Today’s mantra: First, establish shared life goals with your partner. Once you both want the same things out of life, the path to get there becomes quite clear. Set your priorities and your money will follow.
Today’s action: Talk about money with your partner–not just today, but on a regular basis.
I’ll admit that establishing shared life goals is something my husband and I struggle with. It’s not because we have differing goals, it’s because I’m a dreamer and planner, I like to continually be progressing and learning and my husband’s just not that way. I think part of it is personality differences and part of it is because of his health. He has a genetic disease that caused his kidneys to fail when he was 8, so I honestly think he didn’t expect to live this long.
That being said, we’re both homebodies and kind of like hanging out together, so I think we do both share the overall goal of having a slower-paced life, centered around being in our home together. I’ve pestered and encouraged my husband to dream bigger and more specific for himself, but he’s content to continue on as he is, so I decided to leave him be for the time being and focus on my own bigger goals (more on those tomorrow).
My husband and I aren’t the most materialistic people, we don’t crave the latest and greatest gadget or need to upgrade to the newest model. We don’t make many big purchases, but our downfall is on the little purchases that add up to lots of money. Eating out a couple times a month, getting a treat here and there, and snagging a couple e-books that were on sale. When you only have a couple hundred dollars left over after bills, these small purchases take a big chunk out of our potential savings.
When you break things down, my biggest downfall is buying little things I want that are on sale- ebooks, audiobooks, sewing patterns. Do you see a pattern? I hoard knowledge. I buy things because I want the promised knowledge inside. The problem is I buy them faster than I can consume them, and since they weren’t a planned purchase, I tend to forget I bought them soon afterward. Buying a healthy cookbook does me no good if I forget that it exists!
This is one of the reasons I love Liz’s 72 hour buy list. All my little purchases are impulse buys. They were things I didn’t even know existed until I saw they were on sale. In Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, he says that if you want to create a habit, reduce the number of steps needed to accomplish it to make it easier, and if you want to break a habit, increase the number of steps to make it harder. In an effort to do this, I’ve deleted all my saved credit card numbers online, so when I want to make a purchase, I have to physically go get my card and type the number in. My hope is that I’ll either be too lazy to do that, or the delay I’ve built in will give me time to reconsider my purchase.
I think a beneficial exercise for me would be to regularly visualize the life I want. To sit and really daydream what it would be like, to be home with my husband, working in my garden, or sewing a dress. Then hold on to that dream and make sure all my decisions bring me closer to that life.
Something else that would be beneficial for me would be to tell my husband about every purchase I want to make. Make him my accountability partner so I can be more successful. If I tell him what my goal is and to not let me do x, y or z, he’ll hold me to it. He’s good about keeping me on track and not letting me get away with the little things.
I love how Liz focuses all her money discussions around what your life goals are. If your choices aren’t bringing you closer to your dreams, then you’re doing it wrong. That’s definitely something I’m still working on- not letting my immediate desires get in the way of my long-term desires.
What is your life goal? Have you sat down and discussed this with your partner? Do your goals align? How can you help each other move toward your goals together?