If you check out people’s New Year’s resolutions, I can almost guarantee that two of them come up at the top of the list—getting out of debt and losing weight. But before you start to think I’m talking about making a different resolution this long before the New Year, I want to point out that there’s actually a lot of similarity in these two goals.
What does it take to lose weight?
Watch what you eat
Develop better habits
Hold yourself accountable
Get the support that you need
And eat less than you can burn off
What does it take to get out of debt?
Watch what you buy
Develop better spending/saving habits
Have a good support system
And spend less than you make
It’s basically the same concepts, right? Let’s look at some of the other similarities.
It’s Not Going to Happen Overnight
Anyone who thinks they’re going to lose a ton of weight or pay off all their credit cards in a short time span is being totally unrealistic. Your current financial woes were caused by years of overspending and credit card use. The same is true for your weight—it came from years of poor eating habits and a lack of exercise. So, don’t expect to fix everything all at once.
Instead, set small goals for yourself. If you need to lose twenty pounds, set a goal of 1-2 pounds per week and work towards meeting that goal. If you need to pay off $10,000 worth of credit card debt, set monthly goals for setting aside the needed amount of money to reach that goal in a reasonable time. This could take a while. Don’t rush it.
The Two Struggles Can Actually Go Hand-in-Hand
One of the biggest expenses for a lot of families is fast food and eating out at restaurants. A fast food meal for one can cost almost $10 and many sandwiches at sit-down restaurants start at the same amount. Added to the problem is the food isn’t that healthy for you.
Instead, you can save hundreds of dollars a month by not eating out and instead cooking your own meals at home. Then, you can also control the portion size and the healthiness of the food which can, in turn, help you to lose weight.
You’re Going to Have Setbacks
With paying off debt and losing weight, many people get depressed by setbacks and let themselves fall back into some of the older traps. You know how it goes, right? You don’t hit your weight goal, so you get mopey and decide “What’s the point?”.
The next thing you know, you have a carton of Ben and Jerry’s in your lap and the whole diet is out the window. The same goes for debt. You could be moving along at a good clip for a few months and then get hit with a major medical bill out of nowhere. If you look at this as a roadblock to your success, you could spiral out of control and just give up. Instead, see it as just a speedbump on the path—something that will slow you down but not stop you.
There’s No Debating the Discipline Needed to Meet Your Goals
There’s a lot of similarities when it comes to paying off your debts and losing weight. But one of the biggest is the sense of satisfaction and overall happiness you’ll have if you succeed at both. Living a healthy and debt-free lifestyle should be at the top of every family’s “To Do” list.
Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!
At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.
Our kids are learning and getting skilled at so much in school these days. I’m surprised sometimes at what they learn at their age!
But there are three areas of life I’m sure we can all agree we wish we had learned in school—cleaning, cooking, and budgeting.
These are the three areas you must teach your children as soon as possible.
If your kids take off to college with these skill sets, they’ll be off to a great start as responsible adults!
This is one that you need to instill in your children early on. Make them responsible for small tasks like cleaning up the sink after they brush their teeth and then move on to more complex matters like making their bed.
By the time they go off to college, they should know how to do their own laundry, instead of bringing it back home for you to wash, and to take care of basic household cleanups such as stains. The college stereotype of students living in a pig-sty should not apply to your kids.
This skill is one that so many kids don’t master early on, leading to some major problems later.
First, your child needs to be taught how to cook healthy foods. When they go off to college, they’re going to want to lean towards quick, unhealthy junk foods that can ruin their health for years to come. (Anyone remember the “Freshman Fifteen”?)
But it also leads into the next area of budgeting as well. If your child learns now to cook his or her own food, then he won’t have to waste money eating expensive (and unhealthy) fast food.
I wish that I had learned how to manage money at a younger age. If I had, then maybe, just maybe, I would have made better decisions and not managed to rack up over $120K in consumer debt! (A word to the wise…don’t charge your entire wedding on credit cards!)
Thankfully, with A LOT of hard work and sacrifices, we were able to dig ourselves out of our mess. After that, I swore to myself that we’d never put ourselves into that predicament ever again and will make sure our kids don’t either. That’s why we help teach our kids early on about money management and how to delay gratification by saving up to buy the things you want instead of buying on credit.
Three Big Areas of Life That All Kids Can Benefit from Learning
Budgeting is just one of those life skills that every parent should instill in their children. And, of course, if they can cook and clean for themselves, it’s one less thing we have to worry about for them. If you can instill the importance of those skills at an early age, you can be sure that they will be much more successful as adults.
One of the biggest dreams for a lot of us out there is the idea of becoming 100% debt free in life. Imagine that: no credit card bills or car payment, no worrying if you are going to make it to the next paycheck. Is such a dream even possible?
I am 100% proof that it is!
But before you start thinking that I’m going to sell you on some “get-rich-quick” scheme that is going to take care of all your money woes, let me set your mind at ease. The real question for you should be “How committed are you to getting out of debt and (most importantly) STAYING out of debt?”
Every week, it seemed like we just wanted to throw up our hands and call it quits on the plan because it was so hard to say no to things like social gatherings, vacations, eating out, and shopping sprees. But in the end, we managed to stay the course and rid ourselves of $120,000 of consumer debt.
How did we pull off this miracle paying off debt? Here’s what we did that you can do too:
1. Get clear on every cent that comes in and goes out.
That means create a detailed budget so that you know exactly how much you are spending. Don’t just check your checking account. The real culprits are how much you are racking up on credit cards for nonessential items each month.
2. Once you know just how much is coming in, you need to axe every single expenditure that is not essential.
So, what qualifies as non-essential? Cable TV, subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and yes, even, those regular lattes at Starbucks.
3. Work extra.
This may sound painful, but you can’t just cut money going out. You are going to have to add money coming in. If you are working hourly, pick up as many extra hours as you can. If not, look for a second job or some other way to bring in secondary income. This doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment; just until you get a handle on your finances and get yourself out of debt.
4. The two biggest areas you can cut out, for most people, is eating out and going on vacations.
Instead, eat for much less by cooking at home and then save your money with a nice staycation.
5. Essentially, every single penny that comes in goes to pay off the essential bills.
After you cover your essentials, any money that is left over goes towards paying off the debt.
There should be no exceptions to this.
The bottom line is that you have to learn to live below your means and resist the temptations that crop up all the time to buy things that you don’t absolutely need.
We did this, day-in-and-day-out, for three years. It sucked (big time)! But it has been so worth it because now we get to enjoy our hard-earned money instead of saying goodbye to it every payday and handing it over to the creditors before anything else. This is also a HUGE lesson that we are trying to impart to our children so that they can start off on the right foot with money management.