Would you start off on a road trip without directions? Of course not! A couple of years ago my family went on a road trip to Washington, D.C. We were excited and planned out every detail. We even identified the restaurants where we wanted to eat along our route. We had every intention of making the most of our time in this beloved part of the country.
As we prepared, we mapped out the path several different ways. We wanted to know the fastest possible route to our destination. We also wanted to know if there were landmarks along the way that interested us where we could stop. We spent hours looking at google maps. We called friends who lived in the area for inside info. We found hotels along the way there and back so we didn’t have to drive 10 hours without rest. All of this planning took time.
It’s funny how we will take hours to plan a 7-day vacation or even just a weekend getaway but we won’t take the time to plan our financial future. Maybe we need to create a financial destination as exciting and motivating as our vacation destination.
Many people are deathly afraid of looking at their credit score, debt totals, and may run in stark terror from a budget! However, just like our GPS tells us the directions to our beloved vacation spot, we must have a financial GPS toward our goals. Let’s look as the simple steps that will help you get started.
- Create an end goal that is big enough to get you moving. Too many times we simply want to get out of debt. While that is a great goal it doesn’t sound like much fun. What is the goal that makes getting out of debt worth it? For my family, it is going on vacation without any payments following me home! I want to travel wherever and whenever I want! Debt may the bondage that can hold you back from this becoming your own reality.
- Do your research. We mapped out several paths to D.C. and identified a few places to stop along the way. You must do the research to know how long it will take to reach your end goal. How will your budget need to shift? Are there sacrifices you need to make so you continue to reach your goal on time?
- Embrace discipline. This isn’t fun but it’s necessary. As we traveled to D.C. we had to keep up with the speed limit to stay on time. And going too fast could end in a speeding ticket. How would it feel to get pulled over on your way to a fun trip? Plus, getting a ticket slows you down! Discipline involves following the rules and staying the course. Getting distracted or being too anxious will take you away from where you want to be.
I use my GPS almost every week now just to make sure I am heading in the right direction for even a short 10 minute trip. If we are this diligent and consistent to map out our diving route why don’t we take the same approach with our finances. Every week make sure you are getting closer to your goal. Check your progress. Update your budget. Revise the plan if necessary. But no matter what, do something on a regular basis. Maybe a financial GPS is exactly what you need to reach the financial destination of your dreams!