The Journey

In this get out and build wealth thing – yet another unwelcome discovery: The journey is at least as important as the destination. Like every other endeavor that requires behavior change, merely arriving at the destination is not enough.

If you could go to bed fat and wake up thin, I guarantee it would not be long before you were fat again. Similarly, many of those that benefit from a financial windfall find themselves right back where they started in a short time.

We all want the quickest easiest path from where we are, to where we want to be. We don’t want to think or consider how we got here or even where here really is.

In our heads, we know the quick fix or magic pill doesn’t exist, but in our hearts we want to believe it does. This feeling in our heart is real and powerful and often overcomes our head knowledge. People trying to get out of debt almost always want to borrow their way out. These are smart people. They would readily advise a stranger that you cannot borrow your way out of debt but, when it comes to their own situation that logic seems to vaporize.

Spenders that force themselves into spend-free fasting, do save money and do pay down debt.

IF, while on this fast, we take the opportunity to explore our mindless pursuit of stuff, we CAN change forever our relationship with money.

However, without considered thought as to what need we are trying to fill with the endless pursuit of possessions; we spenders are destined to bounce right back to the old behavior and continue to spend more than we make, accrue debt and fail to save.

Newsflash! This is your life. You spend a huge chunk of it making your money. Take the time to discover what makes you truly happy before you spend.

Preparing a budget each month before the month begins is one concrete way to be intentional with your money. You look at every budget category and decide how much it should be. Don’t care about TV but desperately want to go out with your friends on Friday night? Fine, cut out cable and increase going out. Hate, hate, hate that old couch? Make adjustments in your budget that allow you to start saving for a new one.

Buying something because it catches your eye is NOT being intentional. That unneeded, unplanned new pair of shoes just set the purchase date of your new couch back a whole month. If you tend to buy things that you think you really want, only to get home and a) discover you already have one or b) you’ll never really use it, you need to spend some time thinking about ways to change this behavior.

Choosing not to be fully present when making financial decisions is how we got here. If we can’t learn to be present and untangle our decision-making we will revisit this place again and again.

Cutting the Cable

The challenge is to eliminate the cable and cut costs by at least $100 a month without sacrificing entertainment.

Saturday I packed up our DVR’s and returned them to the Bright House Cable office. The last time I remember being without cable was the summer of 1991, when we were wonderfully and completely TV free. I have been paying these people for 20 years since our last break.

I don’t hate Bright House. They provided us with good service over the years; but like every other cable company they fall way short on the original promise of cable-better programming with fewer commercials.

The price of getting commercial TV over the cable keeps ticking up. Last summer we added a second TV in the guest bedroom and the additional seldom used outlet with a DVR added $25 a month (plus all those ridiculous taxes).

Cost of Cable TV:

HBO                                       $18.00

Combo (cable/phone)   $76.99

HD Pack                                $ 6.00

DVR Service                       $ 9.95

DVR Service                       $ 9.95

Add’l Outlet                       $    .95

HD DVR                               $ 8.00

HD DVR                               $ 8.00

+Netflix Blu-ray              $11.99

That totals $149.83 or $1,797.96 a year or $ 8989.80 over 5 years!

New Hardware:

Antenna, Radio Shack $30 This is to pickup networks, CBS, NBC, FOX and  PBS. All of these come in fine in high def.

Roku XD Streaming Player 1080p – (Cool tiny box). I bought the $80 XD model for 1080 high def and Wireless N. This connects wirelessly to our internet (we already had a wireless router) and allows us to stream TV, Movies, Sports and Music.

OBI110-$49.99 This little box lets me replace the cable phone line with a free Google voice number while using our existing cordless phones. No computers need to stay on. So far, I love this thing. It installed very easily and works as promised.



No monthly charge, some content free for prime members, movies rental 3.99 for new releases, TV episodes about $1


Watch Instantly Unlimited TV and Movies $7.99 a month (streaming movie selection is not as any where near as good as DVD selection)


Tons of TV old and new, lots of movies, very limited ads $7.99 a month


I paid $109 for the subscription that allows us to watch any almost game any time. Be very careful that you are not in a blackout area for your home team.

Cost without Cable:

HuluPlus              $ 7.99

Netflix                  $ 7.99 (changed to streaming only)

MLB                       $15.60 (total cost divided by 7 months. I guess I may have to do something similar after baseball season for NFL or college basketball)

Total new cost $31.58 MONTHLY SAVINGS $118.25 Hardware Costs $160.00


I bought the new hardware and hooked everything up in the guest room where we have a flat screen HDTV. Once I had it figured out, I moved the Roku and antenna downstairs. There I discovered our older non- flat screen HDTV was really a HDTV monitor. Because it has no tuner it cannot be connected directly to an antenna.

The solution was to sell it and its cabinet and move the flat screen downstairs. It’s bigger, better and worlds easier to connect.

Antenna-So far, we’ve watched nothing on this as almost all the network stuff we like is available on HuluPlus with very limited commercials. With cable, we used the DVR’s and never watched anything live -including sports. By recording a game and watching 30 minutes after the start time we could fast forward through the commercials.

Sports- Not at all sure how will we get NFL or College Basketball. Some we can get off the antenna but then we have commercials and no DVR.


I am a newbie at this and would love to hear your suggestions on how we can remain happily cable free.

The Big Splurge

My friends & clients often want me to be the fun police. I’m really not against fun nor do I hate stuff, but I do recognize the glassy-eyed look of car, vacation and boat fever.

Live Intentional

Most people would agree our lives are happier, healthier and more productive when we act intentionally – rather than being  possessed by consumer fever. This means we do our best every day to align our behaviors with our goals. We dream about and plan our futures.

Even though I’m committed to this intentional thing, I still fall prey to marketing, and impulse, – falling off the wagon from time to time. But because I have learned to recognize the warning signs, it happens a lot less than it used to and it involves much, much smaller sums of money.

Big Red Flag

Driving down the road you see a shiny car (or boat or motorcycle) parked in a lot, sporting a hand drawn For Sale sign. You stop look and then spend the rest of the day working yourself into a “must have” frenzy.

This car, (or boat or motorcycle) is not on wish list posted to your fridge. You have not earmarked money specifically for this purchase. In fact, until you saw it you didn’t even know how bad you needed it. This is a BIG red flag.

When locked into this “gotta have it” state, our powers of rationalization are phenomenal. Just sit back and listen next time you are around a potential buyer in a frenzy.

“I haven’t treated myself in sooo long.” Oh, cry me a river. Maybe you haven’t “treated” yourself in so long because you’ve been trying to climb out from the giant hole you created the last time you treated yourself.

“I’ll never find another one (the car, the boat, the motorcycle) this good ,this cheap, this color blah blah blah .” Oh please, how you would even know – you weren’t even looking for one.

“If I just had this……” Right, think back , these words came out of your mouth when you were five too. “Mommy, if I just had this one toy, I’d never ask for anything else.” Did you really mean it then? Do you mean it now?


Being intentional does not mean you need to live a locked down life without the room for spontaneity. I want you to be able make a purchase “just because”, in fact, we set money aside for that at the beginning of the month, it was your blow money.

If you make enough and save enough, your blow money budget might allow you to buy a car (or boat or motorcycle), but for most of us, that is a major purchase, not an impulse buy.


Ok, so you have the money available (cause you are going to make me nuts if you are even considering making this purchase with credit) and it’s unnamed (this is exactly why we name all our savings) and you want it really bad, ask yourself:

What does it cost?

I mean really cost. Total the original purchase price, the tax and fees, the upkeep the insurance etc. Now convert that to how long you have to work to pay for it. That is what it costs in terms of your life. Right now today would you trade that chunk of your life for this purchase?

Is this the highest and best use for this money?

What are the chances that before you can replace this money another (better) opportunity will arise?

Maybe your daughter will decide to marry; do you have that covered?

Maybe you’ll have a chance to take a job you’ve always wanted but it will require an expensive move, is this purchase worth missing that opportunity?

Is this purchase in line with my current values, goals and dreams?

If you have asked yourself these three questions and still want to make the purchase, go stand in the cold shower until the feeling goes away.