Financial Merry-go-Round


My daughter is a very deep thinker, she's cautious, and she loves routine. When Rooney has the opportunity to try something new, she first observes. I love this about her. She's just like her Mamma. It's not necessarily a strength of mine, so it makes for a nice balance in our house.

So, when we visit places like the Heritage Carousel of Des Moines, it can be challenging on both ends. It's challenging as parents to drive across the city to provide your daughter with a fun experience, only to have her stare at it.

This happened at the Iowa State Fair this year. She went down the Giant Slide once with Kelsey (proof below), so the next time we went, we doubled down and bought two tickets for the slide, and she refused to go...


(Kelsey and Rooney are half way down the slide on the very right edge)

And it's challenging on the other end, when she finally gives it a try, falls in love with it and never wants it to end.

Once Rooney figures something out, or takes a calculated risk and likes what she is doing, she's all in. Focused on mastering that task, and repeating the behavior, over, and over, and over, and over again.

When she finally gets to that "a ha!" moment, my heart melts. She's got it! She's doing it! She's loving it! I couldn't be prouder.

This is how habits are formed as well, by repetition.

What's Your Financial Merry-Go-Round?

We all have our routines and habits that seem fun at the time, but are holding us back from something greater. We get stuck in a routine of comfort, and before we know it, our food budget is stuck at the same amount every month and we've convinced ourselves that under absolutely no circumstances could it ever be lowered again.

There are lots of areas in our budget that we do this, and they are usually the habits that need breaking the most. It's not even New Year's resolution time yet, but here are a few budget blinders that can hold us back from achieving our financial goals.

  • Coffee (Do you really need the fancy stuff everyday?)
  • Gym Membership (I'm all for health, but do you really use it?)
  • Cable/Satellite (How much do you watch, do you really need it, and do you know how much you could save by cutting it?)
  • Entertainment (A broad category... perhaps too broad which leads to overspending)
  • Pop/Soda (Do you drink more water than soda during the day?)
  • Tobacco products (Kill two birds with one stone; your health, and your budget)
  • Home Goods (Have you ever spent more than you intended at Target?)

These are typically the hot button items we (as a society) feel can't live without. Sometimes it's just a mind game. We're not sure how to change, quit, or cancel, and the mental hurdles keep us from moving forward toward change. Oh, yeah, there's that word "change." That's really hard too. It takes a strategy and discipline to change things.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

-Hebrews 12:11

Nobody wants to go through the pain of change, but we want the benefits of the change. We want to be healthier, and save money, but in the day to day, it's more comfortable to keep doing what we've always done. So we just keep doing what we've always done...

Back on the Merry-Go-Round

When it's time to be done, it's challenging to convince Rooney that it's time go. She doesn't want the ride to end because she's just mastered it. Of course she's a toddler, but I think I have these same thoughts in my own head at times too.

Coffee is my vice. And not even so much the fancy stuff from the coffee shop. I usually by the giant bag of Dunkin' Donuts original blend at Costco, and make about 20 oz. for myself every morning. I rarely use creamer, and never add sugar.

I like the smell. I like the taste. I like the warmth. I like to think it helps wake me up. But, I do remember a time when I wasn't a daily coffee drinker. It was before we had a baby...

I have to give it up for a short period of time every once in awhile to know that I still have some will power.

In relation to personal finances, we often know that we need to make changes, but don't because it's comfortable and familiar doing what we've always done. But, the difficult part is the short-term view and what we might be missing in the long-run.

Some habits bring only short-term pleasure, but are hurting us in the long-run. Which is why we all need to take a good hard look at what the long-run is. By setting goals, thinking WAY ahead about what we want life to look like financially, and start to real it back to reality and see how the choices we make today impact our future.

It's one of my favorite things about coaching, is digging into dreams and goals. Hearing what's really important to you and then helping you create a strategy to get there. Perhaps the first and easiest thing to change is how we think about our future. Once we have our sights set, it's easier to change the day-to-day habits.

What thing/things are keeping you on the merry-go-round?