“Money is for people who don’t play well with others.”
That’s what I saw on a bumper sticker yesterday, and I have to say, it gave me pause. I can’t judge the owner of the car that wore this bumper sticker, but it was a nice car. Newer than ours. A nice looking SUV. So, they obviously weren’t struggling. Or, maybe they were. To me, this statement represented one thing: yet another excuse for people not to take control of their financial lives.
It seems to me that reasons abound for not getting our finances in order. Everywhere you go, somebody has an excuse as to why they can’t, or shouldn’t get out of debt. And, in fact, I’ve used many of these myself. Some of the more popular ones?
“We just don’t make enough money.”
“I don’t want to deprive the kids.”
“We have too much debt. There’s no point in even trying.”
“I’ll work on it after……………”
“But, I need a new car (or a new house, new furniture, a new sweater, or that vacation).”
“It’s only $20 (or $50, or $100)”
It’s always easier to talk ourselves out of doing the hard stuff. After all, the easier stuff is, well, easier. But at what cost are we taking the low road? What affect will a lack of discipline in our choices today have on our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren tomorrow?
When we reach retirement age, will we be looking to our children to support us, or planning vacations in which we can take our children, their spouses and our grandchildren on trips that they would otherwise not be able to take? Will we be wondering where our next meal will come from, or planning grand dinners that we can serve in love to those around us?
We are now in month 3 of our journey to debt free, and there are still days when I have to work real hard to make a spending decision. The one vision that always helps me to say “no” to unnecessary spending is this one:
It’s a picture of Rick and I, playing joyfully with our kids. We have a free day, and the possibilities are limitless. There’s no more worry, stress or freaking out about money. We will plan what we want to do on one of those days based on what we want to do, not what we can afford. Our retirement days will be filled with choices, not fear. We will be blessings and not burdens to our loved ones.
To those struggling financially right now or those deep in debt, I ask you:
Look at the two roads before you. One is the road that you are on now, a road in which you will be at exactly the same place financially that you are right now: a place of worry, stress and uncertainty.
The second road is a road that starts out a tough road; a road of discipline, with hills to climb and mountains to move. But further on down the line, this road leads to a paradise in which money is no longer your master, but instead a blessing that allows you to have the freedom to not only never have to worry about cashflow again, but allows you to be able to help others as well.
It’s decision time now: Will you choose what’s comfortable, or will you take a chance and do something different? The different path may not be the easiest one, at first, but if you focus on the destination to which that road leads, I’ll bet you’ll find it a much happier, and a much more peaceful, joyful place. Which road will you choose?
“It’s always easier to talk ourselves out of doing the hard stuff.” Ain’t that the truth Laurie! I could not agree more, it’s much easier to stay where we’re comfortable as opposed to seeking out change. Love your thoughts!
Thanks John. That bumper sticker still haunts my thoughts to this day. It makes me sad that we can so easily convince ourselves to settle for less.
I’m about 6 months into my debt-free journey and though it does get easier, EVERY SINGLE DAY I fight temptations to recklessly spend. That road of discipline sure is a kick in the butt but I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂
It’s so great to be able to talk with someone who’s just ahead of the curve from us. It encourages us to hang in there – thanks, Girl!
Well put together Laurie. Since I love the outdoors and climbing, I chose the hard road toward debt freedom. It wasn’t fun, but it is well worth it in the end.
That’s a great analogy, Grayson. The road to debt free is just like a tough climb, isn’t it? It reminds me to of when I run. I hate the run, but the feeling of finishing a race is spectacular. 🙂
Beautiful post, Laurie. The journey towards financial freedom isn’t always easy, but the vision you have for your family is well worth the effort. And know that we’re all here, cheering you along the way!
Shannon, it’s just those kind of comments that are making this journey possible for us. Thank you, a million times over!
It’s so easy to succumb to temptation and buy something you don’t really need. It is HARD to say no to yourself and not spend that money. One thing that I have found is that the more you say no to a purchase decision, the easier it is to say no to the next one.
Jose, you are SO right about it being easier the next time. I suppose it’s like any other “training”, and I think of it like weight training or training for a run: the first couple of workout sessions are so difficult, then, each time, it gets easier as you get stronger. I keep re-living my first 5k run, and I remember the first time I actually made it 3.1 miles during training (I didn’t start running till I was 41), and it was such a great feeling. Then, each time was easier, and by the day of my first race, it was an old habit. :-). Thanks for stopping by, Jose, and have a great night!
Nice post Laurie. we always tend to get away from pain, just because we are human. But we also feel much better once we have overcome a few obstacles, so you are right in keeping going. Thank you for the mention.
Thanks, Pauline. Your post on change that I linked to was simply inspiring!
No pain, no gain, right? So many of the hardest things in life are really “painful” to get through. Paying off debt and losing weight come to mind immediately. It’s not fun to stop eating chocolate cake, but if I want to lose weight that’s that I’m going to have to start doing ;-).
Exactly! I guess often though, where we’re at “now” has to hurt bad enough to make us want change before we’ll actually commit to it.
Maybe people with the money are smarter than to associate with people who don’t share their values and want them to fail? I guess that could be not playing well with others, but I’ve found plenty of people who want to play on my team. Being financially independent gives you so many more choices. I’ll take that any day.
Agreed, Kim. That’s one of the key rules to getting out of debt that I’ve read is to not associate closely with those who will intentionally try and get you to break your plan. If the person with that bumper sticker really believes and lives by that mantra, he/she sure is missing out on alot in life.
You are doing great! And don’t worry about the mistakes that other people are making. It can drive you nuts!
Thanks, Holly. :-). I appreciate the encouragement immensely!
Great article Laura. The problem seems to be that taking the easy way always sounds so great. In fact our minds have a way of making something that looks bad look great. When you go to the store and decide to pay with credit instead of cash you might think that paying cash is the right thing to do but it’s only $40 bucks or I’ll earn extra points on my credit card but what really happens is it locks you into a pattern of continually paying off debt that never ends. In order to make this change you have to change how you are handling it or you will never get anywhere.
I totally agree, Chris! We can so easily convince ourselves to take the wrong path, can’t we?
I think your perfect day of relaxing with your family sounds perfect! It might be a rocky road to get there now, but the rewards will be so amazing!
I totally agree, Mrs. Pop. Every day we succeed in sticking to our plan and getting out of debt is an absolutely wonderful day. 🙂
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