Today, I'm going to take a bit of a different tactic. I intend to engage your imagination.
Think of an open spot of land, perhaps next to a river, or in the middle of the woods, or wherever you would feel most safe and content. Bring it to life in your mind. Some place that allows you to let go easily of all the cares and worries of your day, week, or month. In fact, you can allow yourself to enjoy that relative peace for now before we move forward.
Once you have had your fill, it is time to start building a sanctuary for yourself here. Imagine the perimeter of perhaps a dream house in this idyllic setting. The perimeter of this house, very basically, outlines its boundaries. This is only as far as it can grow unless something changes. Your budget is very much the same way. It can only grow to the limits of your income. If your budget needs to be larger, then your income needs to grow to allow the extra room. Imagine placing the outline markings for this place.
Once you have your markings for the outline of your house in this wonderfully serene, peaceful setting, it needs to be secured. No place is completely safe from the elements. If you spend time looking at building sites, you will notice that the construction work involves digging into the ground before laying down a foundation. This is to secure the building into the earth and help prevent it from washing away in strong rains or floods. Your sanctuary place should be the same. We aren't trying to protect against natural storms, however. The storms we are securing against are the emotional storms brought on by unexpected bad circumstances. Things like an unexpected job loss, economic uncertainty, or intense relational or emotional stress.
You see, your sanctuary needs to be secured against these storms by digging into the ground of your peaceful setting. How secure this foundation is will be determined by your own personal commitment to living within your means. This means not spending more money than you bring in as income. The more you stand against the temptation to go above your own income in spending the deeper and more secure this foundation will be. If the commitment is deep and strong enough, no emotional storm can wash away this place of retreat and regroup.
As you look at your budget today, I encourage and challenge you to view it as this retreat you have in your mind. A place where you can go and feel comfortable enough to recharge to face new financial challenges. Not only that, but you can use it to dream up the next big money goals you and/or your family can begin to tackle. I would encourage you to draw this setting and your sanctuary out on some paper and leave it around to remind you of this exercise.
Also, please keep in mind, that we have only begun to build this place. Join me next week as we continue to build your Money House.