Living an Intentional Life

This is a guest post from NCN of NoCreditNeeded. NCN also does an excellent podcast, and runs a motivational network (for lack of a better term). If you like what you see here, please consider subscribing to his RSS feed.

I have been reading FiveCentNickel for almost three years. Over that time, I’ve learned a lot from Nickel, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to write a guest post.

Nickel and I agree on a lot of topics. We both believe in saving for retirement. We both work hard to save money. We believe in teaching our kids about money – Nickel and his wife have four boys. My wife and I have two kids — and a third on the way!

But there are also subjects about which we disagree. Big time!

Nickel uses credit cards. (Rather effectively, I might add.) I avoid them like the plague.

I use a detailed, monthly spending plan, also known as a budget. Nickel? He takes a look over last month’s expenses, but he doesn’t do a detailed budget, like I do.

I’m a big fan of debt reduction – and I think that most folks would benefit from a lowest-balance-first method. Nickel is a math nerd and likes a highest-rate-first approach.

Nickel calls me a ‘Luddite’ because I’m an old school guy. I don’t like credit cards and I still – gasp – write checks!

But, even though we differ on a few things, I think we could both agree on the following…

Be intentional.

Be teachable.

Three years ago, I was in debt, I had no plan, and I was scared. I began to search for answers, and within a very few days, I was able to put together a plan to get out of debt. But, I didn’t stop with ‘a plan’. I took the time to implement the plan, and I worked hard – harder than I had ever worked before – and I was able to get out of debt.

After getting out of debt, I worked even harder, saving up money in an emergency fund. And, after I fully-funded that emergency fund, I didn’t stop. I continued to think about the decisions I was making, the money I was spending, and the future I was building. I learned to be intentional. Every decision has a purpose. Every dollar means something.

Along my journey, I have encountered countless resources. I have absorbed so much new information. I have learned more in the last three years than I did in the previous ten. Why? Because I stopped being so stubborn and started listening to other people. If you want to grow as a person – and learn how to effectively manage your finances – then open yourself up to new ideas.

Stop looking around at the people who are ‘just like you’ and start looking for people that ‘you want to be like’. Find successful people, ask smart questions, and listen. You will be amazed by how quickly your life changes when you start opening yourself up to knew sources of information.

5 Responses to “Living an Intentional Life”

  1. Anonymous

    I have to wonder why Minimum Wage even bothers reading these blogs. Regardless of the blog, regardless of the topic; his comments are nothing but negative arguments. We get it already, either you are broke like so many of the rest of us, or you have some strange obsession with painting all broke people with the victim brush. Its a constant, why bother, or what if you don’t have enough money, etc. Thats his answer for everything. Sometimes life sucks, but the whole point of these blogs is to learn and build. Even if you don’t move the boulder, it is better to atleast try and push it out of the way rather than sit in the dirt and gripe about it. I don’t mean to sound hateful, but so many of us are in holes that seem inpossible to climb out of, and in fact may be, but it is worthless to fight for the negative attitude, its a losing battle. Even small steps count. If you can only save $2 dollars a week in a coffee can until you can open an interest bearing savings account, its progress. It might seem worthless, but its heading in the right direction. When I became serious about taking control of my finances, I decided that hell or high water, I would make it. Even if I don’t make it, its assured I won’t if I tell myself I can’t.

  2. Anonymous

    MW, you could be intentional about finding some other ways to make money. E.g. getting a better job – if you tried, maybe analyzing why you failed; getting some other income. E.g. have your own blog, sell stuff on ebay, etc. Some data entry jobs pay $15 an hour. I know it is hard when you aren’t young but immigrants who come to the US at that age often find jobs that pay more than minimum wage.

    Tried posting your resume here for example: http://www.retirementjobs.com/
    What about law clerk or a secretary or a technical writer? Your writing ability should count for something. A daughter of a friend of mine who has an English degree worked as a paralegal for a while.

  3. Anonymous

    I agree that you need to be open to new ideas. The problem is that there are so many financial crooks out there, that people are used to using anyones advice with a grain of salt. Sometimes they might not do a smart financial decision ( use credit cards that pay you back for your recurrent spending) but they would avoid doing something stupid (like buying a 5% load mutual fund).

  4. Anonymous

    Amen. As Yogi Berra once said “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.”

    I’d also add to your list of people to listen to besides your peers: your elders. They’ve been through a lot of what we’re going through, albeit with different words to describe it and with less zeros in the calculations.

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