You can probably rattle off what your basic necessities are: they’re expenses like housing payments, food, transportation costs, and so forth.
You may need to think a little longer, however, about the things that are important to you. For instance, let’s say education is important to you.
Then you might choose to spend a portion of your money each month or each year in the area of educational pursuits – perhaps yours or a family member’s.
Why do you think that scores of parents across this country sacrifice to be able to send their kids to private school or to the college of their children’s choice?
Don’t you think these parents could be spending their money elsewhere? Sure they could. But they don’t because they value education. And they look at the dollars they spend on tuition, books, etc., as an investment in their children’s future.
Let’s consider also the things that give you joy. In your budget, these should be things that are long-lasting and or memorable.
A lot of time experiences and events give us far more joy than material goods and products. Remember that fun family vacation or that romantic getaway you took with your sweetheart? Chances are, that travel experience from three years ago burns in your memory more than the clothes you bought on last month’s shopping spree.
Even when “things” are the source of joy, they can often be short-lived. How many times have you bought an item from a store – maybe it was a fancy dress, a new gadget, or some home furnishing – only to have the novelty of that item wear off faster than you could pay off the credit card bill for that thing?
This pattern of acquiring more and more unfulfilling stuff often starts early in life. Think of how children respond to receiving gifts. On a rare occasion, you might give a kid a toy teddy bear and he might keep it for years on end.
More often than not, however, is the case of the kid who gets 10 or 20 gifts during the December holidays. What happens? He plays with a toy for all of 15 minutes never to return to it again. I ask you: which child experienced true joy in their gift?
So when you work up your Millionaire in Training Budget, be sure to list those categories that give you joy – whether it’s travel, philanthropy, some leisure activity or hobby, or personal care treatments such as manicures and pedicures.
The idea is to list some things in your budget that you actually want to spend money on – as opposed to only having things in your budget on which you have to spend money. In my budget, for example, two of the items I include that give me joy are “vacations” and “books.” I do this because I know I love to travel. And I’m also a book junkie who enjoys reading and buying books from retailers.
When I take a summer vacation, however, I don’t just wait until July rolls around, and then whip out a credit card to pay for the trip. That’s not planning ahead. Instead, I put aside some savings each month to total the amount of money that will be required for that trip.
So if I know I want to spend, say, $1,000 on a trip that starts July 1st, and I begin saving for that trip in January, then that means I’ll have six full months to build up my vacation fund. And to accumulate the required $1,000 by July 1, I’ll have to put away roughly $167 a month to fund the trip.
This way, my spending is well thought out and I enjoy myself more while on vacation, because I don’t have to fret about a big credit card bill later.
Some of you may be saying “In my budget, after I handle my basic necessities, I don’t have enough left over to pay for things that give me joy or things that are important to me.” For the present time, don’t worry about money that’s available (or not available).
Leave those thoughts alone for now. We’ll deal with that shortly. Currently, here’s what I want you to do. Go grab a piece of paper, a notepad or notebook. (Later, you can put this on a computer spreadsheet if you like.
But for the present time, just write it down on paper). Now I want you to list your sources of income by category; and next to each source of funding, indicate how much net income (i.e. after taxes) you receive monthly from that source. If you are married, include your spouse’s income. Your page should look something like this:
Source of Funds Monthly Amount
Total Net Income $5,050
Some other sources of funds might include:
- ·Part-time income
- ·Self-employment income
- ·Interest Income
- ·Social Security
Of course, if you have other monies coming in, you should add to this income list whatever else is relevant and applicable for your situation. Now turn the page over and write out these three categories of expenses across the top of the page:
- ·Things That Give Me Joy
- ·Important Things
Your task now is to fill out the paper by listing things that you regularly spend money on in each of those categories. You will also write down what you wish you could spend money on – if you had the money. Write out your purchases underneath the appropriate column. Under the word “Necessities,” you will enter things such as: “Electric Bill,” “Food,” or “Mortgage.” Under the word “Joy,” you might put such items as: “Gardening Supplies” or “Movies/Entertainment”.
Underneath the column with the heading “Important Things,” you might include such entries as: “College Savings” or “Retirement Fund.” Remember: in each category – Necessities, Things That Give Me Joy, and Important Things – you should have some written entries. Write down your budget items if you actually spend money on those things, or if you just desire to spend money on those things.
Take some time to think about what fits into each category – then go ahead and write everything down right now. Don’t just keep reading: go get that paper and get to writing. I promise you this exercise will be well worth your time. Please do not skip this part thinking; “I’ll do it later.”
Remember what I said earlier about procrastination and lack of discipline being self-imposed obstacles to becoming a millionaire? OK, let’s put aside your Millionaire in Training budget for now. We’ll return to it shortly.
Excerpt from The Money Coach’s Guide To Your First Million – Now in Paperback