Whenever I face a problem in my life, I want to solve it. Now. The sooner the better.
When Sarah and I first started to face up to our financial troubles in 2006, I wanted a solution. Now. The sooner the better.
I went to the library and checked out a mountain of books. I buried myself deep into the pages. I went crazy with frugality, counting every single penny. I cleaned out my closet and sold everything I could reasonably sell.
And it wasn’t enough.
It took the majority of a decade to get things straightened out. During that decade, I spent two years essentially working two full time jobs and launched a small business while my wife continued to work full time and we also dug deep into frugality, finding many, many ways to save a buck.
I spent those years – and the years since – looking into virtually every entrepreneurship and debt repayment and frugality idea and system that I could find.
What did I learn?
There is no “magic bullet.”
There is no “trick” that’s going to turn your situation from financial disaster to financial success.
It doesn’t exist.
The only way to get to financial success – period – is to spend less than you earn, month in and month out, year in and year out.
There is no other route to success.
Both of those angles – earning more and spending less – are hard. They’re not easy pathways to some kind of “better life.”
It requires commitment. You won’t be able to just do a few things for a week and see a permanent change. It doesn’t happen that way.
If you’re in debt, it’s going to require some kind of permanent life change. You’re going to have to change how you spend your money. You might have to change how you work, too. There’s no way around it. You’re in debt because you spend more than you earn – the only way to gain financial freedom is to spend less than you earn. Fixing that is going to require permanent change.
However, you’re going to discover a lot of good things along the way, too. The years of figuring out how to get my finances in order gave me a lot of new hobbies that I’m really passionate about. It helped me build some incredibly strong friendships. I discovered a lot of new foods that I would have never tried before. I also didn’t have to give up things that I really deeply cared about.
It won’t be easy. At times, it will be very frustrating.
You’ll want a magic bullet, but there is no “magic bullet.”
What you will find, when you come out the other end, is a lot less stress and a lot more opportunity.
You’ll never regret it. I never have.