You really can afford what you want. But you have to decide it is what you TRULY want.
A couple of months ago, one of my neighbors (who reads this blog – thanks Dayna!) mentioned that if you really want something, you will find a way to afford it. “If it's really important to you, you'll find a way to get it,” she said. When I asked, Dayna said that her grandfather offered these words of wisdom to her years ago.
Dayna's remark reminded me of the blog run by Paula Pant: Afford Anything. The idea is that you can?afford anything you want. If you want it enough to make a plan to get it — and you stop wasting your money on things that aren't very important to you.
What Do You WANT?
I agreed with Dayna, and she told me about someone who hadn't agreed with her. When she told a friend about this simple, yet profound, insight from her grandfather, the friend responded indignantly, “If that were true, we'd all have yachts!”
Dayna and I, though, understand that not everyone wants a yacht. “Anyway, if you really?wanted a yacht,” Dayna told me, “you'd find a way to get that yacht.”
Now, there are circumstances that make getting some things a challenge. In some cases, the odds are overwhelming against you. However, if you decide what you want, and then make a plan to get it, chances are that you will eventually reach your goal — if you stick to your plan.
The key is deciding what is important to you. Rather than looking around at what other people want, and spend their money on, you need to take stock about what is most important to you. My husband doesn't need a lot to keep him happy. All he asks is a modest yet comfortable home, and good company. And the ability to buy action figures on eBay whenever he wants, and go out to dinner sometimes. It's actually fairly easy to meet his wants.
My wants are different. I want to be able to travel, and go camping, and occasionally go to the theater/opera. I don't need to be out of the house all the time, but I like to experience something a little different occasionally. So I set aside money regularly so that I can travel, and I try to make a portion of my travel coincide with tax deductible conferences related to my business.
The point is that my husband and I know what we want. We know what's important to us. It doesn't matter that someone on the next road just bought a brand new boat. Because we don't want a boat. We aren't trying to keep up with others in terms of clothes, furniture, or other items. We have what we want, and there is no need to try to be like someone else.
How Will You Get What You Want?
The next step is to get what you want. How do you go about getting that? I couldn't always afford to travel like I wanted to. However, a few years ago when one of my clients told me that they would pay to send me to a blogging conference, a lightbulb switched on. I could get someone else to foot part of the bill — and everything else would be tax-deductible. While my travel no longer has to be limited to the tax-deductible trips, at first I had to be creative in the way I approached what I wanted.
My husband couldn't just buy whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, at first. He started building his collection a little bit at a time. But, as we began earning more money, and as we began prioritizing our spending, more funds freed up for what we really?wanted.
Plan for what you want. If you want that yacht, figure out how much you need to save up to reach that goal. Decide whether you will earn more money through side hustles, or whether you will cut back on some of your spending so that you have more to put toward your most important money goal.
It can take time to reach your goals and buy what you want. But you need to know the end game, and you need to have a plan you can follow. If you truly want something, chances are that you can find a way to afford it sometime down the road. Sometimes, though, it requires planning and persistence. Most of us aren't going to become millionaires just be wishing for it.