For our personal challenge in July we will be waking up at a set time every day. The intent is to create a consistent approach to starting out our days and even buy us some time to do some work (not job related) in the morning before our son wakes up.
Waking up early has been cited many times as a habit of the wealthy as noted by Tom Corley. Obviously, waking up early alone does not make you wealthy but as Corley notes this time is used to better yourself and put it towards self-improvement. During this time we would like to read, write or design personal projects in addition to working on our budget or finances. Maybe it would be a good time to walk together as well while the weather isn’t as unbearable.
To expand more though on how it can affect your finances in a more direct way here are some ways that you can use this time.
You can use this time to either work on a new budget for the month or to review the status of it. Doing so at the beginning of the day will keep it fresh in mind and can affect your plan for your day. Looking at it and your current spending each day is a great way to keep you on track so you can adjust or slow down your expenses to stay on budget.
Besides getting breakfast in and starting your day off right this is a great time to make your lunch to take to work or maybe start a meal in the slow cooker. This is a good time to make a meal plan or review your current one and plan any trips to the grocery store. The key here is to not have to resort to eating out unexpectedly or forgetting items at the grocery store when you go. This is a critical category when it comes to staying on top of your budget or letting it get out of control.
If you have items on your list such as getting life insurance or maybe you are looking at switching insurance companies for lower costs and need to get quotes this is a good time to do so. Once the day starts it is easy to let the whirlwind of work or kid’s activities get in the way of you putting this off another day.
4. FINANCE BLOGS OR BOOKS
This is a good time to read either a finance book or blog about a topic you’re interested in or learn about other success stories to keep up your motivation. You can add podcasts to this as well and can extend that time to listening to them on your way to work. The point is to surround yourself with ideas that get you to where you want to go. If you let the news or other negative topics get in your head they can distract you away from your goals. It is OK to be informed but if the news gets you riled up use that energy elsewhere for your own benefit.
5. GET INTO WORK EARLY
Although you are foregoing the above items in order to get to work earlier it shows great initiative with your boss and maybe gets you some new opportunities that other co-workers would miss. It could also allow you to get home earlier as well depending on your job.
6. REVIEW YOUR “WHY”
What’s the point of being financially disciplined? Besides covering the basics of food and shelter and being on time with the bills you committed to paying, once you get past these items it is good to reflect on why you are making the decisions you are making? Why are you trying to get out of debt and seemingly depriving yourself from eating or going out as much? Why are you trying to make a budget work? We don’t just do it because Dave Ramsey says to. We are doing it because we need to be working towards a bigger reason such as wanting to spend more time with your family or to be able to travel more. The thing is though that the decisions you make today will affect how and when you get there.
Now that you’ve reviewed your “why” establish some goals for the day, month, year or decade. Don’t be afraid to dream big but make them tangible, particularly the ones for today. Small actionable items today can really add up to success in the future. These most likely will be the mundane goals of just normal life such as doing laundry or making dinner but realize that all decisions either can impact where you take your life and your finances. Having and achieving the goal of not eating out today will most certainly contribute to you getting to where you want to be in 5 or 10 years.
So with that we hope that by waking up consistently for a month it will really add structure to our, more so my, life since I haven’t been as good about effectively using my time in the morning. For us specifically, we will wake up by 5:30 AM and the weekends/holidays we will wake up by 7:00 AM. Right now our wake up times is around 6:30 – 7:00 AM on a weekday and on a weekend we might get away with sleeping in to 7:30 AM if our son lets us. We aren’t being too aggressive with the weekends just to build in some relief since this is a bit of an aggressive goal. Ultimately, we are really hoping that this allows us to focus at the start of our day and help us further reach our goals.