Sunday, January 28, 2018

Enjoy Life NOW

Do you think it's possible to enjoy life while getting out of debt or working towards your financial goals? I believe it's absolutely possible, because this is how we - my family - live.  Read through this screenshot of a question someone posted on the Dave Ramsey UK Based Support Group Facebook page a few days ago followed by my reply:

I'd like to break down both her question and my reply.  "Dave podcasts" are Dave Ramsey's (DR) Daily podcasts which can be found through or on the Dave Ramsey app.  I listen to parts of his podcasts pretty much every day for inspiration and education.

Dave's catch phrase "live like no one else, so you can later live and give like no one else" is so incredibly motivating to me.  To live like no one else means to not live like the average Joe meaning to budget, save, pay off any debt, not accumulate any more debt, save for retirement and to live within one's means. Basically this means to make some sacrifices and delay gratification TODAY so that you can prepare for TOMORROW.  The second half of this statement "so you can later live and give like no one else" means that when the time comes that you have paid off all debt, including your mortgage, saved an emergency fund worth 3-6 months of expenses, contributed 15% of your income towards retirement, and saved for your children's university fees, you can then live an EXTRAORDINARY life and give EXTRAORDINARILY knowing that you're financially secure.

Just a note on giving.  Christians believe in tithing 10% of their income to their local church and missionaries to give back to God what is His in the first place.  It's a monthly "thank you" gift to the Lord who has given us everything we have for the furtherance of His kingdom.  I know that everyone believes different things about tithing and giving, but I think we'd all agree that it changes one's heart.  It makes one think beyond one's self or one's ego.  And for this reason, I encourage everyone, no matter where you are with your finances to give, even just a tiny amount, on a regular basis.  Once you've freed up money that's going towards paying off debt, you can give more.  Once more money is freed up after having enough money in a fully-funded emergency fund, then you can give even more.  Once you've saved for your children's education (I know there are differing opinions on this) and have plenty going into retirement savings, then you can GIVE like no one else... that means BIG money! How exciting!

The husband's question to his wife in this post is actually absolutely fabulous!  He's thinking beyond today.  He's considering how to break free of the lifestyle they're used to, how they can enjoy life while they work together to accomplish their goals.

Ok, just to clarify a bit more before getting to my reply.  "BS2" stands for Baby Step 2, which in DR's plan refers to paying off all non-mortgage debt.  DR's plan has 7 steps plus BS0, which must have been added after 1-7 were created.  More on these in future blogs!  Or watch some videos on YouTube.

Now to my reply: enjoy money NOW.  By planning where your money goes (ie. budgeting) and sticking to it, you have the ability to enjoy what is left over NOW.  You don't have to sit, twiddling your thumbs and being miserable while you wait for time to pass and for your financial goals to happen.  NO!  The aim of my blog is to encourage you to "find pennies" or small ways to save money while you live your best life! (Now I'm sounding like Oprah!)  That doesn't mean once you achieve your financial goals or get to Baby Step 7, that means NOW!  LIVE LIFE NOW!

Moving on... I used to shudder at the thought of contentment.  "How can I possibly be content with what I have when so-in-so has so much more than me?"  The Lord has taught me sooo much about contentment the past few years.  The Lord provides for all of my needs.  I don't need anything more. I have a roof over my head, warm clothes and plenty of food.  I have so much more than that!  Do we live in my dream home? Far from it.  Do I wear the prettiest, designer clothes.  Uh, no.  Do we take exotic vacations/holidays multiple times a year? Not unless trips to visit our families in Northern Ireland and Ohio count.  Since putting my 2018 mantra "I have enough" into practice, it's made me take an even closer look at how content I am with what I have.  It's also about making the most of what we have and being thankful for everything.  Believe me, it's still something I'm working through and I'm not sure whether I'll ever be truly content... on Earth, that is.

Simple.  Isn't the word simple such a beautiful word?!  It's not complex. It's easy to understand.  What simple means to you may mean something different to me.  Simple to me means looking at situations and finding the root of why I'm doing it.  Is it to fulfill something in myself?  Is it to impress others?  What is it?  Are you going shopping to get out of the house?  Could you go for a walk somewhere instead?  Are you popping into the local cafe for a coffee and slice of cake "as a treat"?  What about making a pot of coffee and baking a cake at home?  A big part of simplification is slowing down and appreciating what you truly want from a moment in time.  It's about making things habitual or automatic, so you can focus on what you really want out of life.

You probably already know that very little excites me more than finding a discount code for something I was already going to purchase.  Or finding a cheaper and more effective way of doing something.  I love getting things for free.  I love when my kids are happy doing inexpensive, fun things together, like looking for "mini beasts" on a walk, baking together, playing a game together or our once-a-month meal out.

The idea is that with some simplification, contentment and creativity, you can live your best life NOW... no matter where you are in your financial adventure. photo credit

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