Planning Financially to Accomplish Everything You Want in the Year Ahead (without budgeting).

As I plan for 2018, my two main intentions include experiencing additional travel along and making various improvements to my home environment.  Accomplishing both in the same year will require a substantial financial investment.  Without a defined plan, the year could slip by without accomplishing exactly what I set out to do. 

That's why I need to devise a plan. A plan that will give purpose and intention to how I spend and allocate my money. Therefore I ensure most, if not all of my goals come to fruition.
The moment I decided to take several trips next year while spending thousands on home improvements, my first instinct was to put the upgrades off until the following year.  But then I challenged myself to think bigger and figure out a way to do both. 

Typically, if we want to spend less money, we default to budgeting.  Budgeting is a great option but I often have resistance towards it.  I think of budgeting like dieting. It's imposing a restriction, for a period of time, in order to produce a result.  Instead of dieting financially, I'd like to promote a change in lifestyle that easily creates the outcomes I want. 

I still want my lifestyle to feel more or less the same while I recreate my financial outcomes.  With all said, here are some of the actions I'll take to ensure that everything will get accomplished.

Most of my spending takes place on my American Express Card.  When the bill comes, I transfer the money from my checking to pay the balance in full.  Sometimes, after seeing the statement balance, I'll ask myself, "what did I buy?"  Then I review my spending line by line.  This basically lets me know that I have low to no awareness when it comes to how I spend my money.  I'm sure every expense made sense at the time but did they contribute to my overall goal

 More importantly, did the mindless spending bring me farther away from my bigger intentions?

Yesterday, I watched Darren Hardy's the Compound Effect speech as part of my annual, end of year ritual.  During his talk, Darren tells the story of being a young, successful real estate broker, earning a great living.  At the end of the year, his accountant congratulates him because his taxes owed was only $20,000.  

Darren was in shock because he hadn't set aside any money (he spent every penny of what he earned that year).  Stunned, his accountant gave him a stern warning that if he kept heading in the same direction, he would be financially bankrupt.  The accountant then changed Darren's life by advising him to write down every single expense on a notepad. The simple act of writing down every penny spent raised Darren's awareness in an incredible way.  He says that's what elevated him from being a guy who made a lot of money to become a person of wealth. Awareness changed everything. I need this type of awareness in my life.  

Once awareness comes into the picture, we activate the next most powerful tool in reallocating our spending in a powerful way. And that is CHOICE.  I need to make the distinction to see if the purchases I make are based out of habit or if they are conscious choices.  I have this problem of buying the same thing over and over again.  Even if it's not exactly the same, it's similar enough. There are lots of problems with this behavior but my main concern is that I'm spending based on who I was in the past versus what I want to experience in the future. I need to question whether or not the purchase is even necessary.     When I make buying decisions, my intention is to determine if this money would be better allocated toward my vision of travel and elevating my environment.  

Probably the most powerful step I've taken to reallocate my flow of money is saving using automatic withdrawals.  Our spending usually balloons to meet our bank account balance.  If I leave too much money in my checking account, I'm likely to spend more.  That's why I used the Digit App to randomly pull out money from my balance.  It transfers random amounts on a daily basis. As I see the balance decline, I slow down on my spending.  I also draft a certain amount each month into a separate saving account.  But I think I'll rename that account to something like "2018 Goals & Intentions" or "2018 Lifestlye Buliding" or something like that.  That way, every time I log in, I'm reminded that I'm on a mission. To increase the speed at which that account grows, I'll increase the increase the frequency to 2X a month.  If we automate our savings, building up lump sums of cash will seem effortless.  This is an example of a lifestyle change versus budgeted dieting.

Lastly, I don't just want to save money, I want to earn more of it.  One New Years Resolution I'll make is to increase my income.  Doesn't have to be fancy, I could sell stuff I don't need on Ebay and allocate the money toward my intentions.  I could play around with the idea of working on a project with the goal to generate a certain amount.  The possibilities are endless. I believe in the idea of expanding our income, not just saving to get what we want.  Don't get me wrong, I love saving money. But I also strongly believe in expanding our earning potential.

Maybe I won't accomplish every single intention on my list. But I'm pretty confident that more will manifest than if I just walked into the year blindly hoping that everything will just magically work out for the best. 

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