THE NEED FOR #livingwithless

My name is Layna and I have an unhealthy relationship with stuff and money.

There I’ve said it.

Point # 5. I am a rule follower. More on that here.

Until I am not.

Then I seem to blow the rule right out of the water. It’s like I give up. Or let go. I just decide I can’t do it, or that I don’t even want to try. The bigger the goal, usually the harder I fall. I’ve tried to psycho analyze myself to see why I do this, and I must admit I haven’t come up with anything very deep or profound. The shallow answer I have is that I just don’t have much willpower. But this isn’t actually the truth about me either. Ask my husband how many nights I have frantically ran on the spot while brushing my teeth because I wasn’t yet to my 10,000 step goal. I love achieving goals! The best I can hope is that over the course of this 2018 year, I can find some of the answers that I am seeking about the why.

Rules provide me comfort and solace. My own personal boundaries. The problem with saying to hell with them, is that those rules were put in place when I was not emotional, was thinking clearly and knew what I wanted in a larger scheme of things. They were not adopted in an impulsive setting. And when I toss the rules overboard, eventually I end up sinking into a sea of regret. It may not be initially, it may take some time, and I may even convince myself that it was the right choice. Until I come back to the rules. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Often this takes those close to me down as well. The decision to aim for something higher is a joint decision and more often than not, I decide it’s not fun anymore. Getting on that bandwagon is pretty easy for my family. Instant gratification is you know – gratifying. But what I have been learning is that it comes at a cost. Oddly enough, I believe the financial costs are the least of them. It is everything else that really costs. It is the things that money can’t fix. The regret. The dread. The shame. And the not fun, in starting all over again. From further behind.

Last year I decided I hated the color of my kitchen cabinets and started looking at painting them which lead to just replacing them, which lead to the need for a new backsplash, counters, under cabinet lighting, a larger island, and well then the flooring wouldn’t go anymore and if we changed the hardwood then the carpet on the stairs would surely need replacing as well right? I went to great lengths and took considerable time to pick out everything and price it all out, arrange financing etc. Only to decide it would be easier to just move. I went from a $5,000 cabinet paint job to needing a home worth $300,000 more than my current one, in a short time. And guess what – I had myself fully convinced and Jeff mostly convinced that: a) we should do it b) we deserved it c) we could afford it.

And so the new house hunt began. Again, it took time and effort and lots of energy, both physical and emotional. And I enjoyed every second of it. Until practicality got a hold of me and I decided we should do nothing. It was like I got to the edge of the cliff and got scared about what jumping would be like, when all I had been doing was training for the jump.

Back to the rules.

At the beginning of January Jeff and I looked at our personal finances and we came up with some great, but lofty, goals. They are attainable, but they require financial discipline like we haven’t had in oh quite a while. If we stick to “The Plan”, we can have our personal debt paid off, still go on a vacation, and have some money tucked aside to begin the great kitchen overhaul, inside 12 months. I have to believe that will feel ultimately so much more satisfying than taking on more debt and having it done today. I hope I am right!

While our plan means I must work more, as I have the flexibility in my life to allow for that and Jeff does not, I am in a season where I welcome that. Alexa and Nixon are both in school full time and my days have opened up a little. I need to make as much money as I usually do to help cover our household expenses, but the extra money to pay off debt and start the savings, falls squarely on my shoulders. This will be a full family commitment though, as a dollar unspent is the same as a dollar earned. Everyone will make sacrifices, and everyone will benefit and together we will all learn. It also means that I can’t have a throw the rules out kind of moment for an entire year! I’m scared. But I am invigorated. I’ve been doing this for 2 months now and I have been learning a lot about #livingwithless. I’m excited to share the things I’ve been learning, doing, and saying no to. It’s no small task but it sure feels good. Better that a new Prada bag right?!?!?

Stay tuned for more on this newest crazy adventure and feel free to join the journey! I will be posting pictures and stories on Instagram @lovelayna and using the #livingwithless. I encourage you to do the same. We’ve got this.