Dreams become reality when you budget for them. Even if that budget is a 5 year or 10 year plan, having your dream in the plan makes all the difference. That’s all a budget is after all, a plan. I know that a plan may not seem like the sexiest thing out there, but there really is nothing quite like taking an idea and planning it out to make it real.
My wife and I are in the process of buying a charming, yet very old home that will need some attention and renovations. We had excitedly talked about how we would re-do the kitchen for the last few weeks, which was nice. When we actually sat down and planned out when we could do that renovation, mostly DIY, within our budget in a few years, it suddenly became real. My wife came up to me later that night and said, “I know that we’ve been talking about it, but now that I know we can actually afford it it’s so real. It makes it so much more exciting.”
Putting it in the budget/plan is the difference between wishing that things would change and making them change. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, or if it’s money related or not. Plan for it or let it go.
Plan vs Planning
I ask my clients what they want not just on a month to month basis from their budget, but what they want to work towards long term. My favorite thing about budgets is that they help you plan out the answer to this question.
Plans are nothing; Planning is Everything.Dwight Eisenhower
You might be thinking now if plans are nothing, why are we doing them? The plans will never necessarily come to fruition exactly as you lay them out. That’s just life. There will always be something to blow you off course. The act of planning though… that’s something different. Planning is the act of evaluating goals, strategies and tasks to accomplish something. Planning forces you to look at where you are versus where you want to go and figure out:
- What is my goal? Where exactly do I want to go?
- What are the necessary steps to get there?
- Is this realistic if I think outside the box? (i.e. Can I afford it?)
- What happens if things don’t work out?
- What’s the back up plan?
Just like using a roadmap, once you have a destination and plan for you to get there, you’re off on your adventure. Once you start moving though, the plan will have to change. For example, if you didn’t know there was a closed road on your route and now have to divert. This means you will have to revisit your plan and continue planning and budgeting as you move ahead.
If It’s Not in the Budget, It’s Not Happening
If it’s not in the budget, it’s not happening. That’s the real step to making your dreams become reality. It doesn’t really matter what your goal is for this to be true.
Maybe you want to retire at age 40.
Or you want to quit your job to be a full time parent.
Or you want to go back to school.
Regardless of the content of your dream, you won’t get there if it’s not in the budget. Say, in order to go back to school, you need to cut your hours at work. If you haven’t planned out how that would look on a monthly basis, your dream will continue to remain just a dream. To make your dreams become reality, you need a plan.
Write out your dreams. Prioritize this list as you’ll be able to give your all towards only one large goal at a time. Take that dream and quantify it into a goal. From there, you can lay out the steps to reach your goal and make this part of your reality. Try laying out the budget for as long as you’d need to reach your goal. Only then will you know for certain that you can definitely make your dream become reality.
If you want help laying that budget out, take a look at my financial coaching services. I’d love to help you use your money as a tool to build the life you deserve.