wanted. I never looked at my checking account or thought about my purchases. I was living an inflated lifestyle, based on nothing. It feels pretty good to live like you are rich, until you get the bill in the mail.
Reality will slap you in the face, if you aren't careful. At some point, you will have to grow up and start acting like an adult.
It took me years to grasp this concept, and it took me down a rabbit hole of debt and stress. Today, I have less stress, because I have a plan for my money. I have less stress, because I know where my money is going. I have less stress, because I have control of my financial spending.
I have Less Stress, because I spend Less than I make!
Growing up is something that we all must do. Some of us grow up faster than others. It took me a while to understand the importance of living within my means and having a plan. Take the time today to sit down and start planning!
Plan out your monthly expenses. Plan to save for the purchase of a newer car. Plan to save for Christmas spending. Plan to save for large purchases (such as furniture, appliances, etc.). Plan to save for vacations. Plan to save for the expenses of delivering a baby. Plan out the steps to getting out of debt.
That may sound like a lot of planning, but it will change your life. Devise a plan, revisit your plan and reap the financial benefits in the future!
Need help getting on a plan? I can help with my one-on-one financial coaching sessions!