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It’s sort of a myth.
Work-life balance implies that your work is separate from your life, and I don’t agree with that. I have amazing colleagues who fill my heart with friendship, and most days, I find my work very rewarding and fulfilling. I do, however, also make a point of using my time efficiently so at the end of the day I can leave work at work and come home to enjoy time with my family.
There are seasons where I have to put more energy into projects – whether for Dexter’s birthday party, or work, or grad school – and that means there is less time or energy for the other projects on the go. Unbalanced, if we are thinking of life on a scale. Only, that IS life. Report card season requires more time than teaching in October. December takes more energy to get organized for around the house than March does. I strive to do all of the things to stay happy and healthy and show up for my family as the best human I can – balanced or not.
So balance is a tricky thing.
Someone said to me recently that they felt this notion of debt-free living and budgeting was unhealthy. Unhealthy. This word has hung heavily on my heart for weeks. Getting out of debt was the greatest thing I ever did. For my family, for our life goals, for my mental health. So my desire to help other people is founded in a deep desire to share that joy with as many people as I can.
I can’t imagine a situation where you would get out of debt and regret that choice. And if you did, believe me when I say that you can turn around the next day and rack it right back up.
In one week, shortly after we paid off all of our debt, I got offers in the mail for $80,000 worth of credit cards and lines of credit from various banks. Trust me, if you think “Dang! I sure miss that interest payment every month!” the banks will straight up hand you a shovel to dig yourself back into that pit.
My point is, my philosophy with money, as with literally everything else in life, is NEVER about deprivation. It is about balance.
When I lost 50 pounds a few years ago, you can bet I still indulged in some tasty treats. I just paired those treats with more fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. If you told me I could never eat pasta or cheese again, I wouldn’t just fall off the wagon. I would leap off at full speed.
My brain (and yours too) will revolt against NEVER and CAN’T.
But when I am intentional and CHOOSE what goes into my body, I’m able to make choices that allow me to live my best life and reach my goals.
I deal with money with the same intention.
I get to CHOOSE where my money goes. I decide what is important in my life, and when I want to have a TREAT. So yes, I use a budget and don’t spend money as frivolously as I used to. But I still do fun things with my family, go on vacations and out for dinners – I build those indulgences into my budget.
If I told you to live on a budget and not spend ANY money on yourself or doing anything fun, do you think you would be successful? I know you wouldn’t. We are not built that way.
When you choose your celebrations and indulgences, you are being intentional and aligning your priorities and goals with your actions! And let me tell you, you ENJOY those experiences so much more.
Balance your budget. Yes – that means don’t spend more than you make.
Balance your spending – make sure your money is going to the right places!
Balance your priorities. If you want to be debt-free, it’s okay to skip the expensive steakhouse dinner for a few months. Or to postpone the vacation. Or to spend Friday nights at home playing board games rather than spending money out in the world.
You get to choose the life you want. It might take some work. And yes, it might also take SOME sacrifice. But it will be SO worth it!
On his radio-show-podcast, Dave Ramsey always encourages listeners to “live like no one else, so that later you can live, and give, like no one else”. Watch Dave explain this idea here!
Basically, to have the life you want in the future, you might have to make some sacrifices today.
That’s the cost of winning.
So if your goal is to be financially free, you won’t feel deprived by the sacrifices you make to get there.