Thursday, August 25, 2016

Living Life On Your Own Terms

Are you living your life on your own terms? Do you get up every morning and know what you want and what is best for your family? Are you doing what it takes every single day to reach the goals that your family has?

Or are you following what someone outside your family is doing? Do you live your life doing what the Joneses are doing? Do you make your decision on what is best for your family based on what your friends are doing? Do you always say yes even if you don't want to? Do you always say yes even if you should say no because you can't afford it? Do you always say yes because you don't want anyone to know you can't afford it?

Are you buying whatever you want because you deserve it even though it puts you and your family in serious credit card debt? Do you go on elaborate vacations but then have to borrow money to pay for your property or school taxes or replace your washing machine or furnace? Do you live in the cycle of building up $80,000. in credit card debt and taking out a home equity loan to pay it off? Then charging the credit card debt up again and again.   

These are legitimate questions that you should be asking yourself and your family. There is no one more important than you and your family. There is nothing more important than saving for your family and your future.

If you can say yes to any of these questions, then it is time to rethink what you are doing and change them. 

Forget the Joneses! Forget the new BMW that showed up in their driveway yesterday. It may be leased or they may have huge payments that they can't afford.Or then again maybe they paid cash for it. But don't run out and get a new car just because they did. Buy a car that you can afford when you need one. The same goes for an inground pool. If you can pay cash for it and you have no debt, go for it. But if you buy one to keep up with the Joneses and have to take years of payments then you are hurting your bottom line. 

If your friends go out to restaurants or bars every weekend and expect you to go, ask yourself if you really want to do it and can you afford it?  Or would that money serve you and your family in a  better way? If you want to see these friends but don't want to spend $20. to $40. every weekend doing it, invite them to your house for a cheap dinner or dessert. I have found that they will be happy to come and even offer to bring a dish. There is no harm in telling friends that you don't want to go out since you are saving for a home, a car, college, retirement, etc.

Cut up the credit cards if you can't pay the full amount every month. Pay back what you owe and then never get yourself into that vicious cycle again. It won't be easy and may take a long period of time. But when you are debt free, you will have no stress and can start to see a bright future. One where you are the boss of where each dollar goes, not the credit card company or any other loan company. Build your own net worth and invest your money for your own goals. You make the interest and investment income for your family instead of paying it out to someone else.

I have people say to me " But I don't make enough income to save any?" I don't believe that. No matter what income you make, there is always room to make cuts and save for your future. Even when Hubby and I were first married, starting from scratch, a one income family making $ 6000. a year, we found a way to save a few dollars in investments. We started putting away $10. a week and cutting every expense that we could. As we cut expenses, we put more and more away. First $ 10., then $20., then $50., then $100. and we just kept increasing it from there. After a while it becomes a game to see how much you can save and invest. You see us continue to do that every month. It's even more fun to watch your investments grow every month.

If you can only squeeze out a dollar a week, do it. Then see if you can up it to $1.10 and continue to look for ways to cut expenses and up your savings amount.

I am not suggesting that you live like a pauper but I am suggesting that you live below your means and put some away for college for your kids and your retirement. I am also suggesting that you build an emergency fund so that if the car breaks or any appliance breaks that you can pay the bill and not have to charge it.      

I am also not suggesting that you only think about your own family. If you can afford to give gifts to other people or to charities without hurting your family's bottom line, then by all means do it. But if you can barely afford to buy gifts for your own immediate family, then you shouldn't be buying them for friends or your cousins. Most importantly, if you have major debt to pay back, you shouldn't be buying gifts for anyone. There are plenty of things that you can make for your own family. 

I am not trying to lecture anyone nor am I judging anyone. I am trying to get you to think and put as much time into your monetary decisions as you do into your other daily decisions. All it takes is you doing a little thinking every time you do something to see if there is a better and cheaper way. All it takes is some thought every time you want to spend money. Ask yourself, do I need this or is it a want? Can I go without it or is there a substitution? If it is a need, find it at the a rock bottom price that doesn't affect the quality you need. Do I have to hire someone or can I do it myself?

Please spend the next month asking yourself these questions and seeing how much you can cut your debt or build your investments. It only takes a few minutes and you could begin to build a financial future for you and your family.

It only takes starting and doing it for thirty days to make it a habit! Start living on your own terms!  


  1. Hi AD this is Chris. Great article. I always learn so much from your thought process. I wish so much that our parents had taught us about how to handle money when we were younger. It took awhile to learn some of this stuff and I am still learning at 59. :)

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thanks. I am still learning too so we should never stop learning.