I’ll never forget the day in 2004 when my husband called me at work to tell me he’d lost his job. I immediately packed my things and headed home. I remember standing before him in the bedroom, 7-months pregnant with our second child, fear-stricken, with no clue how we were going to manage a new baby all while paying our bills and debt payments with a single income.
What should have been an immediate wake- up call for us turned out to be the beginning of an 11-year struggle for financial independence.
Depending on who you ask, financial independence can mean something different. For some it’s just being debt-free, for others, it’s having multiple streams of income, or simply never having to rely on a paycheck again. Regardless of what meaning you apply to the term, the bottom line is in order to achieve financial independence, your spending habits need to be a reflection of your longer-term goals and objectives.
The mistake I see most often with clients is not understanding the direct correlation between money coming in and money going out. In other words, they aren’t living on a monthly budget.
I know. The dreaded “B” word.
Budgets get a bad rap. But I’m here today to break down in the simplest terms why budgeting is the key to your financial independence.
If you are planning a road trip, you likely start with identifying where you want to go, then you plug the destination into the search field of your GPS app and hit GO. Along the way, you may encounter delays, roadblocks, or even car trouble, all of which require you to pause and re-evaluate your plan. Once you figure out how to solve the problem in front of you, back on the road you go. You probably didn’t enjoy the delays or roadblocks but it was part of the journey and you eventually made it safely to your destination.
In this analogy, your destination is the goal you set for yourself and your budget is your state-of-the-art GPS app directing and guiding you to your goal. I see so many people give up on budgeting within the first 30 days because they don’t have a final destination in mind. Budgeting is something they believe they have to do, but they don’t really know why it’s important.
Do you have dreams of something bigger for your life that you aren’t able to make happen because of your current financial situation? Whether it’s a mountain of debt or a lack of income, is money holding you back from making those dreams a reality?
If the answer to either of those questions is YES, then it’s time to draw a line in the sand. You have to decide whether you want to continue being the person who stays stressed and overwhelmed about money or become the person who sees money as a tool to make an impact on their family and the world.
My husband eventually found work in his field and we returned to our old habits. It would be another 11 years before we realized we wanted to stop being the couple who always stressed about money. In 2014, we made our final student loan payment, cut up and closed all our credit cards, and haven’t looked back. We buy things with cash and we are intentional with our spending. We don’t always get it right, but our entire motivation is centered around never feeling like a slave to the lender ever again.
Once you discover your WHY, you’ll be unstoppable.
Most couples, and this may include you, don’t realize the biggest mistake they are making is not understanding each other’s money origin story. How you grew up around money plays a key role in how you manage money today as an adult. And because everyone’s money origin story is different, spouses often find themselves struggling to communicate about money, which causes a tremendous amount of overwhelming stress that can easily be avoided. Take my Marriage Money Story Quiz to find out what money story is ruling your marriage, and get a personalized plan to help you swap arguments for abundance!
Jennie helps married couples stop living paycheck to paycheck so they can decrease stress over money and begin saving and planning for their future. Unlike other programs that focus solely on budgeting, Jennie helps transform your individual relationship with money so you can have a thriving marriage AND a healthy bank account.
Jennie is a native of Lexington, KY and now resides in Indiana with her husband and four children.
You can find her hanging out in her private Facebook group Financial Freedom Accelerators
Special thanks to our guest writer Jennie Webb!