#2 Live Below Your Means
Thom and I didn’t always live below our means. Like most Baby-Boomers, we grew up thinking more was always better, and going bigger the solution to everything. Thankfully, after many years of debt and hand-to-mouth living, we began to realize that the weight of trying to keep up with a lifestyle that exceeded our income wasn’t worth the stress. When we tailored back on our needs and expectations, we discovered that most of the time we didn’t really want all that stuff anyway.
Gradually we learned to focus on the things in life that we really enjoyed most. Things like freedom, travel, spending time with each other and friends and more, didn’t really cost that much. Instead of buying things, we learned to embrace experiences that made us happy. We stopped trying to “buy” happiness and instead let it wash over us in the simple and everyday experiences in our lives.
#3 Make Choices From A Place Of Peace of Mind Rather Than Fear
Many people, ourselves included when we were younger, make choices from a place of fear. Of course, people don’t like to call it fear, but when you get right down to it, fear is guiding their decisions. What kind of fear am I talking about?
- Buying an overly expensive car because you are concerned about how other perceive your “image.”
- Insisting you have to live in a certain house or neighborhood regardless of whether you can afford it.
- Doing things for your kids or your family that hurt you financially because you fear those people will stop loving you if you do.
- Going to an expensive college for your degree with an enormous student loan because someone told you that that is the only way you’ll get a decent job after graduation.
While some of these choices might be beneficial, if you are doing them out of fear rather than conscious choice, you will likely find that the “price” is much higher than expected.
#4 Keep Your Eye On The Prize
Let’s face it, every single day we see dozens of beautiful, desirable and interesting things we can do and buy. If we lose site of our intention to be debt free and live with peace of mind (the REAL prize), we might find ourselves forgetting what is important and end up buying everything in front of us. Stay focused.
#5 Develop Habits That Help You Choose & Save
Learning to embrace habits that not only help you save but also help you avoid spending in the first place, will serve you for the rest of your life. According to the September 2016 issue of Money Magazine, “a full 78% of millionaires cite frugality as a reason for their success.” When we learn to carefully monitor our money, it becomes a habit that gets easier the longer we live.