The Dreaded B Word

Taking advantage of the power of budgeting

Wife asked me, “When are you going to spend the money we saved up for the motorcycle? We now have four hundred dollars set aside. The motorcycle needs repairs and upgrades. We’ve budgeted for it. Now go buy what you need already!”


What an excellent problem to have!

You may have noticed how the strongest people suddenly buckle at the knees at the mention of one word. To them, this word means no more fun, a bunch of rules, and prison.

What is the word? Budget.

Not Quite Bad Enough to Fix

Putting up with problems because they still kinda work

It’s the car tire with a slow leak. But since you’re still able to drive on it, you stop every so often and put air in it again. You put on another band-aid and keep going.


You keep meaning to fix the problem. “I’ll do it next week,” you tell yourself. But let’s be honest and admit it’s not going to happen. Not yet, at least.

Because it’s not quite bad enough for you to stop and fix the problem.

Pay Now or Pay Later

I’m fascinated with the timing of actions. There’s something powerful about making them early instead of late. Actions and their consequences build up momentum over time, whether good or bad.


Let’s use money as an analogy. Money tends to earn interest when left alone, right? This can work for or against you.

When you have money, interest adds to your savings. When you owe money, interest adds to your debt. This is a natural consequence of financial decisions.

Let’s switch the analogy, and use these terms instead: the action taken, time, and the consequences involved.

Explosives and Freedom’s Two Friends

During senior year of high school, three of my good friends and I were granted an extraordinary amount of freedom. We formed a rocket team to compete in a national competition. It was a great excuse to play with wood, razors, glue, and paint.

And explosives!


Qualifying for the competition required us to be off campus often to launch rockets and analyze their flights. Which required driving there, often in our own vehicles.

Though there was definitely a rule against driving our cars off campus during school time, we were the exception to the rule.

This freedom was not free, however. It was only possible thanks to two very good reasons. Did you know freedom always hangs around its two friends?

The first is discipline.

The four of us did our homework on time. We were in the advanced classes. We worked very hard to compete with each other on every quiz and test. We were studying physics and calculus and we applied our rocketry design to our homework and vice versa.

For the most part, we followed the rules and didn’t make trouble.

The second is responsibility.

We were trusted to do what we were told, even when no teachers were around. Each time we were granted a little freedom, we proved we could manage ourselves well and not abuse the power. Though we were mischievous for sure, we didn’t ever get in much trouble.

It took us years to earn a reputation for responsibility.

During senior year, these two combined to earn us freedom — glorious freedom!

Freedom to drive off campus and play games in class and many other liberties forbidden to students. Of course, this all depended on our willingness to respect the teachers’ rules, get our work done, and be a good example to the younger students.

And you know what? It felt so good to be trusted, there was no way we would abuse our freedom!

What a great life lesson.

It’s difficult to earn freedom. It takes tons of discipline and years of responsibility. Those who don’t have it resent those who do. They whine about not having it.

But those who have earned freedom have found a very good thing.

Are you earning freedom through discipline and responsibility? How would your boss or spouse answer this question about you?

Planned Neglect II: Extreme Focus

There are so many good things out there. So many, it’s likely we will completely lose sight of the great things. The things only we can do. The things worth doing above all others. Our lack of focus minimizes results.

In The One Minute Millionaire, I read of a Vietnamese couple who constantly dealt with tough times, yet still managed to be successful. Twice, they traded their life savings for passage into the United States. There, they started over financially for the third time.


Here, the man and wife worked in a bakery owned by a cousin. Oh, and they lived there, too! They slept in the back on sacks of sawdust.

The cousin offered to sell the bakery for $30,000. However, making just $15,600 a year, this would be tough!

But not with extreme focus and planned neglect…

This couple knew how to neglect the right things. In two years they had somehow saved $30,000 and bought the bakery! That’s right — they lived on just $600 each year.

They owned it, but they still owed another $90,000 on a note.

They decided to live in the back one more year. After three years of no extra expenses and a huge goal, they were debt free and running a successful bakery.

The best part of the story is the man’s logic for not getting an apartment:

If we got ourselves an apartment, which we could afford on $300 per week, we’d have to pay the rent. Then, of course, we’d have to buy furniture. Then we’d have to have transportation to and from work, so that meant we’d have to buy a car. Then we’d have to buy gasoline for the car, as well as insurance. Then we’d probably want to go places in the car, so that meant we’d need to buy clothes and toiletries. So I knew that if we got that apartment, we’d never get our $30,000 together.
–Le Van Vu, multi-millionaire businessman

Most people choose tiny treasures right now instead of vast treasures later because they are unwilling to dig into the effort wholeheartedly. They spread their efforts on many “good” projects instead of a single great one.

Planned neglect is incredibly difficult.

But sheesh, is it powerful!

What could you accomplish with your life if you focus intentionally and neglect all distractions? Let your mind wander and share your thoughts as a comment.