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Unfortunately, Living Debt Free often leaves many of us staring at our walls, determined to not go anywhere or do anything that costs money we don’t have. Yet, many of our clients in debt management are paying off their bills, enjoying vacations, and thrilled to be in charge of their money! So how do they get to that stage of contentment? Well, they woke up maybe the first summer of their program sitting in the very seat you are sitting in, thinking the same thoughts. HOW Can We Have a Vacation and NOT CHARGE Anything?

Somehow, they survived that summer, but they quickly began designing a PLAN for future Family Get-a-Ways. Too late for this summer? The Good News is, you still have time to Begin! Here are some of the suggestions we suggest.

1st Set Realistic Goals. SMART

  • S-pecific: Take inventory of all the specific interests and favorites within your family; Who-What-When-Where-What-Why-How-How Much? No judging, just brainstorming favorites. Review most memorables.
  • M-easurable: Measure fairly, the “Buy In” from each member on each activity. How much value will we get from the amount we have to spend on each activity? What commitments do we need to make?
  • A-ttainable: Which activities can we realistically work and saveenough for by next summer? Will we be able to set time aside to actually do them? Will we need to spend money to make more money?
  • R-elevant: Which activities are most relevant to overall interests. If all members do not buy into the value of the experience, not everyone will be willing to save and sacrifice the necessary funds.
  • T-ime: What work days, opportunities, and time restrictions do you actually have between now and next summer to see your goals and expectations fulfilled?

2nd Save TODAY!

  • S-ave Today! Everyone contribute whatever they can right now. Whatever loose change you have, set a Donation Box and each member tapes a picture of their favorite choice on the box. In fairness, younger members may not be able to contribute, but they must have some way of “OWNING” this exercise.
  • A-gree on two or three absolute best attainable activities that everyone will enjoy.
  • V-erify availability of places to stay and transportation needs. Search for bargains and off-season deals.
  • E-xpect obstacles. People fail at the best designed plans because they do not anticipate obstacles. This is no time to let some “excuse” rise up and become one more discouragement to your plans.

3rd Just DO IT!

  • D-ocument Every Dollar On Purpose that everyone gives in a notebook or on a spreadsheet. Keep records and meet each month to calculate how much you have and what you still need.
  • O-pen a Vacation account to deposit the money weekly and chart the amount from each person. This way you will actually earn interest!
  • I-dentify talents and skills each member has that could be earning extra cash. Find opportunities to turn talents into income-producing services or products. (Teach an instrument, tutor, coach a sport, offer Mom’s day child care once a week, create/make jewelry or crafts, clean for working parent, etc.)
  • T-AKE the Vacation! And do the special events from your Goal-Powered-Savings photos! We tape pictures of what we want on the refrigerator or keep them in our wallet.

Just because you have debt, does not excuse you from the opportunity to break free from the mental,physical, emotional, and financial pressures of a long, hard year’s work. Once you start this practice, you will change your spending habits for your advantage. With all the new talents and income flowing through your household, Debt Free will become an established Lifestyle. I call it Financial GPS,Goal-Powered-Spending. Re-set your expenses to afford the true pleasures and experiences in life. Make Precious, Priceless Personal Memories together. Not everything priceless costs money!