In last week’s episode, we talked about my transformation from being a full-time teacher to a solo-preneur. And not only that, but my shift from being completely stressed 100% of the time to being the calm, present mom that I always wanted to be. As I was reflecting on that episode, I felt that one of the major pieces that I did not address was the financial aspect of it, because it really is too big to be ignored. I would absolutely never recommend that a client take a huge financial risk until they had safety measures in place and a true plan that they felt confident with. Personal finance is my love language, so today we are going to explore the first step in how to make more money. That is, how to create a dream budget to help you prepare for your dream life.
One of my favorite things to do each year is to create my dream life budget. This exercise is inspired by Denise Duffield-Thomas in her book, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch! In the book, she suggests that you blindly create a list of everything you would want to have in your dream life. Literally everything. Then, go back to see how far of you actually are. Her argument is that you may be surprised that you are not that far off from your dream life budget, and you could make it happen more easily than you realize.
Each year, when I do this exercise, I start from scratch. I do not look at our current household budget or the dream life budget that I created the year before. The reason for this is I believe my dream life vision is always evolving and I do not want to be influenced by anything when I do this exercise.
This year, once I dreamed up everything I could think of, I did some math. When I calculated what both my husband and I currently bring home, we were only $40K off from my dream life budget. Now, don’t get me wrong, $40K is a lot of money. But after spending most of 2023 working on my abundance mindset, I am beginning to see that as ONLY $40K. When I was a teacher, this would have been a problem since there was no way to make more money. But now, as a small business owner? Challenge accepted.
Things that I included on my 2023 dream life budget were putting $10K into a retirement account for each of my kids to let compound interest do their thing, save for a down payment for a second home on a lake and get an Audible subscription. I also included things like having fresh flowers in my kitchen and being able to pay off my husband’s student loan. These aren’t all things I would necessarily want to accomplish in one year, but I like having them on my radar.
Go ahead and take out your MAP Book and write down anything that you would want to include in your dream life. Set a timer for 15 minutes and try to write down as many things as you can think of. Don’t censor yourself here! If you want it, add it to the list.
Next, go back through the list and write a monetary amount next to each item. So for example, if you want a commercial-free Hulu account in your dream life, Google how much that will cost and write it next to that line item.
Finally, go ahead and add up your dream life budget. Then add your current expenses (what you use to pay your bills now) to get one total. Then, subtract your average annual income from this amount. How far off are you?
Don’t have a budget yet? Mama, you need to prioritize that! Check out Jesse Mecham’s book, You Need a Budget, or Lauren from Lauren’s Money and Mindset on YouTube/Instagram. They both have a ton of great content and can get you budgeting on the right foot in no time.
So how did this exercise feel? Are you way off? In the realm of possibility? Surprised? Not surprised? This is why I suggest that you do this exercise about once a year to see how things change as your seasons of life change.
Now it’s time for the bonus round, if you’re up for it! Look at your dream life budget again. What is something on this list that you can add to your life today? Maybe it’s the Audible subscription or commercial-free Netflix. For me, it was fresh flowers. I’m not sure why, but fresh flowers to me has always signaled abundance. No one needs fresh flowers, but they’re so uplifting and nice to have in the house. I found a woman in my town that sells flowers from her garden for $10 a week and just like that, life upgrade complete. What is something on your list that you could upgrade your life with today?
If you have not done so already, take the time to create a dream life budget. What would you love to include in your life? When you think about being happy, what does that look like? Work through the exercise in your MAP Book. Once that is done, try a life upgrades list on for size. What small changes could you make that could potentially make a big impact? Don’t get hung up right now on how you will make your dream life budget happen. Start here, start small, you’ll be glad you did.
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And finally, you can also check out these related episodes that I think you’ll be obsessed with: