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new year’s resolution

Marriage, Money

7 Ways to Go Broke in 2014

February 16, 2014

It’s still pretty early in the 2014 year and many of you likely have a slew of New Year’s resolutions you are still working on. Or have already abandoned. Or never actually started.

Perhaps some of those goals were financial goals for 2014. If you want to go broke in 2014, check out the following things to do this year:

keep-calm-you-deserve-it

1. Embrace the “I deserve this” mentality.

This type of marketing has been forced upon us in the past decade or so. It invokes a spirit of entitlement within us. We did something really hard (big week of exams, received a promotion, woke up super early every day for a week, cleaned the house, etc.) so we deserve to reward ourselves with a manicure, Starbucks, an outfit, steak dinner, etc.

I could sit here and write an entire blog post on why we don’t deserve to reward ourselves anytime we work hard…but I will refrain from that soap box for now. This reward almost always has a price tag associated with it and can drain you financially when you aren’t planning for them…especially if this is a habitual exercise.

joneses

2. Keep up with the Joneses.

We all know the Joneses. They get married and buy a gorgeous house. Then they park a brand new SUV in the driveway. They’re always going on vacation to Mexico or Europe. They’re wearing the latest trends and buying the newest technology on the market. They eat at the best restaurants in town and go to the coolest sporting events or shows on a regular basis. Surely they don’t have financial worries, right?

Wrong. Check out this article. 70% of families are living paycheck to paycheck. What you don’t know about the Joneses is that the average credit card debt for the American family is $15, 270!!!! Debt is typically the favorite tool of choice for the Joneses lifestyle. What appears to be success is actually a negative net worth. The Joneses are broke. Follow them and you will be too.

money out window

3. Never budget.

Money comes in…money goes out….who knows what happened to it?!?! This is the typical American family and is a sure-fire way to end up broke, desperate, and stupid. Check out this post for why you need a budget. But if you are trying to go broke, don’t read it or implement its advice.

impulse

4. Walk into stores without a plan.

Walk into Costco, Target, Pottery Barn, Walmart, Ann Taylor Loft, Best Buy, etc. without a game plan on what you are looking for or how much you have to spend.

You will likely end up walking around, discovering needs you didn’t know you had before you walked in, and walk out having spend a coupe hundred buckaroos. Do this a couple of times a week or even a month and all your extra cash will be gone before you blink.

creditcards

5. Put things on a credit card or payment plan.

If you want to win with money, you need to take “payment plans” off the table. Successful people don’t finance their couches. Or their bedroom furniture. Or their cars. If you have to put it on a payment plan, you can’t afford it. As the old saying goes, “Broke people ask, ‘How much per month?’ and rich people ask, ‘How much?’”

advice

7. Take advice from broke family and friends.

Everyone has people in their family or friend circle who are always ready to give bad financial advice (finance this house or car, buy this whole-life insurance policy, pre-pay your funeral costs, learn how to flip houses with 0% down and using credit, etc). Follow every bit of that advice and you will most likely end up in a hot broke mess by the end of 2014.

How do you determine good and bad financial advice? Look at the fruits in that person’s life. Are they themselves up to their eyeballs in debt? RUN and don’t listen to anything they have to say unless you want to end up just like them. Are they debt-free, living below their means, experiencing financial peace because they are intentional with their finances? Pull up a chair and listen.

tortoise

Remember the tortoise and the hare? If you want to go broke, follow the financial hares in your life and ignore the financial tortoises. We all know who ends up winning in the end, so if you are trying to go broke, you know who to listen to. 

enslaved

8. Embrace debt as a lifestyle.

If you decide in 2014 that you just can’t live the lifestyle you want to be at without debt…you will surely end up broke. This mentality is what credit card companies want you to believe. That you can’t live without them. You can’t live life at the level you want to without their “help.” That you will always have debt and you better just accept it sooner than later so you stop worrying about it. Once you start thinking about being on minimum payments for the rest of your life, you have embraced debt and will go broke soon.

OK, you’re all set to get out there and go broke in 2014! In case that isn’t what you were looking for, tune back later this week and I will blog about what to do if you want financial freedom in 2014! 🙂

Intentional Living

How to make your New Year’s resolution last

December 31, 2012

Some of you may remember my New Year’s Day post one year ago about going sugar free.

How can I say no?

Remember these?

 

I strategically titled it “Sugar-Free Start to 2012,” since it was a start…at least that wasn’t a lie! 🙂

The intention was to actually carry that out as a lifestyle from that point forward…but even in writing it I knew that I may not be totally ready or even able to cut sugar from my life 100% since we don’t live in a perfect world. Dang. I am happy to say that Jonathan and I made a LOT of progress over the past year and a majority of the time when we are in the “swing of things” and a normal routine, we eat  paleo/gluten-free/sugar-free and are exercising 5-6 days per week. We don’t even buy groceries anymore that aren’t in the “no sugar” category unless it’s for a special occasion or day. We juice frequently and love how eating the right things gives us energy and tastes delicious. Who knew Brussel sprouts were so yummy???

Now when we travel or end up in a foreign situation…it’s a whole different story. We haven’t mastered that yet. It’s tough being at the mercy of flights, other people’s food choices, holiday cookies we have emotional connections with, and lack of a schedule. I am sure a year from now we will be even better in handling those scenarios but I am pleased with the progress we’ve made. Not perfect but definitely reasonable and several steps forward.

So, what have I learned in this past year that I want to pass on to all of you doing your New Year’s Resolutions? Some tid-bits that will help you understand how to move through the processes of change and what to anticipate as you travel from the varying stages successfully. Knowing how most people experience change will but you ahead of the game so you can keep plugging along when resistance hits.

Five Stages of Change

change

 

Stage One: Pre-Contemplation

thoughts_homer

If you are in this stage you aren’t even considering a change in your life. This is a comfortable place. You don’t know what you don’t know and ignorance can be bliss at times. People in this stage aren’t seeking new things out and certainly don’t care to know about any bad lifestyle choices they are making…you are in denial that there is any other way to live than the current way things are. Can’t do a whole lot other than wait for something to spark you in this stage to begin contemplating a different life.

Stage Two: Contemplation

research2

I hate this stage. The bomb of truth has been dropped on you(exercise is actually good for you, smoking kills you, a daily prayer life is essential etc.) and there is no going back. Now you know that you know what’s right but you become keenly aware of the cost of change (time, money, no more Hot N Ready pizzas, less sleep so they can make it to the gym or chapel, etc.) This is the stage where you have to grapple with your own humanity and struggle to accept the benefits of change while weighing them against perceived or even actual losses.

Do a LOT of research during this stage. Seek truth out and find people who are nailing what you want to be doing and ask them how they created that certain habit in their life. Read books at the library, watch documentaries, find reasons that support why change is a good thing. Dream about what your life would be like if you made this change…a year from now? five years from now? How would your life be better? Search your heart and write down your own reasons for why this change is desirable.

Stage Three: Preparation

change ahead

This is a stage of low commitment but definite flirting with change is going on (buying a Stevia sweetener, going on a run once to see how it goes, reading a chapter in a book without a plan to finish, etc.) The decision that change is a good thing is made but now it’s a matter of getting around to it and this stage allows a “slow” start-up as the person starts checking things out and firm up how specific they desire to change.

You have a lot of freedom in this stage since you aren’t technically locked into anything yet. Enjoy this stage and don’t rush it. Experiment with things and continue to research but start trying your new activity on occasion. For example, if you desire to get in shape, before signing up for that half-marathon, go for a run or two…figure out if you even like running. Maybe you end up being into swimming instead but unless you prepare well and look around, you may be missing something.

Stage Four: Action

action

Change has been decided upon. Ideas have been tossed around. Now it’s time to get a SMART goal drawn up. Many New Year’s Resolutions fail because the steps leading up to this stage are glossed over. People don’t need to become experts in their area of change/growth but they at least need to have a basic foundation and have put in the “prep” work getting familiar with the sacrifices the change will bring. Jumping straight into action is a set-up for failure and disillusionment once a hard day hits. Without having internalized the reasons for change…there won’t be enough energy to keep it going.

The first week or two in the action stage will likely be a bit painful…you are doing something new and it’s going to feel awkward. It’s not a habit and some changes will actually bring some suffering to a certain degree. Maybe you are getting a little less sleep with the new workout/prayer schedule. Or everyone at work is going out for pizza but you have to say “no” and eat your lettuce wraps instead. That’s tough. Journaling about the difficulties can help and also reviewing your reasons you wrote down when you were getting started will give you motivation to keep putting in the hard work.

Stage Five: Maintenance

Female hand wiping dining table

I’ve heard it said that it takes 30 days to create a habit. This is the goal of any New Year’s resolution. I think it takes a bit longer in all reality though – more like 3 months. That way you have a holiday, a birthday, a season/weather change, and other variables to work the kinks out of the schedule. You are  progressively but surely beginning to see this foreign activity as a day in and day out activity. You are creating a habit!

There have been good days and bad days but you have been triumphant in carrying out the new routine. Reward yourself during this stage as you are hitting your goals continuously. This will create increased incentive to keep with it, strengthening your habit.

Stage Six: Relapse

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In the relapse stage it’s easy to become discouraged. Often this occurs when you breach your normal routine (traveling, sickness, holidays, busy season at work, babies are born, that “time of the month” arrives, etc.) These events will occur, so just be prepared for them. You will likely derail on the first few encounters. That’s OK. That is where I see myself at with giving up sugar…I’ve derailed for various seasons over the past year for good and bad reasons. I’ve learned my lessons and see myself getting stronger and my desires are internally changing to reflect the strength in my will. I am becoming harder to derail. There may always be an occasional relapse (at least for me with sugar) and I’m OK with that, knowing that internally I am beginning to prefer NOT eating it compared to eating it. Eventually it won’t really be a big deal for me anymore, so having some cookies at Christmas will “breach” my plan but won’t cause a total derail in my health.

Now if you aren’t feeling the internal change and breaching your plan will actually cause a total derail…it’s time to go back to earlier stages (do some research, remind yourself why you are changing, etc.) and fight to stick to the plan. Remember, if you stray from your change too early on before it becomes a habit, you are at risk for abandonment since your committment is still very new.

Now you know what to expect in the different stages as you embark on your New Year’s resolution changes!! Work your way through the stages one by one and be patient with yourself…no one is perfect!

What changes do you plan to make in 2013?