“Save Like There’s…No Tomorrow??”

“Like there’s no tomorrow” seems to be used an awful lot to motivate people to do things they wouldn’t want to do otherwise, but have you ever noticed how seldom it makes sense? The most recent example I saw was, “Save like there’s no tomorrow.”

Umm…if there’s no tomorrow, what the heck am I saving for?

I’d actually go so far as to say the complete opposite encouragement makes more sense most of the time. “Save like there will always be a tomorrow,” because the important question is what kind of tomorrow you want to have.

Take a sober look at your life. Do you like it? No really. Do you like your life? Do you spend most of your time doing things you want to do? Do you deal primarily with people you enjoy? If not, for the love of all that is good, CHANGE SOMETHING.

What’s the number one answer people give when you ask them how they are? Believe it or not, “Busy” has edged out “fine.” Why is the way we start most complications a thinly veiled complaint? Why are people content to live like that?

The way you get to live tomorrow depends primarily on how you choose to live today. Simplify your life. Manage your money according to your priorities. Be honest about who you are, what you want, and who you love. Make decisions because they’re right for the life you want, not because someone else has taught you to think you should.

‘Cause the fact of the matter is, while today will probably have a tomorrow (every other day has), someday you’ll reach a day that won’t, and nobody can tell you when that’s going to come.

If you have to choose anything to do “like there’s no tomorrow,” don’t let it be something stupid about money. Let it be “love.”

Leave a Comment

Budgets Are for Weenies

That’s right. I said it. Maybe it’s because I had a discussion earlier with a Twitter user who thinks budgets are “sexy” (yes, really), but I just had to come out and say it. I hate budgets. Everybody hates budgets. Nobody in the world actually thinks budgets are sexy.

You know what people do think is sexy? Directing your life toward your goals. (Your whole life, actually, not just your finances, but what do you think this is? An “everything in your whole life” blog?).

Wait a minute, I hear you thinking (thought-hearing is a blogger super power–did we not tell you?). You’re just going to advocate a “budget” by some other sneaky name.

But you’re wrong. I mean it. I think budgets suck.

Here’s what I do instead. We’re all about turning financial wisdom on its head over here, right? So let’s get started. Rather than looking at what I plan to spend, I look at what I did spend. It’s that easy. And maybe a little bass-ackward. But it works.

At the end of the month, I pull up my Mint account (paranoia is for the birds; if cyber criminals wanted your information, they’d have it already) and make sure everything is in the right categories. Then I look at each one. “Holy bananas. I spent $1,364* on fast food?” Then I ask myself one question, over and over, for each category:

Was it worth it?

Did I get $1,364* worth of enjoyment out of that fast food? In this case, heck no. All I got was some bad gas and a few extra hours on a stationary bike. Why would I trade that many of my dollars for crap? So you know what happens the next time I’m driving by McDonald’s? Well, first I have to consider whether it’s worth getting out of the car and going inside because I spent so much on fast food the month before that I still haven’t had the money to replace the motor in my driver’s side window and it’s really embarrassing to have to open the door, but THEN I remember, “Oh yeah. When I spend money here, it isn’t worth it.”

Bam. Priorities directed. The next month, sure enough, less spending on fast food. Eventually, right around the time it hits $8, I think, “Yeah, you know what, those three times I needed a Dollar Menu meal in a pinch were worth it. It’s hard to be prepared 100% of the time. I’m cool with 90%.”

No “See? I’ll never live up to my budget.” No “I always fail at my plans.” Just “Ugh. Fast food isn’t worth it.”

And you know what that is? Way sexier than budgeting.

*I put an asterisk so you’d think I didn’t really spend that much on fast food. Who’d want to admit that?

Leave a Comment

But WHY?

The last thing the world needs is another personal finance blog. Everything from getting out of debt, retiring so early it’s almost like you never worked, lifestyle design, and entrepreneurship has been covered. If you want to make your own laundry detergent or stop shampooing your hair, frugality blogs have you covered. If you want to go off the grid entirely, financial independence blogs are your thing. If you want to build the next big thing, there are great entrepreneurship blogs.

But if you’ve been following them for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed your interest goes in phases. Maybe starting out, you were really interested in Get Rich Slowly or The Simple Dollar. You couldn’t get enough of their tips on how to cut the fat from your life mercilessly so you could spend your money on the things that matter to you. But then you took their conclusions to their logical end and thought, “Well hey, if I can get my expenses low enough, it wouldn’t take very long to save enough to retire in my 30s,” only to find out Early Retirement Extreme had already been written and Mr. Money Mustache was all over how to make that aha! moment a reality. But halfway through the ten years it’s supposed to take to reach this early retirement phase, you get bored with whatever job has you chained to a desk chair in a cubicle, so you start wondering if you’d be better off building your own business doing something that actually matters to you. You start poking around and find Smart Passive Income and Click Millionaires and realize the internet is a veritable minefield of business opportunities.

The disappointing part for me was the day I started evaluating whether I even wanted to follow some of my old favorites anymore. I felt like people got so stuck in a certain phase that they never expected to grow out of it. If I’m not growing, am I even living?

It hit me that it’s completely natural to go through levels in my personal finance journey. Once I stop spending more than I earn and limit my losses, I start paying off debt to loosen my limitations, and once the debt is gone, I save enough money so I can  jump out of the workaday world and liberate my life, building something that excites me. When that takes off, I’ll have the fun opportunity to invest in whatever I want, choosing the things I really think will improve the world, leaving my legacy.

That’s what I intend to do with this blog. If you want to read all the articles associated with whichever stage you’re in, use the character category links, but if you’d rather keep your eye on the bigger picture, it’ll all be right here!

Where are you in your personal finance journey?

Leave a Comment