I know what you are thinking: “Wow, Nikki. You guys must really have a lot of fun in your house. Budgeting date night. What a blast.” And I get it. Budgeting gets a bad wrap. It’s boring, restrictive, and uncomfortable.
Unless, of course, you make it fun, empowering, and inspiring. Then, budgeting takes on a whole new life and becomes PERFECT for a date night.
THAT is what we do in our house. We’ve turned budgeting into something we look forward to. It motivates and excites us. We love it so much that we do it to relieve stress and relax. If we haven’t seen each other in a while and want to reconnect, we have a budgeting date night.
It makes us financially stronger, it helps to visualize our dreams and set goals, and every time we have one of our date nights we’re one step closer to getting to our ultimate goal of financial freedom and early retirement.
So are you ready to have the best date night ever? Here’s what you need to do to make it perfect:
The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, had been on my list forever. I had pushed it off because I thought it would be similar to the various other “tips to become wealthy” books, but I was totally wrong.
This book is an absolute must read for anyone that wants to be truly financially free or hopes to make a substantial amount of money in their lives…and it’s unlike any other book I’ve ever read.
I am bound and determined to pay off my mortgage early. It didn’t start that way, but a few years into the loan my husband and I realized there were just too many benefits to paying it off, so it needed to happen. Since then, the desire to be debt-free has grown, while the loan balance has shrunk.
It’s an amazing feeling to watch this massive loan get smaller and smaller and I can’t wait for the day that it’s over. What’s even more amazing has been realizing that little changes can actually cut off years of mortgage payments. So, of course, when you add up all those little adjustments, you can seriously impact the length of your mortgage.
As with all major endeavors in life, the first step is always the most important, so if want to pay off your mortgage early, take one of these steps TODAY.
Here’s what I’m doing to pay off my mortgage early (and what you should be doing too!):
It is so easy to push off making long-term investments. This is especially true if you feel like you don’t have what you need right now.
The irony in this is that you will likely always feel like you don’t have enough…and if you keep pushing off essential long-term investments, a time will come when you actually don’t have enough.
This is because we’re all wired to think a certain way about money and that rarely changes. You’re either content or you’re not. You save, or you don’t. You feel like you have enough…or you feel like you don’t.
So, in many cases, you just need to force yourself to make the investments. Luckily, that is really easy now-a-days because you can set up an automatic investment plan that will pull money straight from your checking account or even your paycheck. All you really need to do is set up the account. The rest will happen behind the scenes and you can completely forget about it. Then, when you need it most, it will be there.
So what are the critical long-term investments you should start making now? Here they are:
I’m a HUGE fan of self-help books…though not even slightly a fan of referring to them as “self-help books.” So I’m going to call them what they are – motivational books. These are the books that get you so excited in the morning that you achieve way more than you normally do. You have an extra beat in your step. You exercise more, you eat better. You smile more and you sleep better. They literally have the power to transform your life. And when they’re that good, you should definitely reread them every single year (which is what I try to do).
So what are the best of the best? The ones you should definitely reread every single year? 😉 Here they are:
If you ever want to borrow money – whether for an emergency or to make an investment – you’ve got to have a good credit score. It will make the borrowing process ten times easier and more importantly, it will get you a lower interest rate on your loan. In the end, it will put more money in your pocket (and not the bank’s). Whether you’re just starting to build your credit or need to increase your credit score, here are some quick and easy fixes that could make a huge difference:
Related post: How to Buy Your First Investment Property
One of my BIGGEST goals right now is to pay off the mortgage. I won’t lie, it’s sooo hard to stay motivated when you’re chipping away at such a big number, but the benefits are just way too huge to ignore. But the reality is that if you prioritize getting it paid off, it CAN and WILL happen. And your future self will thank you for it!
Related post: 10 Things I’m Doing to Pay Off My Mortgage Early (and the One Thing I Won’t Do)
So if you’re in the same boat as me, consider these different ways for getting your mortgage paid off way earlier than you ever expected:
In my attempt to read more books this year, I’ve come across some real winners and some ho-hum forgettables. Even a mediocre book can sometimes be a welcome break from reality, but what I really love is a book that is so exciting that I actually get an adrenaline rush when I’m reading it. And I’m not talking about the rush that comes with finding out who the killer is or a steamy romance scene. I’m talking about the rush from that AH-HA moment that makes you realize one small tweak to your life could help you achieve your next goal…or the moment you realize that you actually can quit your job and do what you love…or even just deciding what your next pursuit will be. THOSE moments are the best.
Back in the day, living the American dream meant finding a great job that let you buy a home, vacation every year, and take care of your family. Nowadays?? What a different picture! For most of us, the American dream now means finding a way to make money from what we love, work anywhere and at anytime, and still take care of our families. And it’s totally possible! I see it happening every single day.
So what’s the first step towards achieving this dream? Turn your hobby into a money-making machine. Believe it or not, there are a ton of ways to make money from your hobbies, whether it’s just pocket change or a full-time income.
Here’s where to start if you’re ready to make money from your hobbies:
I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my life (at least not in my adult life) where I haven’t been trying to accomplish something. Whether big or small, there’s always something going on – paying down debt, learning new things, weight loss, clearing my head, running more often…the list goes on and on.
So I’m sure it’s not surprising that I love coming across new ideas and ways to accomplish more, especially if it saves time or effort. And I’m always on the hunt for new ideas. My last source of inspiration (from The Power of Habit…not as amazing as The Miracle Morning, but still a great read!) has me really excited because it outlined a brilliant and simple way to accomplish anything and everything: