Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Constant Battle Between Time and Money

“There isn't enough time.”

My entire adult life has been a battle between time and money. When I’m working, I have money and limited time. When I’m traveling, I have all the time in the world and limited money. Since, I’m just back from traveling, I’m still trying to figure out how to squeeze everything into the limited hours.

“There isn't enough time.” The more I say it, the more I realize, I’m not managing my time well. I associate managing my time with being more productive at work. So in my personal life, I prefer to go where the wind blows me. Well, within reason. But lately, this has led to wasted weekends. Which in my opinion, is a great tragedy. The weekends are already too short.

I know exactly what I want to do on the weekends, but I’ve never mapped out how many hours it actually takes to do things. So, before my husband and I lost another weekend, we sat down and wrote out what our ideal weekend looks like, down to the hours: wake up late; have a leisurely breakfast; six hours outdoor recreation with dog, friends, family (four hours if it’s the day we have to clean the house); and then a relaxing dinner and movie.

Once we wrote it out, it became painfully obvious where our weekends were going…and I’m a little embarrassed that we didn’t realize it sooner or maybe it just put it in a light we couldn’t ignore. Anyways, we learned that our leisurely breakfast was taking much longer than it was supposed to, which was cutting into our fun time, and then we would rush the fun, to make sure that we had enough time to clean the house…yeah, I just said that…Yuck. So unsatisfying!

We now have a weekend schedule. That still sounds horrible. But, now we know what time our leisurely breakfast should end. If it doesn’t, we’re making a conscious decision to minimize our fun time, because the must dos, must get done.

Now, back to money.

Have you ever said “I wish I had more money”?

If so, it’s time to create your ideal budget. Stay with me.

I did this when I first started working at Finance Gym and it was…interesting. Then I did it again in more detail, when I was creating a new template and…It. Blew. My. Mind.

Confession time: I’ve never had a formal budget. I keep track of all of my numbers and review them at least twice a month. I know where I can cut if I need to. I always have a savings cushion, just in case shit hit the fan and also so that I can splurge when I want to. This has worked for me for decades. So, the idea of creating a budget seemed unnecessary.

Now that I work for a personal finance company, creating a budget seemed mandatory. It definitely wasn’t something I was looking forward to…but our budget template, starts with creating an ideal budget, which I had never heard of before and it intrigued me because I love dreaming about what can be and then making it happen.

So, your ideal budget focuses on all of the things that you want to have or want to do. Then you see how much income you need to make your ideal life a reality. Once you compare your ideal budget to your actual budget – light bulbs start glowing everywhere!

My Epiphanies:
  • We’re saving so much money by not owning a car, that I never ever want a car again. Ever. A car isn’t important to me. My husband’s going along with it for now, but forever isn’t in his plan. So, we’ll save for one. Plus, I’ll probably change my mind, when it’s pouring rain outside.
  • We spend a lot of money on travel. This is our passion, so it’s in the budget (actual and ideal).
  • We need to contribute more to our retirement. We’re not going to be young forever.
  • We need to earn more money. And now we know what our ideal earnings are so that we can afford our ideal budget, which of course includes lots of travel and recreation.

Because everything is better with a cow. Pushkar, India.

Are you spending your time and money on the things that you value most?

- Leah Schonlank

You can get our free budget template, by signing up for our newsletter HEREOr try the template that we created for the book. We only have a PDF right now, so break out your pencils. We would love your feedback.

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