My ebook has me thinking a lot about intentionality and why we’re prone to react instead of living intentionally. Building the foundation has required hours of conceptual thinking, but theories need to grow legs and walk eventually.
The point of being intentional isn’t to add another item to already full to do lists. The goal is to see results, to cultivate the essential yet often neglected areas of our lives.
For the two weeks until the ebook launches, I’m writing a series of posts about specific applications for intentionality: money, relationships, health, and spiritual growth.
Let’s start with money.
Though Mike and I earned little early in our marriage, our lack of income wasn’t the problem; our lack of intention was. No amount of income can overcome willful ignorance.
3 ways to be intentional with money:
1. Live on a budget
“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” – John Maxwell
Budgeting is the most intentional and life changing thing you can do with money. A budget gives you a framework that fits into your overall plan. I used to feel anxious over even small purchases because I had no idea how it affected our overall situation or future. Budgeting is a tool for freedom, not restriction: it gives you a sense of freedom within constraints.
2. Set financial goals
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Lewis Carroll
Because we’re human, we’ll drift into passive mode without a reason to keep paying attention. Setting goals, even small ones, gives you focus and a reason to keep being intentional. Our current financial goal is to become debt free. The picture at the top of this post is a simple visual that keeps me motivated. Keeping track of our progress month to month reminds me that we’re getting somewhere, that it’s worth it, and to keep going.
3. Work together with your spouse
Early in our marriage, Mike and I struggled to communicate about money. We lived with an intense awareness and constant stress that we didn’t have enough, but neither of us had the courage to work through the dirty details.
Now we celebrate the victories, endure the frustrations, and hold each other accountable. There may be conflict, and it may be uncomfortable but your relationship and your finances will benefit profoundly from working together.