A few years ago, I heard someone make a comment about how your priorities manifest themselves in what you put your money into. Really, this makes a lot of sense, and it aligns pretty well with finding your WHY.
Maybe your priority is having a home you can grow into, with lots of room for storage or space to spread out or to fit a large family. Maybe your priority is to have a nice retirement, so you don't have to depend on others to provide one for you. Maybe it's to have a nice, safe, newer vehicle so you don't have to worry about the car breaking down regularly. Maybe it's for special vacations for memories with your family.
I've often found, however, that many times we SAY something is our priority, but we don't actually manifest that by where we spend our money. For example, when Kyler and I first decided that we wanted to attempt to graduate debt free after 2 masters programs and 2 years left of a bachelors- it sounded like a great idea to me! However, my lack of commitment to hunker down on our budgets didn't add up. I said graduating debt free was my priority, but I wasn't actually doing the follow up to prove that it was. Instead, my priority was in having no financial restraints on my spending, which was honestly pretty selfish because those habits didn't just affect me.
***I'd also like to add that my spending habits were never extraneous or put us into crazy debt or anything of the sort. I'm talking about the constant $20-50 over on groceries every month, random trips to Walmart or the dollar store that totaled to $20-30 each time, and the occasional online purchase I'd slip in that was a "good deal." Although my spending habits weren't huge, they were still adding up to a few hundred after a few months, and that's money we could have better spent elsewhere for BOTH of us, instead of just on what I wanted.***
As you make you financial goals today or this upcoming week for 2017, I want you to stop and think about what your financial priorities actual are. I suggest you have a list of top 3 of financial priorities. Make your first priority the one that doesn't change easily or that stays put until you've reached that goal. It can be a huge "pie in the sky" type goal or a lower key one that would still be awesome to achieve. Examples could be: purchasing or building a new home within (specific number) of years, remodeling parts of your home, saving up enough for a nice, comfortable retirement, getting completely out of debt, buying a home with cash, purchasing all new furniture, saving up for kids college funds, buying a new dream family car, going on your dream vacation etc. There are a million possibilities!
With our top priority of graduating debt free, we didn't even want to think about putting money elsewhere (into a new home, car, big vacations etc) until we had gotten rid of our school debt. That was our #1 financial priority (once I got my priorities in line :) ) and we gave it all we had. It was 4 years of scrimping, saving, and going without on extras but it has been more than worth it. So what is most worth it to you? What will motivate you to keep saving even when the going gets tough? This biggest priority of yours should be consistent with your WHY- it'll be much easier to keep that way!
Set your following priorities (#2, #3 etc) as ones that will be easier to achieve. These priorities will change more frequently than the big numero uno, but should still be something you are working towards.
Once you've got those priorities in addition to your WHY, align your budgets accordingly. It doesn't make any sense if you say your goal is to buy a new home in 3-5 years but you're hardly able to save any money towards it because it's all going to pricier clothing and groceries, constant eating out, "toys" (boats, cars etc) and vacations. Align those budgets with your priorities, do all you can to stick with them, and it'll amaze you as you watch those big dream goals start to become a reality. ❤
Budgeting often involves making the harder choices at first, but I promise that you can do it! And it just gets easier and easier until it's a way of life. The rewards will be great, the marriage unity sweet, and the lasting happiness for all included will be an added bonus! What are you waiting for?! Change your financial situation NOW! 🎉