How to Meet Any Financial Goal You Set For Yourself

October 27, 2014 Permalink

how to reach a goal

Five years ago, I was overspending by hundreds of dollars a month on things that I neither really wanted nor needed. Whether it was a tank top on sale for $5, a or cinnamon bun in the food court for $7, nothing was off limits.

I worked in a mall, so I was surrounded every day by shopping, consumerism, and “blowout sales”.

This resulted in a hamster wheel of living paycheque to paycheque. The only thing preventing me from sinking deep into credit card debt was that my credit limit was $800.

I moved in 2010, resulting in a complete overhaul of my life. My environment had completely changed. Instead of working in a mall, I worked on a farm. Instead of spending thousands of dollars a year on junk, my money accumulated and I started the first long term savings account I’d ever had.

When I moved, my time was spent with people who were ambitious and inspired, and I drank the poison.

I moved with no plan to enter into a degree program; I was going to get my diploma and be done with it. My friends’ drive influenced me to enter into a degree program. I graduated two years later, already working in my chosen field.

A change in my environment – what I did, where I was, and who I spent time with – completely changed my life.

Study after study demonstrates your environment’s affect on your progress in health, business, and various other pain points.

Knowing this, we can design our lives so our environment is such that it would be difficult to fail at goals.

We’ve heard the old adage “out of sight out of mind”, and know how true it is for dieters. People who want to try to make a dietary change for the better aren’t going to have much success if their favorite dessert is sitting on the counter.

Your environment has such a huge impact, even, that according to a study done by Brown University, if a teen has three or more friends who smoke, their likelihood of picking up the nasty habit increases by 2,400%.

Who you surround yourself with and what you see and do on a daily basis can make or break your success in meeting a goal or making a lifestyle change.

How to Meet Any Financial Goal You Set For Yourself

If you spent an hour a day with Jillian Michaels, chances are you’d have a higher level of weight loss success than spending an hour a day with a self indulgent friend who is 50 pounds overweight.

If you go to the grocery store and buy chips, it’s going to be awfully hard not to eat them when you take them home.

Consider your finances. If you are in debt, how can you change your environment to ensure that you get out of it?

You could start a blog to track your progress and connect with like-minded people. If you have a weakness for spending money on consumer goods, unsubscribe from promotional emails, flyers and catalogues. Take a different route home from work if you drive by your favorite store.

If you want to make more money, surround yourself with people who make more than you do. Subscribe to a blog about income generation, such as smartpassiveincome.com. Ensure that the posts are delivered right to your inbox each morning. You’ll be compelled to read them.

If your goal is to eat out less, ensure that you have your refrigerator stocked with food that you like, and that you have some easy-to-prepare recipes on hand. Don’t walk by any restaurants at lunch.

Your environment has a huge impact on your success. Watch out for these three things when trying to reach a goal:

– Who you spend time with
– Where you spend your time
– What triggers you expose yourself to

Trying to work around these triggers will only make your transition much more difficult, so if you do reach the goal, it will be at the expense of your will power.

Design your environment in such a way that will help, as opposed to hinder your progress.

How to Manifest Good Money Luck Into Your Life

October 13, 2014 Permalink

Ever since that one incredibly lucky streak in July that left us $4,400 richer in lump sum and $40 richer each month, J and I have been rolling in the financial luck. It’s as if we’ve been eating horseshoes for breakfast.

I have been updating you each week about our financial wins, and there have been plenty. From the government sending us three cheques, to getting free movie tickets, price adjustments and increased business activity, things over here are going nuts. See week one here, week two here, and week three here.

Even though we never buy lottery tickets, I have been joking with J that we should, because we would probably win.

I actually get excited to get home and open the mail, because every second envelope we open lately has either been a cheque or news that will impact our finances for the better.

I’m definitely not complaining and we have no reason to think that the buck stops here – ha ha, literally.

As airy fairy as it sounds, I have an inkling that a lot of this good luck has been because we have been manifesting it through gratefulness and positive thinking.

good money luck

Being Grateful, Positive Thinking and the Avalanche Effect

Our financial lucky streak really started a couple of months ago, after we returned home after a long weekend in our hometown for our wedding.

Our entire huge, messy family, blood and non-blood related, came from all over Canada to love on us that week. People who seemed apathetic before the festivities began showed up, suited up, and helped to make our wedding so damn special.

The little things that I was stressed out about pre-wedding melted away; I didn’t give a crap if nobody read the signs that I worked so hard on for the tables or that the wind made my veil almost eat my face on my walk down the aisle. All that mattered was that everyone was there, for us, to celebrate us.

I can say right now with certainty that neither my (now) husband nor I have ever felt so incredibly blessed, loved, and supported than during our wedding week, and I think that launched our good luck.

When you are incredibly humbled and grateful for what you have, you feel more positive. When you are more positive, you attract more positivity. Like attracts like.

It’s that avalanche effect.

Positivity Kicks You Into Action

A positive person is generally a more productive person, because they are more motivated. In fact, on Zen Habits, Leo posted the number one motivation hack as being: “always think positive”.

There’s this incredible focus and inspiration that is generated by the type of community we experienced, with that type of love, and that much support. It feels like magic, maybe, but it’s not; it is this energy that you feel that gives you the ability to get things done, that propels you forward and makes things more clear.

Our positive feelings and the thoughts of our bright future made us recognize the low hanging fruit all around us. We took opportunities that we normally wouldn’t have taken, either because of a lack of noticing them, or because it seemed too much hassle to do so.

We recognized the luck as it came, and didn’t just write it off as a one-time thing.

Counting Your “Blessings”

Social media rips on the people who hashtag #blessed after every little thing, and while it’s pretty silly to feel #blessed over a pumpkin spice latte, there is a lot of power in feeling grateful and counting your blessings.

In fact, many lifestyle gurus and people who have realized great success in their lives attribute gratitude to their prosperity. This article by Geoffrey James sums it up nicely.

Being grateful makes things clear. It puts things in perspective and cuts out the noise. When you’re thinking about how grateful you are for the opportunity to make money from home, you aren’t bemoaning having to do your own taxes or clean your own home office.

Being grateful clears your head of the mundane, small negativities that creep into the mind, leaving more emotional room to create, grow, and prosper.

Making Your Own Luck

Was our financial lucky streak pure luck? Of course not; there’s no magic in this world. The creators of “The Secret” franchise would perhaps leave it at just that: manifestation and visualization. I’m not convinced that explains it.

Being grateful and positive is extremely motivating. Some things were just luck for us, yes, but the increased business success and some of the other savings and earnings opportunities came because we were paying more attention. We didn’t have negative feelings or emotions clouding our mind’s eye, so there was nothing fogging up the opportunities available to us.

We have experienced much the same since we went on our honeymoon in mid September. Travel has a knack of stoking gratitude in even the least grateful of  people, especially travel to the developing world.

Stay grateful and positive, even when it’s hard to do so, and you’ll make your own luck by allowing yourself to de-clutter your mind, making room for more awareness of opportunities.

Things get hard sometimes, yes, and often because of factors outside of our control. I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize that. But if you make a habit out of practicing gratitude, opportunities will be more easily taken, and no matter how hard things get and for whatever reason, you’ll always have something to be thankful for.

How Far Can An Extra $40 Per Month Go?

September 10, 2014 Permalink

what can i buy for $40 month

The other day, I announced on Twitter that I was cutting the data plan on my phone and that it would save me $40/month.

I followed my Tweet up with a post about exactly why I decided to cut my data plan, and lo and behold, it has nothing to do with money. I do love money, though, and there is no better financial feeling than having more of it in your pocket, so I thought it would be fun to examine the financial benefit that I’ll experience from this choice.

My cell phone plan has reverted back to the basic text and talk plan, so that will save me a cool $40/month. For those of you who don’t have a calculator handy, that’s $480 per year.

$480 per year is no small number. Instead of inflating our lifestyle by $480/year, we plan on using that money for something more worthy than dinners out or useless trinkets. Here are a few things that we could do with that chunk of change:

Pay For a Month’s Accommodation in Bali

We could extend our honeymoon by a month, or go again sometime and pay for an entire month’s stay in Bali using AirBNB, based on the accommodation cost of our honeymoon.

Since I would save $480 for every single year that I go without data, I could do this once a year. Not bad!

Fly to Cancun

$480 would buy me a round trip flight to Cancun, according to Kayak’s Explore tool. It would score both J and I flights to Los Angeles, with the deal I got in June. With all of the travelling I’ll be doing in the next year, I won’t even need a data plan.

Turn it Into $3,379

Invested for 40 years at a modest rate of return of 5%, that $480 could end up being worth more than seven times it’s original value. That’s the beauty of compound interest.

If I invested it in an RRSP every year I went without a data plan, this number would be far larger. In fact, I’d be able to retire a year earlier if I went without a data plan for a number of years.

Save us $5,948

If we chose to put the $40/month toward the mortgage principle for each month left, could save us $5,948 in interest over the life of our mortgage, and shave about another year off of the payback time.

That almost $6,000 could buy us a pretty awesome trip to Europe or Asia, or a new (to us) vehicle.

Buy a Kayak

If we saved the $40 per month, in two years time we could buy a kayak. We’ve wanted a kayak for some time now, since we live close to the ocean and some lakes. How much fun would it be to have a kayak?

We could buy a used kayak in about a year of the savings if we found one on Craigslist.

Score a Canon Eos Rebel TSi

I’ve been lusting after this camera for awhile now. My iPhone camera does the trick for the most part but who doesn’t want a new toy to play with every once in awhile? Especially considering the amount of travel I’ll be doing in the next couple of years.

If I bought this in the states, I’d have enough after two years.

 Snag an Apple Watch

Apple recently announced it’s new product: a watch. It’s not just any watch, it’s a smart watch, and it will be on the market in early 2015 for around $350. I could snag an Apple Watch in just under the average human gestation period, if I were so inclined (which I’m not).

 

Apparently, $40/month can go quite far! How’s that for an argument for picking up an extra couple of hours at work or starting a side business?