140 – May 20
“More than ever before, Americans are suffering from back problems: Back taxes, back rent, back auto payments.”—Robert Orben
Low Budget is a useful tool for occasional use. But too often I see people with the Low Budget Blues. They’ve gotten into the habit of Low Budget. They think poor: Tighten the belt, do without, never buy new, can’t afford it, shop at garage sales, eat cheap, sleep cheap, think cheap.
It’s great to be able to do this during a recession, a cash flow problem, between jobs, after a loss, or to save additional money for a large purchase. But too often people buy into Low Budget as if it was reality. Low Budget is a choice. When it becomes a choice for too long, it becomes a habit.
During my rough financial times, I lived on low budget for years. All available cash went to paying off debt. Even after filing bankruptcy, there were debts I was obligated to repay, such as approximately $12,000 in taxes. Though I was not required to, I repaid the smaller businesses I owed money—my accountant, my attorney, and some personal loans from friends. I started with very small payments. Then the more money I made, the bigger debt reduction payments I made.
It took me another four years past filing bankruptcy, but when I finally became debt-free, what a relief, what a celebration! A hundred pounds felt lifted from my shoulders. Then I realized I hadn’t a clue what I would spend money on instead of debts.
Debt reduction had been my number one goal, and in my zeal to accomplish it, I had forgotten to have a number two. I sat with my High Budget form for two days without being able to come up with anything I wanted to put on it. I hadn’t allowed myself to think about having anything but bare necessities, and I was out of practice. My hunger and thirst had been to be debt-free, and I had achieved it. That desire was strong. Now I needed to remember how to have fun, fabulous treasures, and pleasures, for savings to ensure I was never debt-burdened again.
I started looking around at the world again at all of the riches life has to offer. My High Budget took form and shape. I exceeded it in six months and made a new one. A year later, I revised it upwards again, and now I do it every year.
Do whatever it takes today to live in happiness instead of misery. Don’t sing the “Low Budget Blues” one more time. Take a day off from money. Take a walk. Paint a picture, write a poem, sing a song. Play with a pet; play with a child. Play the piano. Dance in the sunlight. Stroll in the moonlight. Glow. High Budget is on its way.
“I am now enjoying living on High Budget because I can afford it!”
Living cheaply is just not my idea of the Good Life. There are some popular financial blogs that are all about making do with less. It’s a good tool in its place, but that’s not the ultimate goal, is it? It has value from time to time, but it’s like everything else in life – you can overdo it and you can underdo it. The Middle Way is always the best way.
My friend, Nancy Sardella, of Women’s Referral Service (www.wrswrs.com), one of my favorite networking groups, gave this instruction in one of her marketing seminars: “Stop clipping coupons and spend that extra hour on your marketing plan!”
Getting smaller won’t help you go big. Design your High Budget and look at that every day. Put your creative brain to work: revise your marketing plan, make another Gold Call (not cold call), write an article, post on your blog, post on Facebook, write an interesting tweet, get together with a friend and brainstorm ideas, raise your prices, add a product or service.