Beware the “Debt Side”: Debt is like the Dark Side of The Force; it’s a tempting shortcut to get what you want quickly and seemingly easily, but it’s fraught with danger and the possibility of losing control. Debt only works when everything else works out perfectly, and how often does that happen?! Plus, debt can destroy retirement accounts faster than the Death Star blew up Alderaan!
Find Your Chewie: Han Solo’s furry friend Chewbacca epitomizes the loyal, supportive companion, just like a good financial accountability partner. Find someone who understands what you’re doing, and will help you stay the course when you’re in danger of straying. They should be willing to “hurt your feelings for your own good”…but let’s draw the line at pulling the arms off of droids who beat them at chess!
Blow Up Your Budgetary Death Star! In The Total Money Makeover, Dave talks about his great-great-grandfather who worked as a logger. Sometimes when the river was jammed up with logs, the workers would literally dynamite the mess, sacrificing some trees to get the rest moving again (read the full Logjam Excerpt here). If you are having a hard time finding room in your budget to pay off debt or save, think about what “dynamite” you might need to throw. Cancelling cable, downgrading cell phone packages, or maybe having a big garage sale or opening an eBay store are places to start. If want to take it to the next level, you might sell a too-expensive car and buy a beater or take public transit or — the thermal detonator of budgetary bombs! — sell a home you can no longer realistically afford and rent cheaply for a time. It’s up to you, just remember that the more deeply you sacrifice, the more quickly you’ll start to win! For those of you interested (or already on Dave’s plan) use Dave’s Recommended Percentages worksheet to see where your expenses might be out of balance, and give you some ideas of where to start.
Note: originally posted in my employer’s SmartDollar wellness blog.