A Secure Lifestyle of Financial Freedom for the Ordinary Family?

dad_on_floor_with_children_laptopXSmallYou bet.  It takes planning, pure and simple.
But, surely it can be done.

If “lifestyle” is truly what you desire, it takes commitment, resolve and planning, doing whatever it takes.

Keep in mind I’m not a financial planner or adviser and you should consult with your professional counselors to discover what’s best for you.

Do not take this as legal advice, but rather the use of common sense. This was the plan I put into place for myself based on my own personal experience.

Here’s some tips to help you get started:

1) Start with assessing your current income/outgo.

Make a list of every penny that goes out. You may be very surprised at the size of the hole in your boat.

2) Reduce your spending to just your “must” pay.

Here’s some examples to help you with a reality check.

Examples of “must pays”

* rent/mortgage
* loan installments
* credit card payments
* insurance
* food, gas, necessary phone & utilities

Examples of “wants” to do away with, at least until you’ve reached your goals.

* eating out
* regular entertainment (find free stuff to do and spend time with family)
* dry cleaning that’s really not necessary for “dry cleaning”
* maid service
* lawn service
* nail manicures and pedicures
* buying clothes and stuff because it’s on sale
* extra phone and “add ons”
* Movie and TV other than basic
* Magazine subscriptions, newspapers, etc. (Go online)
* Dry cleaning that doesn’t really have to be dry cleaned.

If you actually tally what you spend in these areas, you may find you can free up a bunch of cash right here. If for example, you stop every morning on your way to work for a Starbucks Latte’ for $3, that’s $60 a month!

Let’s look at some very common spending habits with two working individuals, working 5 days a week, eating out 12 times a month during weeknights plus weekend entertainment.

This Is Spending Per Month

$120 – Morning Starbucks ($3 x 2 people x 20 work days)
$280 – Lunch ($7 x 2 people x 20 work days)
$120 – Afternoon soda/coffee/snack ($3 x 2 people x 20 work days)
$200 – Weekend entertainment ($50 x 4 weekends)
$240 – Eating out dinner weeknights ($10 x 2 people x 3 times a week)
$200 – Stuff that doesn’t matter or you don’t need
$1160 saved, just being aware of the spending. This can be much higher for a family of 3 or more.

3) Begin chipping away at your credit cards and putting 10% of your earnings into a savings account so if an emergency pops up, you can be a cash payer rather than charging nore on your credit cards.

What kind of a dent can you make in getting out of debt when adding the wasteful spending toward your goal of living a lifestyle? When adding an additional $1,160 a month toward debt reduction, you can start seeing a difference you can feel good about fairly quickly. There’s nothing like choosing between dinner and a movie or paying off a credit card. It’s a great feeling to be out from financial obligations! There’s freedom in that! There’s empowerment in that!

4) Re-assess your situation after you’ve cut out the wasteful spending and paid a few bills off. Add up your monthly expenses now and compare that to your income. Here’s what’s amazing. Most people find that they can now manage their outgo very comfortably and have excess they are putting into savings.

Having extra money doesn’t mean you go out and buy more “stuff”. It means you’re getting a handle on finances and your goals toward living life on your terms.

You are more and more, having options instead of your back against the wall day in and day out.


  1. says

    Debbie –

    This is a great post! I think we are conditioned way too easily by the Madison Ave crowd to “need” way too many things these days. That often leaves people feeling helpless in the face of tight times. Also, when people know things are tight, they often would rather not take the time to know the full scoop. Knowledge creates responsibility, while ignorance provides deniability.

    The good news is that taking responsibility is the first step in mastering the situation and setting yourself apart from the pack. You present an excellent outline for that!

    Best to you and yours.


    PS – I’d love to hear your thoughts on my latest post which is also related to finances and family. http://bit.ly/1xwEPD

  2. says

    Oh, funny, I was on your site before I saw you left this post. I LOVED your post. I may have to spin that write my own article or just use your and acknowledge you as the author… way good stuff Chip and a message that so many need to hear. Maybe we should compare notes…. You’re talking “family matters” and “legacys” and I’m talking “lifestyles”. We have some wave lengths in common…

  3. says

    Great list and some really good suggestions on where to reduce spending. I’ve just started trying to get a handle on our longer term finances so I started reading a book called “The Debt-Free Millionaire” by Anthony Manganiello. As an “industry insider” the author talks about secrets to the debt-relief services industry that can help consumers avoid financial pitfalls. It’s really helping me to understand financial management.

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