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My One Word for How I feel About Our Money

In the free Financial Detox Challenge I hosted on Facebook several years ago, I asked participants to introduce themselves by sharing one word that describes the way they currently feel about their finances.

The answers were very telling, ranging from “overwhelmed”, “distracted”, “nervous”, and “pathetic”, all the way to “autopilot”.

We've been working through some of these issues over the last few weeks as we detoxed, decluttered, and made sense of each person's financial affairs.

But it dawned on me this morning that I never gave my word for how I feel about our finances.

This one is an important one for me to share with you, as it's why I do what I do – so that I can teach others how to get this for themselves.

It's show and tell time!

My Word for Our Finances is = Choices.

While at a party the other night, I struck up a conversation with a CPA. She has several clients with one in particular constituting a large percentage of her earnings for years.

They no longer need her for a variety of reasons that I can't remember.

But what do I remember? This lady told me that she was looking for a new client to fill this vacant slot that would be less stressful.

She also wants to continue working from home to avoid the heinous Houston commute.

For these self-named luxuries that will undoubtedly add to her Quality of Life, she was more than willing to take less money.

Why was she in a position to choose to take less money? Because her finances were in order.

I couldn't help but radiate as she told me all this, chomping at the bit to get a word in.

“That is the most awesome thing I try to impart to people about why I'm SO passionate about finances,” I said.

“If you have things in place, then you can make choices and start to design your life. You don't have to take those high-paying and high-stressful clients anymore because you don't need the money or at least not all of the money that others need to support their lives.”

And it's completely true. Having your financial affairs in order gives you so much more than interest and dividends; suddenly you have time to think through decisions instead of hopping on knee-jerk reactions that might not make sense for you in the long term.

It helps you in how to get better at managing your money.

Choices Money Has Given Us in Our Lives

To really drive home the importance of this, I want to give you examples of how it has played out in our lives.

  • Chose to Own instead of Rent: We had the savings, so we took advantage of Houston's affordable home ownership market (rent and mortgage costs are equal in many cases, but of course, there are other homeownership costs a renter doesn't incur) in time to score the free-and-clear $8,000 first-time homebuyer's tax credit. Ka-ching! This in turn allowed us to take $7,000 of that and put it down on our debt, catapulting our get-out-of-debt goal before walking down the aisle over four years ago.
  • Chose to Quit my Job instead of Continuing to Work Weekends/Nights on My Writing: I was able to choose to quit my full-time job to pursue my full-time passion…without having yet figured out how to make a full-time income from it (still working on that!). I can't even describe to you the joys + life satisfaction this has given me.
  • Chose Dayshift instead of Nightshift: We knew the potential implications of Paul telling his boss – after 6 grueling months of 12-hour nights (7 nights on/7 nights off) – that he would no longer do nightshift. I mean, they could have just told him to pack his bags. Fortunately, they did not. However, we never would have been able to make such a huge Quality-of-Life upgrade had we not had the savings to back up the potential consequences.

This is what I want for YOU and YOUR loved ones. Your lifestyle + choices may be completely different from mine.

And that's totally cool.

The only thing I care about is helping you get to the point where you have no choices at all. What a difference this will make in your life!

And it doesn't matter where you are in your money evolution at the moment – getting out of debt, saving gobs of money, shifting up, or lifestyle design. Start with where you are, with what you have. I guarantee you that a year from now you will be super glad you did.

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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.

Mrs. Maroon

Tuesday 24th of February 2015

Wow!! Samantha could have literally been sitting inside my head! Only difference is we already have kiddos. And it hurts every day to drop them off at day care. I long for the day when I can do "whatever I want"!!


Wednesday 25th of February 2015

Awww:). What are you working on to get there?

FI Investor

Tuesday 24th of February 2015

Excellent article! Almost everything in life involves a choice, sometimes it is too easy to make the wrong choice but the difference is having the discipline in your life to make the right choice no matter what the consequences are.


Wednesday 25th of February 2015

Thanks so much!

Adam @ AdamChudy.com

Tuesday 24th of February 2015

I definitely think freedom from a day job is the primary motivation of most people in this community. Choices is a good word.


Wednesday 25th of February 2015

For sure! And it doesn't mean actually leaving a 9-5, necessarily; just knowing that you could changes everything.


Tuesday 24th of February 2015

Having options is very freeing. I'm just starting to realize the power that I have now that I'm not as financially tied to all of my decisions. Being able to speak up at work about things that you don't like or agree with really helps increase my quality of life. Now I realize that people without the same financial security might also speak up, but many times fear is a stronger emotion to them so they don't want to shake things up because they fear the consequences or rely completely on their jobs to get by. I know there was a point in life where I was one of these people. I was much more likely to just put my head down and grumble about the decisions that were made that I didn't like at work simply because I didn't feel like I had any power. Having options makes your position at the negotiating table much stronger.

Amanda L Grossman

Tuesday 24th of February 2015

Yes, Zee, you've put it nicely! It's so great to be able to just be yourself without as much fear of the consequences because you have financial backups.


Tuesday 24th of February 2015

I love your money "word" and I think mine would be something similar, along the lines of "freedom". Which to me, choices = freedom. Whenever I tell a friend/colleague that we have paid off our house, etc. or that we are planning to retire extremely early, many times I get the stumped looked, and asked "But what will you DO?!" And then I just smile and say "Whatever we want!" Because it's so true. Maybe stay at home with our (future) children, maybe travel the world! People do not understand that with money comes choices.

Amanda L Grossman

Tuesday 24th of February 2015

Love that, Samantha! You guys are giving yourselves so many options in the future (and today) from the smart financial choices you've made. Way to go!