Those are big, awesome goals.
But big, awesome goals take a lot of time and energy to achieve. Before you can make visible, sustainable progress towards those big goals you have to fix the foundational cracks in your financial life. Then the new habits will grow and blossom and all of a sudden your big goals will seem achievable overnight. But that process of rebuilding takes time. With my clients, I call this phase “slogging through the mud” because they are in it, doing the work, but the progress isn’t visible yet. It’s the most delicate place to be. Because honestly?
Most people need a quick win to stay motivated.
So while I’m all about the big lofty goals, I think you also need to set smaller goals, or intentions, that you can work on and achieve now.
Get the quick win. Feel the motivation from achievement. Refuel yourself for the big goals.
There are endless money intentions you could focus on to improve your relationship with my money.
But my favorite intention: Use what you have.
Everything you own came with a price tag. The unopened spices in your cabinet have a price tag. The unused bath salts in your bathroom have a price tag. The forgotten toys in the closet have a price tag.
Some of it you might love and cherish. Some of it might feel like clutter. Some of it you might have forgotten about.
But it is there, and it has value!
So for a month (or longer!) resolve to use what you have before you buy anything new.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Use what food you have
When my clients focus on using what food they already have for a month, there is a noticeable difference in their food budget. While that decrease in food spend isn’t sustainable, it’s a great way to work on your short term cash flow. And it can be a game! The last time we did this, my husband saw a few ingredients in our pantry for a meal I would have never come up with. But cooking it together ended up being really fun and it turned out delicious.
Do all your laundry
Anytime you feel like you need new clothes, do all your laundry first. I’m telling you, this works for me every time! Once I get all my favorite things washed and ready to go again, I realize how much I have and how little I need. Now, if you still have a need for something after all the clothes are clean, by all means, get it. I love clothes too. But strive to buy with intention, not out of habit or entertainment. (BTW this works when I think my son needs new clothes too!)
Read the books you own
Book lovers love to buy books (guilty!) but they can pile up unread since most of us don’t have quite as much time to read as we want. Before you buy the latest and greatest, read the books you have. I bet you have some gems just waiting to be discovered. And if you really need the latest and greatest, use the library!
Use your memberships
Online courses you have bought. Music or media subscriptions. Gym or recreational memberships. Look at them with fresh eyes. Are there aspects of the memberships you aren’t making use of? Or maybe you just need to spend some time with the service and get to know and love it again. This is also a good time to just cancel the membership if it isn’t serving you.
Use your luxury items
Burn the nice candle. Diffuse the nice oils. Wear the expensive makeup. Using the nice things you are saving for a special occasion has such a way of replenishing you. Instead of hoarding these items, work on the abundant mindset that there is more where that came from!
Use your gift cards
Most of us have one or two gifts cards floating around that we haven’t thought to cash in. Maybe it’s a simple coffee card or a restaurant you have never been to. Use them!
Use your resources
If someone in your network is offering to help you with something… let them! I think, as women especially, we are programmed to say no to the help. But help is a resource that has a lot of value. This, specifically, is an intention I’m focusing on in 2019. Yes to babysitting offers, even when I feel bad it puts the other person out. Yes to friends consulting me on business topics they are an expert in. Simple, but something I’m working on for sure.
The reason I call this a money intention is that it doesn’t require measurement, timelines or discipline. It just requires thoughtful awareness of your choices as you go about your daily life. And anytime you remember your intention and make a different, more aligned decision, you are doing it. Change your relationship with money, change your relationship to stuff, one decision, and one dollar at a time!