It's getting colder, which means that the long summer nights, the sounds of crickets chirping in the darkness, and the warm weather are slowly starting to wind down. Back to school shopping lists are in hand. But we want to use this time of year to remind you how important it is to take care of yourself, nurture your hobbies, and focus on the things most important to you. Summer is often associated with pausing and taking a break, but that doesn't mean you should wind that down with the season.
A Budget Doesn't Need To Limit Your Experiences
We write a lot about the importance of having and sticking to a budget. And for good reason. We honestly believe that budgeting is the #1 way for most people to begin to generate wealth. But having a budget doesn’t mean cutting out all of the things you love. And it doesn’t mean always doing whatever costs the least. After all, many of the most important things in life cost nothing at all. Don’t forget that one of the pillars of good budgeting is being able to save for and buy the things you want and need most.
If you’ve seen our about us page, you know that we grew up with very little. Our dad died from brain cancer and our mom always struggled financially. But her lack of financial resources didn’t stop us from having a full childhood. In fact, we feel incredibly grateful for our loving family and all of the fun memories.
The Best Vacations Can Cost The Least
Sure, we didn’t grow up taking annual summer vacations, but we also didn’t even know that was a thing. We had a blast playing soccer, riding our bikes, and hanging out as a family. Learning to cook from our mom was so much fun and after all of these years we now wish we would’ve paid better attention.
One of our favorite memories when we were little was when one summer my mom decided to take the two of us and our older brother on a road trip. But this wasn’t just any road trip. This was a drive from Florida up to NYC because she wanted us to see all of the opportunities there were for us. We were only 8 years old at the time and this was the only family vacation we ever went on, but it was life changing.
We remember standing at the foot of the twin towers in Manhattan and being awed and inspired by their size and beauty. On that trip, my mom even took us to visit the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. None of us imaged that Camilo would actually graduate from there 14 years later.
Little did she know that trip continues to inspire us to this day.
Focus On The Things You Love
As you can tell, nothing was (or is) more important to our mother than spending time with her three kids, so when we were growing up at home she prioritized coming to watch our soccer games. She had to work tirelessly to make ends meet, so she wasn’t able to be there for every single game, but we always saw the effort she made to be there for us. If parent-teacher conferences meant she had to miss work or pick up an extra shift she’d always do that.
It wasn’t until we got older that we realized that she wasn’t only there for us because we wanted her to do so. In a way, supporting us at our after school activities became her hobby. A release from the stressful day-to-day of being a single mom tirelessly working just to keep the lights on at home.
You Need To Develop Ways To Relieve Stress In A Healthy Way
As we’ve matured we’ve also seen the impact of having a hobby, or activity that you absolutely love doing. Working hard to save money and build wealth can be stressful, overwhelming, or daunting. An awesome way to cope with that is to have a go-to stress reliever.
If that’s going to watch your kids play baseball, that’s amazing. If it’s going for a jog or long walk to clear your mind that’s perfect. Or maybe you have a weekly TV show or program that is your guilty pleasure. You might even have a dog or pet you love playing with.
If something is helping you keep your sanity, then don’t cut it out of your life to save a buck. Simply cut out other things to make up for it. Budgeting and personal finance should help you find the things that are most important to you. While you are budgeting, you’ll be able to see how much you spend on certain aspects of your life and whether it is actually worth it or not.
The moments where you cringe while looking at how you’ve spent your money is a sign that you have work to do. It’s actually a great thing to have these realizations because they help you better prioritize the way you spend your money, and more importantly, your time.
Don't Cut Corners To Save Money – Build Your Passions Into Your Budget
Some hobbies or activities are more expensive than others. So if you feel like you NEED to spend $150 a week on exercise classes, we challenge you to dig deeper and see why you feel that way. Is it the music that you love? Do you need to the group setting to keep you motivated to exercise? Perhaps you just love having a shared activity with a close friend? Once you are able to understand why you crave something, you can seek a less expensive alternative that fits within your budget, but still meets the same need.
You Health Is More Important Than Money
A healthy diet and exercise are so important for your health. (If you are ready to start to exercise but don't know where to start, our friend Mike chronicled his experience with P90x3.)
Since one of us is a doctor, we also need to touch on how important it is to take care of your health. Having billions of dollars doesn’t really matter if you aren’t around to enjoy it or give it away. Having lost our dad to cancer, we are 100% sure that Steve Jobs’ kids would give every single penny to get to spend even 1 more day with their dad. Steve Jobs was the founder of Apple and died at 56 after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer. Not having health insurance or life insurance because you'd rather save the money isn't wise!
Here's what you need to know about life insurance: https://thefinancetwins.com/what-is-life-insurance/
If you’re putting in long hours at work, diligently sticking to a budget, and living within your means, that’s great! But if you are then filling your body with garbage, that’s a red flag. We aren’t going to sit here and pretend that we only eat salads for every meal, but just like money, you need to “budget” your meals. Occasionally splurging and buying that gadget you’ve been saving for can be a lot of fun. So go ahead and order the burger and fries. Just don’t make a habit of it. Moderation is key.
So even though it might feel like summer is starting to wind down, and Labor Day is right around the corner, just remember that the fun doesn’t need to – and shouldn’t – end now. Find the things you love most and double down on them. Just budget wisely. You’ll be more happy and more wealthy. A win-win.
You work too hard not to.