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How Bad Do You Want It?

It’s been a tough few months financially here in the Frugal Farmer household. The first part of the year was smooth sailing. We were doing really well on debt reduction. Then came April.

Major car repairs, some pretty huge medical bills, and thanks to a miscalculation on my part we had to pay in for taxes for the first time ever. Savings covered some of the expenses but we ended up putting some on the credit card, taking a big step backward.

May was “recovery month as we worked to pay it off by scrimping and saving.” Then June hit and here we go again. Two major house repairs came up this week. Another couple of grand we didn’t plan for.

Time to Figure Out How Bad We Want Debt Freedom

How bad do you want to reach your goals? And are you willing to do something different to achieve them? This is the question I set before you today.

We’ve had a lot of this “two steps forward, one step back” stuff throughout our journey to become debt free and it has continually frustrated me. Last week I was complaining, to myself, the air, to God, to whoever would listen about the slow process debt reduction has been for us. Now I know we’ve had a lot of legit, serious setbacks that have understandably lengthened our journey, but we’ve got to be able to do more, I said to myself.

Then I got an email from a blog I subscribe to that had the headline “When You Take MASSIVE Action, Sometimes You Just Get ‘Lucky'”

Now, I don’t normally listen to podcasts. I like them well enough, but it’s a time thing. I’m homeschooling and life-coaching four kids. I run my own freelancing business. And I’ve got a house and small farm to care for. Finding the time to spend 30-60 minutes listening to a podcast doesn’t normally happen, as much as I love them.

The only podcast I’ve found time to listen to recently is a short vlog series that my pal, Mr. Groovy, publishes. Mostly because they’re under ten minutes and they’re hilarious AND introspective.

But the tagline here grabbed me, so I clicked on Episode 46 of the Money Peach podcast and tuned in, looking for the answer to our slow debt payoff problem and continual financial setback problem.

One of the first things guest Joshua Smith said was “If you’re not reaching your goals, it’s because you don’t want them bad enough.”

Could be, I thought. Keep talking.

The guy went on to tell about his life, about how he went from broke, depressed alcoholic at 23 to uber-successful guy at 35 (with a wife and some kids) who owns several businesses, one of which was making him $7,000 a month. He also said he hadn’t slept in nearly two days: he keeps his diet super clean in order to be healthy and strong enough to be able to take MASSIVE action on reaching his goals.

Okay, I’m listening. Β 

The guy went on and on, water-blasting advice for nearly an hour. Chris, the host, hardly had a chance to speak, and why would he want to? This guy was giving 8 hours worth of life-coaching on achieving goals in a one-hour session, and every bit of it was awesome!

If you want to hear it all, I encourage you to click on the link above and find time in your day today to listen, but I’m going to share the key points that really hit me hard with you today.

You Don’t Have to Focus on a Year’s Worth of Goals, Just Focus on Tomorrow

In other words, ask yourself, What action steps can I make tomorrow to make it an epic win in terms of moving closer to achieving my goals? Β 

Make your list of action steps for every goal every day, focus on the top three in each category (if that’s all you have time for) and do whatever it takes to get them done.

By practicing making every tomorrow an “epic win” you will reach your goals, and probably faster.

I made my first list for today last night. πŸ™‚

Take Calculated Risks

We’re fairly good at taking calculated risks, but we could be better. For instance, Rick will study and learn how to do pretty much any home or auto repair that comes our way. He replaced a part on the heater for our garage and he put the new roof on our shed. He’ll also install the new roof that failed this week on an outbuilding we have, saving us over $1,000.

However, he will not fix the valve that failed on our expensive air conditioning unit. After reading on the intricate process of recharging, etc., he decided he wants to leave that to the professionals.

Calculated Risk.

I think we need to take more calculated risks in terms of achieving our goals, however. We need to earn more. We need to spend less and not worry that it will traumatize the children. And so we will.

You Can Create What You Want to Create As Long As You Are Truly Committed

Rick and I have been committed to debt freedom, but I’m not sure we’ve been sold-out committed. Being sold out committed is not so much about being extreme so much as it is about knowing clearly what you will and will not sacrifice. We haven’t been clear on that, but we are now.

If you’re having trouble reaching your goals fast enough you might want to make a list of what you will and will not sacrifice.

In our case, having me home and homeschooling is a top-shelf priority, so increasing my income is going to have to work within our current schedule. I won’t leave the house full-time for a traditional job.

We also won’t sacrifice our health, meaning we won’t work 120 hours a week for money. However we will work 60. Or 70.

And we are totally okay with cutting expenses even further than we have been. We’d rather sacrifice spending money than sacrifice time.

Take some time to decide what you will and will not sacrifice. Decide what is most important to you. Then take the rest of your time and be sold-out committed to using it to help you reach your goals.


There is so, so much more information in this podcast, and I strongly encourage you to listen to it if you want to do more with your life. I got more motivation out of this one podcast than I got from years of what we’ve been doing to learn up until now.

As a bonus, I’m going to end by sharing a couple of books that might help you focus on your goals more intently.

This was one of the books recommended by Joshua Smith on the podcast:

The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

Readers continually tell me that this book transformed their lives.Β 

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

My dear friend, if you are finding that your goals and dreams are continually eluding you, please join us on this journey to revamp your plan and reach your goals. And start by listening the Joshua Smith on the Money Peach podcast. You got this!


  1. I agree with everything except not sleeping. lol! I don’t know why people brag about not sleeping. It’s awful for your health and hurts you overall and doesn’t make you more productive. OK mini rant over. lol! But yeah, I think most people want a certain result but aren’t willing to REALLY do what it takes to get there. I’m sorry it’s been a rough couple of months but I have no doubt you will do whatever it takes to get back on track!

    • Laurie says:

      I’m with you on the sleeping, but I was totally impressed that he wanted his goal that badly!! It may be wrong motivation, but man, that guy is MOTIVATED! πŸ™‚ It has been tough having all of the extra expenses, but I’m certain our new plan will help us win! Thanks so much, Tonya!

  2. Brian says:

    Thanks for the podcast recommendation Laurie. I will give it a listen. Always good to get a little extra dose of motivation. Wishing you and the family the best of luck overcoming the last hurdles. You’ve got this! We’re rooting for you.

    • Laurie says:

      I appreciate the support of friends like you so much, Brian. I know we can do it with the right plan and the support we have behind us. Thanks!!!

  3. My tip when looking to refocus is to talk with your partner and make sure you both remember your ‘why?’. Why did you want to start? Why were you pushing aggressively toward your goal? Why you will get back on the plan. After a few months of great progress on our own debt journey, we had a bit of a budget breakdown over the last couple months. We still paid off a bunch of debt, but we had overspent on fun and eating out. We probably blew about $1,000 that could’ve gone towards our debt. We had a meeting and talked about why we thought we were rebelling against our own plan, remembered the end goal, dreamed a lot about the finish and what it meant to us, and vowed to get back on the plan.

    Life is never going to let you plan everything out perfectly, but if you work as a team and commit to the process you’ll be able to overcome almost everything. Good luck!

    • Laurie says:

      Working on long-term goals can be super overwhelming, but I think most people could agree that they could do their best for just one day. Then that day can be motivation for trying for one more, and so on. Thanks, Brad!

  4. Thanks for the motivation and podcast recommendation today, Laurie. I’ve actually had this on my mind in the last few days…are we really working on our goals as much as we could be? Really? It’s always good to challenge yourself. Having that focus and taking it one day at a time is a great way to make it doable too.

    I love this: “We’d rather sacrifice spending money than sacrifice time.” This is where we’re at too. Time is THE most important thing. I’d happily sacrifice spending any day over giving up more time. It’s all a balance, though, and it’s easy to get off track. This is a great reminder today. πŸ™‚

    • Laurie says:

      Glad you liked it, Amanda!! I think seeing the kids get older is a big “Eureka” moment that time does indeed go fast. So glad you guys are working on challenging yourselves too. I think we’ll both be glad we did. πŸ™‚

  5. Timely stuff, Laurie. I am sorry to hear that life is throwing you some curveballs, but if they end up giving you guys an even more intense passion to achieve your goals, that’s a pretty killer silver lining.

    β€œIf you’re not reaching your goals, it’s because you don’t want them bad enough.”

    I have mixed feelings about the idea that we can achieve anything if we truly want it bad enough. Because that’s a mindset that rewards effort and brings out the best in us, which is great. But it’s also a statement of meritocracy, meaning that if you fail, that’s it’s your fault for not wanting it bad enough or trying hard enough. I mean, that’s sometimes true, but it’s not always true. There are things we can control, and there are things we can’t.

    • Laurie says:

      Great points, DB40. I’m still on the high from listening to Joshua’s words, so I’m going to politely disagree, but time will tell in a few weeks, LOL. πŸ™‚

  6. I hear you about calculating if you are going to fix something yourself or leave it to the pros. The house A/C was running continuously. I found out the contactor was stuck down. Looked up how to replace it and did it myself.

    Then the car A/C went out, I found that the servicing valve was leaking. I left that to the pros.

    I also want to let you know about Steemit.com – I have been posting there since August of 2016 and have earned $26,000 worth of cryptocurrency. Just from posting the same stuff I post on my blog. I want to build a personal finance community there, so join up!

    You can check my blog for my latest article about my journey on Steemit. I am not spamming, I just want to share the news to all. It is a huge opportunity for the future. Call me a Paul Revere about it, I guess.

  7. Josh says:

    I will need to listen to that podcast as well. My ears always perk up when I hear others that have been successful at a young age with a family.

    I definitely hate to hear all the unexpected surprises you have had the past few months. I have been learning some small skills for our high-mileage vehicles that aren’t worth it to sell to upgrade to a better family car at the moment.

    Like you, we would rather sacrifice money instead of time. At least money you can eventually get back.

    • Laurie says:

      Exactly – time is gone forever. I’m confident we’ll turn this around too. The podcast definitely gave us some great ideas for doing that.

    • Laurie says:

      Oh my gosh – it’s a “dream come true” vlog episode!! I cannot wait for that one – it will definitely be filled with giggles. πŸ™‚

  8. I hope things smooth out for you Laurie!

    Thanks for that podcast recommendation, I just finished listening to it. What an energetic guy with some great practical advice.

    “You got this!”

  9. Mrs. Groovy says:

    Thanks for shouting out Mr. Groovy! And thanks for the podcast recommendation. I’m queuing that one up for tomorrow’s walk.

    I love that you love being home, and home schooling, and you’re prepared to give things up for that. I think you’re very clear on not only your goals, but your values.

    It’s great that Rick is so handy but I agree, you gotta know your limits. Electrics is something we don’t touch. An issue came up for us over the weekend that could potentially start a fire (we cut the breaker, so it won’t) and we’re not messing with it.

    • Laurie says:

      We won’t touch electrical stuff either. But we’re lucky because Rick’s brother is an electrician, so we’ve got a close family member to do that stuff for us. πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to hear what you think of the podcast!

  10. Mr. Groovy says:

    Three things. First, thank you for the shout out. You made a simple country blogger/vlogger from North Carolina extremely happy. Second, Mrs. Groovy has just downloaded the Money Peach episode. It will accompany our walk tomorrow. Finally, third, the older I get, the more I realize the only thing separating people from wealth is discipline. Wealth battens on discipline. Work, learn, save, and master your impulses. Do this day in and day out for several decades and it’s amazing how much larger your net worth will become. Thank you for another great post, Laurie. You and Rick are great Americans.

    P.S. I can’t wait to pick up trash with Fritz. I have a feeling, though, that he’ll do to me what Joshua did to Chris (i.e., take over the show). But that’s okay. Fritz has a great mind and a great persona. I’d be a fool not to let those traits run free.

    • Laurie says:

      “the only think separating people from wealth is discipline.” LOVE IT! That’s our new mantra. πŸ™‚ Cannot wait for that vlog – it’s going to be Rockstar worthy, I’m certain of it! πŸ™‚

  11. Sorry to hear you’ve been going through a rough patch, Laurie. Those are always the hardest, when you feel like for every step forward, you’re taking 2-3 steps back. It’s so easy to get frustrated and want to give up. I deal with those feelings more than I care to admit!

    That sounds like a really interesting podcast. I often ask myself when I say that I want something why it’s so hard to follow though. I find that I have hidden fears that lead me to self-sabotage my efforts and keep me from achieving goals/getting ahead. I know your situation is different but it reminded me to dig a bit deeper as to why I wasn’t seeing the results I want in my own life.

    You can do this, Laurie. You got the heart of a lion and the power to do whatever you put your mind to do!

    • Laurie says:

      You are the sweetest friend – thank you. πŸ™‚ I hear you on the hidden fears. I think we’ve mostly conquered them, but I think there might be some remnants floating around. I’m feeling encouraged. If we can just focus on the todays, we can get it done!!

  12. Dan says:

    I’ll have to take a listen to that podcast! Thanks for the recommendation, though, not sleeping for 2 days, no matter what diet you’re on is crazy (if not downright dangerous). Keep on fighting the good fight, I am in awe of your (already!) crazy schedule. Things happen, but keep plugging.

    Oh, and, great opening photo. If you’re not sure who that is, that’s Keenan Reynolds, who was a star Naval Academy Quarterback. We’re fans of him here!

    • Laurie says:

      That is so cool! I had no idea who the player was, but I did wonder – it’s a phenomenal photo, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by, Dan – we appreciate it!

  13. Sounds like a great podcast, I’m going to check it out, I always enjoy a motivational podcast.

    Taking a MASSIVE action is a great idea. Even if you don’t achieve 100% of what you were striving for I’m sure you’ll still end up in a much better position for trying. Go big or go home.

  14. Great post. I will have to check out that podcast. I love how honest that advice is. There is no sugar coating it. Sometimes you’re not achieving your goals because you probably don’t want it that much and therefore not doing what it takes to achieve them. Oftentimes I’d hear people bemoan not being able to do XYZ, but when you ask them what actionable steps they’ve take to get there, you find out they’ve done nothing.

  15. Laurie, I’m sorry you’ve had a bumpy financial spring. I just think of how many people you’re encouraging by sharing your frustrations and your commitment to move forward in spite of them. Sounds like a great podcast. Like you, I don’t listen to podcasts because of the time factor. This one sounds worth it though!

  16. Mel says:

    Sounds like a great podcast! I’m so happy to be out of debt, but I’ve been trying to build up my savings and investments and I totally feel that for every goal I achieve, something pops up out of nowhere and knocks me off track next. It does wind up feeling awfully frustrating.

    • Laurie says:

      YES!!! That’s what seems to be happening here, but I know that if we work harder we’ll have a cushier savings rate, the debt will be paid off faster and then the pop-up expenses won’t hurt nearly as badly. Best of luck to you, Mel, and you build wealth!!!

  17. Lee Jasmann says:

    I’m afraid that I don’t have my own blog, but I do have an opinion on your post today and, to be honest, I promised myself I would write to you on THIS DAY anyway.. Laurie, I have been following your story for some time now. You are largely responsible for keeping me motivated for the 3 years of ‘frugaling’ it took to wipe out two car loans and mortgage, and another 2 to pay off the HELOC that was a result of a number of urgent and expensive home repairs. As of today, I have made the final HELOC payment, and am happy to announce to anyone who will listen that my husband and I now own our home “free and clear” and are totally debt free!

    In all of that time, I used your ideas and your encouragement to prop me up when we encountered one setback after another that, really, were just a normal part of family life. I agree with the earlier post regarding the down-side of meritocracy with regard to this particular battle. In hindsight, I feel certain that you will find that you DID ‘want it badly enough’ and WERE doing ‘everything you could’ all along, even during those times when it seemed like you were slipping. Other extreme approaches may work short-term but would not have survived the ‘long haul’ that is required for many of us.

    Stay open to keeping motivation alive by learning from others, but take pride in what YOU have accomplished. Look in the mirror: You are truly amazing. Your ability to find a work-around for whatever is thrown at you while maintaining a sense of ‘grace under fire’ is, and will continue to be, an inspiration to others. What you have been doing all this time is showing us all how to put ourselves in a safer, more sustainable situation but with a family-first focus. That is a much bigger challenge than attempting a singular focus to the detriment of your children who need you to be fully present.

    From personal experience, what really puts things into perspective is when your husband has a heart attack and all of your efforts to work harder to save money to pay down your debt faster and faster shows you a very real possibility of being debt free, but with no one to share it with. Stay the course; your day will come, and it will come without sacrificing your health, your sanity, or irreplaceable memories of a happy, fun-filled home and family.. Rejoice in YOUR journey and let someone else win the race.

    By following your example, that’s what I did and I am deeply grateful. You are the embodiment of a true hero.

    • Laurie says:

      Thank you so, so much, Lee. I cannot tell you what joy your words bring!!! Often times I feel unqualified to share advice since we’ve not reached debt freedom yet, so it is wonderful to know that we are inspiring others, which has been our goal from the beginning. And HUGE congrats to you for making your goal!!!! That is no small feat, Lee, but you did it!! I pray abundant blessings for you always!!

  18. Tiffany says:

    I have been trying to dig deep, feel and practice the word discipline in my life to save more money, but not very successfully. Your article certainly is a wake-up call, lol (notably, I hate this 3-letter expression but I had to use it here). I spent money after telling myself I am not going to eat out for a week (I barely last 4 days on this promise) and other money spending events. I look back on my last week’s expenditure, 80% could have been avoided – well, guess I didn’t want to be disciplined bad enough hence I couldn’t reach my goal.
    Thanks for the reminder, it’s a keeper.

    • Laurie says:

      Tiffany, I KNOW you can do this!! Keep trying. And track your successes as well as your failures. Keep track of every time you say “I’m choosing saving rather than spending.” Remember that you’re not denying yourself when you choose to save instead of spend – you’re rewarding yourself.

  19. I’m always looking for new podcasts to listen to. I usually toggle between the Motley Fool podcast and Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast b/c they’re under 30 minutes normally. But I will have to check out the Money Peach thanks for the recommendation.

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