Your friends or your money
So you want to feel good about your financial position. You are ready to show up for yourself and take this on! Yeah!
Now comes the next question: where do I start?!
Because I'm a practical person, I think it's a good idea to know where you're going. Take a moment and jot down some goals. Use this post to help.
Next, you're going to have to enroll some key people in your life. Who do you hang around the most? Who influences your spending decisions? Who do you have to have a conversation with so that you can live with integrity and stay true to what's most important to you?
When I decided to make a big change from spender to saver, not only did I have to battle my own habits but I had a hell of a time getting my social group on board with my new savings plan. As a yes person and life of the party, it was so tough for me that I can easily recall the anxiety now, 5 years later!
Once I started looking at how I spent my time I realized that most of my social activities were geared around spending. Saturdays would start with run club and brunch ($), followed by a trip to Costco ($) or a walk around my neighbourhood shops ($). Most weekends included dinner and drinks ($) followed by dancing or a show ($). Living in the city means you can always find a million things to do like concerts, shopping or drinks on a patio. Life can easily be about meeting friends for lunch, brunch, dinner, picking up fresh cut flowers and clothes to make sure you look cool. Before you know it, there goes your money!
Changing my ways required a true, deep desire to change and strategies for my new lifestyle.
Open the conversation
I'd love to tell you that if you explain yourself, your friends will jump on board! And of course, some people in your life will be supportive and encouraging.
Once I decided that I was going to be debt free, I knew there were key people with whom I had to set boundaries. I let my friends know that I'd decided to take a break from spending money until my student loan was paid in full. I'd love to do lower cost activities like eat brunch in and go for bike rides or hikes on the weekend.
Easy right? Well, at first I was still invited to go out all the time. And I really hated always saying no. I wanted to go out but I knew what was important in my heart. Weeks went by and as I stuck to my new program some friends got on board and some friends fell away. There were times that I felt lonely, sad and deprived but somehow I had the faith to keep going. I knew how I wanted to feel and was not going to stop until I was debt free. Besides, I was making the choice to be debt free on a daily basis and almost didn't believe I could commit to this forever.
After the amazing results of paying off $12,000 in 6 months, I knew I couldn't go back to my old lifestyle. My unwavering self discipline allowed me to prove to myself that I was capable of prioritizing the things that are truly important. I felt empowered because I learned so much about myself and my money. It was a giant leap toward believing that a debt-free life was possible!
This is your journey
5 years into my FI journey, I still have to remind myself that this way of life is my journey and my choice. Finding meaning outside of buying things and paying for entertainment is still counterculture. Deciding to publish my blog meant that I had to face the big ugly beast again. The FI lifestyle is just that, a lifestyle. It is the way I choose to live to achieve my goals faster and live my version of my best life.
I'm assuming that if you've read this far, this must be resonating! What kind of changes will you make or have you made to get closer to living the best version of your life?