So what’s with all of these numbers anyway?
The spender can look something like this: 100 | 0 | 0
“Live” with 100% of your monthly income.
“Save” with 0% of your monthly income.
“Give” with 0% of your monthly income.
And the saver can look something like this: 80 | 10 | 10
“Live” with 80% of your monthly income.
“Save” with 10% of your monthly income.
“Give” with 10% of your monthly income.
So what are you: a spender or a saver? If you are like me, you are probably somewhere in between and your significant other is unlikely to have the same numbers as you do. There is some math to this, so be prepared to have pencil and paper in hand.
The challenge is to change your numbers so you will never revert back to being that “spender” ever again! Change your numbers gradually by a small percentage (1 to 4% each quarter) and in 8 quarters (2 years), you will be where you want to be!
Let’s start by doing a reality and motivation check.
The reality of our culture is to collect “stuff.” George Carlin, the late comedian, had a comedy sketch that nails this. George did not always use delicate vocabulary, but he sure could make you remember his point.
Our motivation to be a saver (and not a spender) is weakened by our desire to live in “ATM” mode. We like the freedom (but not the responsibility) of getting anything we want whenever we want. The secret here is timing. Go ahead and plan to spend what you want—but not all right at this very moment. Take your time (the rest of your life) doing it. The more you think about the value of your spending, the less money you will need to acquire the lifestyle that you want. It is also a sustainable approach, and that will motivate you to spend “wisely” and not “quickly!”
Say you go out to a flea market and buy a thing-a-ma-jig for almost nothing! What a great purchase, right? You put it in the garage (where the car could go) and 3 years later you realize that you haven’t used it once. You decide to donate it to Good Will and at least recycle it.
Three years ago you also spent some serious coin on a really nice self-propelled grass mower because you have too much green on your property. You own two blades and you keep them sharp which helps you get a clean cut on your lawn. You now have to buy another one because you just plum wore the thing out. Now which was the better purchase?
Well, now it’s time to do this spender-to-saver conversion plan, so let’s get organized. There are three steps that will get you on the road to abundant living.
- Track your debt and start eliminating outstanding balances.
- Live below your means. You can do things to reduce the cost of living AND increase the quality of your life.
- Save using a three bucket accumulation plan, sequentially at first and then concurrently, once you are in the savings groove.
First, go here to download your complementary copy of your Debt Trakker. Complete ALL the debt metrics because you need them to decide what to pay minimums on and what to target as your first debt victim.
Second, go here to download your complementary copy of your Budget Master. This organizer is a real eye opener and will tell you two things. It will show you where your spending makes you feel bad and where your spending makes you feel good. And I’m NOT talking about how much “stuff” you are accumulating along the way. Keep working on it until ALL your spending makes you feel good. And spending includes saving and giving.
Third: now it’s time to do your lifetime planning. Click this (Cash Flow LifeLine & Three Bucket Savings Plan) and download your handy-dandy worksheet and map your future. It gets you started on your savings path that includes cash reserve, non-retirement savings, and retirement savings.
You will start taking debt payments (once you pay off balances) and convert them into savings and giving payments. Start by fully funding cash reserves (6 months of monthly expenses covered between bank savings and unused credit lines). Then start saving for non-retirement items such as cars, homes, education, dental, eyes, vacations, remodeling. Once your cash reserves are in place and some non-retirement savings are accumulated, then you can start to fully fund retirement. You should have assassinated your debt balances by now and could have more monthly cash flow to fund your future. Remember that you are likely to live longer than you think, so go crazy with your savings. And, for the record, savings IS future spending!
Plan to spend it all, but not right now!