At some point, everyone has wished that they were independently wealthy. Contestants on reality TV are always winning inordinate amounts of prize money. Celebrities are constantly buying more expensive clothing and real estate and taking luxurious vacations. Keeping up with Jones’ seems to get tougher every year.
But there are ways to afford anything and everything you’ve always wanted that don’t involve either inheriting a distant relative’s millions or putting yourself in enough debt to rival that of the United States government.
Make Monthly Payments to Yourself
If your dream car is well over your budget, start with a cheap, used car and make plans for the future. Every month, set aside enough money for a car payment in a separate bank account so you won’t be tempted to dig into it for everyday purchases. Save faithfully until you have enough to make a down payment and a few months’ worth of payments. This will save you several months of paying interest, allow you to pay off the car faster, and give you time to see if it’s really the car you want (instead of investing in it on a moment’s whim).
The same principle can apply to anything you’re saving up for: vacations, your first home, your favorite band’s latest CD, a new wardrobe, etc. Don’t be afraid to wait for what you want. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever get it, but it does mean that you won’t go into debt for it, you’ll have time to realize just how badly you do or don’t want it, and it’ll make its eventual acquisition that much more meaningful.
Nothing Comes from Nothing
You will never be able to afford everything you’ve always wanted unless you’re willing to work for it. If you inherit millions, you have to work to keep them. If you start in the working middle class, you’ll need to make yourself stand out and climb your way to the top. Don’t expect something to come from nothing—you’ll be disappointed every time.
Some of the most famous billionaires of today started right where you might be right now: as a “nobody,” in the eyes of the world. Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout; Amancio Ortego was a railway worker’s son. They didn’t get to be on the top of Forbes’ “Richest People” list without a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
Reevaluate Your Priorities
If you want to be able to afford everything you want, figure out what it is you really want. What motivates you? If a brand new house, the latest car model, and the most fashionable clothing is what truly makes you happy, then you’ll want to find that job that will pay for all of those material possessions. If you’re content with a house large enough for your needs, don’t care about keeping up with the latest clothing fads, and would rather spend your money on books, art, music, or vacations, plan your spending accordingly.
Once you’ve figured out where your priorities are, all of the little things will start falling away. If you’re saving for a three-week vacation around Europe, going out to eat for lunch every day won’t seem so important anymore. If you’ve always wanted a brand-new, two-story vacation home in New York or Calgary, home insurance, property taxes, and mortgages aren’t going to seem like such a sacrifice.
Practice Self-Control . . . for Now
You should always practice self-control, but it’s even more important to be frugal while you’re doing your best to save up for whatever it is you want. If you don’t need something now, wait. If you give it a few days before you run out and purchase it, you might find that you don’t actually want it after all—or that something else you’ve been wanting is more important.
So until you make it rich, control your urge to spend every penny that falls into your lap. You’ll just end up with a lot of stuff that you’ll end up sending to Goodwill or selling at a garage sale. Save yourself the clutter—that way, when something comes along that you really do want, you’ll be able to afford it. It’s that simple: sacrifice the on-a-whim purchases, and you’ll be able to purchase more important, long-lasting items that will satisfy you in the long run.
The simplest way to afford everything you want is to become an instant millionaire overnight with no effort on your part. But since the odds of that happening aren’t even worth mentioning, you’ll have to settle for the more traditional methods. Save your money, work hard, and distinguish between what you really want and what passing whims you’ll regret buying. Eventually, everything you want won’t seem so out of reach after all.
Melanie Hargrave and her family recently purchased a new home with the help of Anthony Clark Insurance; she loves finances, budgeting, and sharing her thoughts and experiences with others. She also loves spending time with her husband and daughters, playing sports, and reading.