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December Challenge: End the Year


I have struggled to come up with a challenge for December. And finally, I landed on more of a mindset challenge. The more mature I get in my personal finance knowledge and more importantly follow through, the more I realize that it really is all about mindset.

Personal finance mindset lessons that took me forever to learn:

  • Every time you go into debt, you are borrowing from your tomorrow. Do you really want to be paying for this XXXX next year? Is it worth that?
  • There is nothing more comforting and confidence building than having a health emergency fund…nothing!
  • You must be selfish with your finances…think about your future over your kids activities and everything. In doing this, you are watching out for them in a completely different way.

I could go on and on, but these have been my big ones.

December Challenge

This has been an unprecedented year. I don’t think anyone would have predicted all that has happened this year. And with the state of COVID, the change in presidents and so many more unknowns, 2021 is bound to bring some more changes.

The challenge for us is to adjust our mindset. To give up our preconceived notions about what life will or should look like. And to prepare for the changes that are surely to come and the unknown. How do we do that?

This has become especially important in our house for Beauty and Princess. With graduation just 6 months away, we have to begin working on a what’s next plan for them. And frankly, with all the changes at the college level, Princess is floundering and I understand that completely.

Open Your Mind

This year may look different then any year before it. There is no real normal anymore. Schools are all over the place as far as in-person, virtual, hybrid, etc. Searching for a job is a entirely different beast with most all companies searching online and virtually only.

I’ve been working with the girls to do some brainstorming exercises. The goal is to open their mind to every possible opportunity. Then doing pros and cons for every option. We are going to have to have several options and prepare for several options for them.

What Would Life Look Like If…

The challenge for each of us is to spend some time considering all the possibilities for next year. No matter your stage in life, this year is going to be different. We had to adapt quickly this year with COVID and lock downs and new ways of living. And I think it’s relatively safe to say that more of that is coming.

Take some time and consider what you like about your reaction and how you like how your life changed. And then also consider the things you do not like about this new reality. And consider your options. How can you make the good even better? How can you make the challenging better or different?

And for those of you with seniors in high school, how are you approaching next steps for your child? Has COVID changed anything for you? I’d love to know your mindset and approach to guiding your child at this juncture.

I believe we should begin the new year how we want it to go. This challenge is the first step towards that.


Adopting an Abundance Mindset


Adopting an Abundance Mindset

Naturally gratitude has been on my mind this past week. It’s always good and healthy to pause and focus on what we’re thankful for. Too often on our debt journey I only think about what we owe and how can we make more money and how can we grow our business so we can pay off more. I’m constantly focused on needing more. This week, however, I kept thinking about the concept of an abundance mindset.

One reason is my 8-year-old has not been looking forward to Thanksgiving. We were originally going to spend it with my mom, my sisters, and their families. Now thanks to COVID it’s going to be just our family of five at home eating—total sacrilege!—a roasted chicken. (All the small turkey breasts were sold out.) My daughter declared through tears, “Everyone else in America is going to be eating turkey except us!”

I know she knows not everyone will really be eating turkey, and sadly many will not be eating a big dinner at all. But in her disappointment and frustration (which to be fair she’s had a lot of this year), all she could see was the lack. The scarcity. And girl, I do that all the time too.

Scarcity Mindset vs. Abundance Mindset

Stephen Covey popularized the ideas of a scarcity mindset and an abundance mindset in his 1989 book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” He explained that with a scarcity mentality you think there’s only one pie out there, and if someone gets a big slice then there’s less for everyone else. However, with an abundance mentality, you believe the pie is getting bigger and that there’s enough for everyone.

I also liked this definition from Scott Epp, an abundance life coach (I guess that’s a thing?):

“Abundance is completely believing that you are more than enough. You have more than enough and more than enough is coming to you in the future.”

Adopting an Abundance Mentality

Abundance Mindset During Debt Payoff

I struggle to see abundance in many areas of my life, but especially with our finances. But thank goodness for a day like today to remember we have a roof over our heads, clothes to wear, food to eat, clean water to drink, and jobs to support us.

Yes, we are deeply in debt. Yes, almost $3,000 of our income each month gets eaten up by our debt payments. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t still have enough. No matter what the Black Friday sales say, we have enough already.

Here are some myths I’ve been challenging as I’ve tried to shift to an abundance mindset:

Myth: We’ll be happier when our debts are paid off.
Reality: We can be happy now, no matter our circumstances. Life won’t begin when we pay off our debts.

Myth: We don’t make enough money to cover our debts.
Reality: We make enough to meet our needs and our minimum payments, and we can choose to work for more if we’d like. We have agency.

Myth: We can’t give much to others right now because we don’t have enough extra money.
Reality: We can give more money than we think, and we can also give more of our time.

Myth: We can’t do anything fun until our debt is paid off.
Reality: Fun things don’t have to cost money.

Myth: Our lives are nothing like the Joneses, so we need to change to be like them.
Reality: Our lives are nothing like the Joneses, and who cares? I’m happy they’re happy with what they have, but we’re not them.

I hope you all have a chance to see the abundance in your lives. This has been a nightmare of a year and I know so many are suffering. But things get dark if we forget there’s always something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

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