Many readers of my book, Self-Creating Life, as well as some of those whom I work with as their Possibilities Coach, tell me their main obstacle to a life of possibilities is a lack of money.
One person wrote and told that they had stopped reading my book because they thought they could never afford to do it. It’s unfortunate they had not reached Chapter Four BANKROLL or Chapter Five BUT NEVER DOUBT I LOVE and after they did so, they became another of my successes.
I acknowledge that the expansiveness of my personal life might lead to thinking I am independently wealthy or have a greater-than-average income. However, I currently live my amazing life earning much less than the average American wage-earner and even my total annual income averaged over the past 15 years is less than what 50% of Americans earn annually ($44,474).
But I am not the average person in the sense that I don’t spend $1,497 of what I earn on non-essential items as does the average American. Its true, recent studies have proven the average American spends $18,000 per year on non-essential items.
$5,400 of that is on annual impulse spending. On average, Americans impulsively spend $112 each week buying three things in that week ($448.00 each month). On a greater scale, that amounts to $324,000 over the course of their lifetime. There’s some possibilities!
I admit that during the first half of my life I exchanged my earnings for worthless impulses. Then I began to understand the value of money was in its conversion into experiences that nourished my life. Now its easy (as my Instagram account @lana.sorrento.authenticity demonstrates).
It may be easy to make excuses for abandoning your possibilities. But every person I know who is effectively self-creating their life simply has an experience-oriented life matched with experience-oriented spending. Few are wealthy; all have different answers to the bankroll question.
It’s simple to understand where it all goes wrong. One in five purchases are purchased impulsively.
What is the remainder of the non-essential expenditures? Most of the non-essential spending goes toward eating out, with Americans spending on average $787.28 per month. The breakdown of that is as follows:
Please understand, I love dining out but my last dining experience was on the Island of Procida at La Lampara on the edge of one of the beautiful seaside towns in Italy, Marina Corricella and it could easily be yours if that’s the life you envision.
I could afford the €42.00 lunch and a crisp Ischia white wine for two and the €36.00 roundtrip ferry mostly because I have conditioned myself toward seeking the best experiences to nourish my life. I classify all the money I have after basic living expenses as “experience spending”.
For a minute, think of all the extraordinary experiences you could have if you made even a 20% reduction in non-essential spending ($3,600). Dinner at Olive Garden (not Italian food) or wherever you go with your friends might be fun, but as a Possibilities Coach, I easily expand the average person’s view of fun and adventure and encourage them to afford it by valuing their earnings differently.
Are you thinking you have to give up your current life to Self-Create your life? No, its simply a different awareness and knowing how to Self-Create a life of possibilities. I’ve already demonstrated how your current life viewed experientially will fund your life of possibilities.
Most of the effort toward a Self-Creating life begins with the simple process of skipping expenditures that can easily go toward your fulfilled life. However, try some of these ideas to keep on target:
CALCULATE BY HOURS – When trying to decide if something is worth buying, try thinking of the cost in terms of how long it takes you to make that money. This can help you get a sense of the true value of your money and how it will contribute to your life of possibilities.
THINK TWICE ABOUT SALES – There’s no sale that’s going to cost you less than not buying the item at all. When purchasing an item on sale, ask yourself if you would have bought the item if it were full price, and if the answer is no, skip it.
CANCEL YOUR GYM MEMBERSHIP – Walking is proven to be one of the best exercises. Americans rank 30th in the world on the number of steps per day (about half the average European) and 80 percent who join a gym quit within five months. Gaining on the rest of the world doesn’t look good since the average American teen is no more active than a 60 -year-old. At least get up to change the channel!
If you are not into walking, any of the exercises you do at the gym can be done at home. Only about 18 percent of people who buy memberships use them consistently so stay home. YouTube has tutorials for ideas about home workouts. Living in Europe, I walk 3-4 times the distance Americans do including hauling groceries one mile back to the house in a backpack and hand-held grocery bag. I get added benefit from my promise to myself to raise up on my toes whenever I come to stairs which is great when I’m also carrying my nine liters of water (21 pounds). The €50 monthly health club fee I don’t spend is greatly appreciated on my next adventure.
TRY ENVELOPE BUDGETING – Divide your cash into envelopes. Pledge to only use cash for non-essential purchases. With cash you become more aware of what you’re spending.
USE THE 24 HOUR RULE – Wait a day before buying a small item and you may find you didn’t want it after all.
DESIGNATE NO-SPEND DAYS – Challenge yourself to go one or more days a week without buying anything – your morning coffee, a bottled water or a movie ticket. You’ll reduce your spending and become more aware of how mindlessly you make small purchases.
MAKE YOUR PASSWORDS YOUR REMINDERS – Make passwords that remind you of something that nourishes your life with experiences, such as: “beachvacationinaugust” or “procidaitalytrip.”
ROUND UP YOUR PAYMENTS – Some bank accounts round up every purchase to the next dollar and put that money in savings. If your bank offers it, as it is an easy way to save money and you’ll likely hardly notice. If not, there are other options such as Smartypig savings. Check it out.
As suggested above, make your bank password something that reminds of a specific experience you want to have.
Not wasting money is the best way to save money but many people save money to waste it. How would you nourish your life with the $3,600 you will save if you cut your non-essential expenses by 20%? Think about how simple that reduction could be and begin Self-Creating your life.