Yes, that is a picture of my car back end taped together with guerilla tape! No, it does not look good. My liftback opener part broke a month ago. Any other time in my life, I would have been so embarassed at how this looked. I would have rushed out and spent the $500 to have my tailgate part fixed at the dealer. However, since I have been on a Total Money Makeover, now I am willing to look bad for a while if it means maintaining my nest egg. So I decided to cashflow Christmas and a computer repair in December, and put this car repair in January's budget. Got the part used for $200 and I am going to install it myself!
The whole point of my story is that "keeping up with the Joneses" and trying to look good can actually keep us from achieving our financial goals. We can spend beyond our means just trying to impress other people. Other people don't usually really care, and this puts a neediness in our spirit, an unwillingness to be content with what is. When we are always striving to please others, we are not content. So dropping the need to please helps us feel better, AND it helps us save money.
Sometimes we can even make big sacrifices in our desire to look good in order to hit our goals faster! Another thing that helped me pay off $20,000 in debt and save an extra $20,000 in 2 years was deciding to have a roommate. Would I rather have my townhouse apartment for myself and my children alone? Yes absolutely! But does having a roommate help me save $ faster? Yes! Thus the decision was made.
What are your financial goals? Perhaps you'd like to have extra in the bank as a cushion for peace of mind? Want to pay off debt? Build some wealth for your retirement? Whatever your goals may be, take a look at your lifestyle. Where could you sacrifice temporarily to amp up your cash? Here are some ways people have been willing to "look bad" in the short-term so their bank accounts can look good in the long-term!
1. Driving a beater car. Dave Ramsey often talks about how he drove a beater when he was getting out of debt, and it helped his family dig themselves out of a financial mess. He recommends a safe, reliable car, that is UGLY. That will do the job.
2. Having a roommate or cheap housing. Many people pay way too much for their housing. The recommended amount is 25% of your take-home pay. If your rent/mortgage is more than that, or if you want to accelerate saving, you may want to consider taking on a boarder. One great benefit of a roommate is they can help feed the cat when you are gone.
3. Wearing your old clothes until they wear out. Most of us(except my 11 year old son who has grown 3 sizes in one year!) have plenty of clothing in our closets. Why shop for the latest fashions when you can shop in your own closet? Of course get what is necessary. But adding a new pair of earrings or scarf can jazz up old clothes anytime.
4. Using older electronic devices, including phones. Do you really NEED an iphone 7? When we think about it, all of our cell phone and digital entertainment devices are wants, not needs. So what if your phone doesn't have the latest bells and whistles? If it works, it works.
5. Taking your lunch to work and making your own coffee at home. Aah...leftovers! I used to hate them, and I have grown to love them. They are actually delicious! Especially when they come with the taste of success! And don't get me started on how much money giving up my latte habit has saved me! Cha-ching!
What ways have you been willing to "look bad" in order to get financial traction? Let us know what has worked for you! And remember, when you are not driven by the desire to please others all the time, you actually have true contentment. You can be grateful for what you have right now. And as you grow into more prosperity, that contentment goes with you. Then you have spiritual, as well as material, wealth.
Coach. Teacher. Author. Speaker.