Tip: Let’s stop thinking about cars and cell phones in “monthly payments” in 2020 and watch your budget improve instantly.

When I started http://www.theadrianhall.com in 2016, it was a space for me to admit that I was struggling financially while making a plan to unbury myself. I was done working 40+ hours a week but constantly feeling broke. I was done acting like I had it all together… I wanted to actually GET it together.

One of the most crucial things I did was evaluate every single debt in my life and ask “why did Adrian do this to himself?” and I quickly noticed a pattern… I was justifying everything as monthly payments.

-The new furniture I financed wasn’t $3,400… it was $80 per month.

-The new tires wasn’t $600, it was $25 a month.

-The new car wasn’t $23,000…. it was only $100 more a month than my old payment.

Those three things I mentioned just now effectively added $205 to my monthly expenses (and $27,000 of debt before interest). I’d have to earn $5 more per hour at 40 hours a week to make those monthly payments AND maintain my exact lifestyle. But let’s be real… my pay wasn’t increasing by $5 an hour every time I bought something.

Do you see the problem?

I made the plan on how I could afford the payment, but never made the plan on how I’d actually pay it off.

It’s incredibly easy to spend the bank/credit union’s money. We will gladly spend $400+ on a car payment for a nearly brand new car, but freak out if our electricity bill comes in $150 higher than usual. Occasionally, I talk about that Lexus I want to buy…but it’s funny how I’d buy it for “$400 a month” plus interest but if I had the cash in savings, I’d NEVER take $20,000 out of my bank account and pay cash unless I had like $100,000 in the bank. I’d travel, donate to charity, enjoy a little financial security, and make my old car work for a while longer before I’d ever use the cash to buy the brand new car. How about you? What do you truly value?

Before I successfully made my plan to pay off my $50,000 of debt… I sat down and evaluated every single decision I made to acquire the debt to begin with because I firmly refuse to repeat mistakes. Only then, would I be able to proceed without failing in the future.

You don’t fix a leaky house by painting your ceiling and pretending that it’s fixed because the damage appears to be gone. You crawl up into the attic and find the source of the problem. Fix the hole, replace the insulation, cure the mold, repair the ceiling, and create a safer room at the bottom.

Do the same thing with your budget and finances for 2020.