If you want to pay-off debt and build wealth all you need to do is learn one simple two-letter word.
You need to learn to say, “N-O”!
One of the best disciplines (and hardest to develop) for paying off debt and building wealth is having the self discipline (self control) to say no to unneeded purchases. This is a discipline that I have struggled with over the years and has often impeded progress to our financial goals.
I love to find bargains! eBay, Craigslist, Pawn Shops, Thrift-Stores, Garage Sales all of these are excellent places to score a great deal. I pride myself in my ability to find bargains. I love to do the research then go on the hunt for a great buy.
Over the years this, “ability” has been an asset to our family. We rarely pay retail and buying lightly used bargains has saved our family some serious coin. On the other hand this, “ability” has also slowed our progress in eliminating our debt.
Often times, “deals” come at inopportune times…sometimes I stumble upon a deal that just can’t be passed up – but the budget doesn’t agree.
When I find one of these deals my mind begins to turn thinking of the different, “creative” ways to make the purchase happen. Creative solutions like rearranging the budget, selling stuff, offering a trade or borrowing from future allowance funds.
Unfortunately all to often these great deals are squeezed into the budget at the expense of something else. (This is one reason our debt snowball took longer than expected)
I think I have always known (at least on an intellectual level) the importance of being able to say no and walk away from a deal. But deals are not entirely intellectual – they are also emotional. Emotions have a way of skewing reality and clouding our intellect. So I have rarely said no.
Until one day…
I randomly stopped by a Pawn Shop – not shopping for anything in particular and out of the corner of my eye I saw a SWEET Specialized Mountain Bike. After walking over and inspecting it my heart began to race…for you bike pep’s out there it was a:
Specialized S-Works FSR
Full XTR Components
TIME Carbon Pedals
Rockshox SID Front Fork
Fox Float Rear Fork
It probably retailed for $2000+. My present bike is a nice Schwinn Homegrown Hardtail (when Yeti made High End Schwinns). The Homegrown is a great bike and functions perfectly. But… this Specialized was newer, full suspension and would have been a welcomed upgrade.
I took the bike out for a spin and it rode like a dream. As I blasted over curbs the front and rear shocks reacted and I could barely tell the bumps were there. The shifting was so smooth and riding it was pure joy. I could see myself shredding the local trails on this black beauty.
I sat outside the Pawn Shop thinking how I could make this deal happen. How much I could negotiate off the purchase price, how much I could sell my bike for and other creative solutions. I called Shae (my voice of reason) and told her about this incredible find. She is not as emotional about these things as I am (and she is incredibly good at saying no) and simply replied, “sounds like a great bike. Where is the money going to come from?”
As I began to give her my creative plan I saw all the holes in my reasoning. All the if’s and when’s made paying for this bike as planned about as likely as the lottery. As I tried to sell my wife on the idea I began to hear my silly emotions over this purchase.
This glimpse of reason came from spending the previous 12-months planning and saving. We had just sold the majority of our possessions. We had made some drastic decision to sacrifice comfort and possessions for meaningful time with loved ones.
Shae had quit her job and with it we left a steady paycheck, retirement matching and health insurance. Over the next 6-months our income was fixed and we would be living on savings as we grew our businesses. We had planned and saved for the months ahead and nowhere in the plan was an expensive new toy.
Standing at the Pawn Shop looking at my dream bike I came to the harsh realization that I was almost willing to jeopardize my families financial security over a two-wheeled-toy.
I wheeled the bike inside and said, “No”.
Every purchase has a cost. Sometimes this cost goes far beyond the price tag. I am slowly learning the fine art of saying, “No” and with this comes beautiful opportunities.
What about you? What have you said no to? What do you need to say no to? I would love to hear your thoughts — please share below! Lets develop our, “N-O” discipline so we can say yes to the things that really matter!