Part 3: The Landing Zone
The plane is gone. The air that was whooshing is no longer whooshing. The crumpled heap lying on the ground, thankfully, isn’t you - it’s your parachute. Although your heart is still beating rather firmly, the thrill of being at the mercy of earth’s gravity isn’t there. You made it. You have arrived. Congratulations.
How did you get here? You jumped out of a plane and ended up in your landing zone. You skillfully used those control lines to guide yourself to the L-Z.
Arriving At The Landing ZoneBudgeting is about knowing what you have coming in, and going out. Getting lined up with your LZ can be a complicated maneuver. Eliminating credit cards, or never getting them in the first place, is just one way to get lined up financially.
There are many highly creative ways to steer your spending so that one day you will be standing very close to where you intended.
One such way is to give your subscriptions a once-over. Amazon Prime is one of the most amazing digital shopping experiences of modern times. It’s inexpensive and thoroughly enjoyable, and makes shopping for stuff you were getting at big box stores much more convenient and fun. Then there’s their video service - might as well add that onto the sub. Combined, it adds up to about $20/month. Not bad…right?
But that’s probably not your only subscription. Most people today have multiple subscriptions, and a few bucks here and there can add up.
According to WestMonroe, the average American spends $237.33 per month on subscriptions (https://www.westmonroe.com/perspectives/point-of-view/americas-relationship-with-subscription-services).
The kicker: most of these, you select autopay, so it pops out of your account and all you get is a tiny blip in your email inbox. You don’t even feel it coming out.
The easiest way to handle this is to take a few moments and think through your subs. What are you using? What are you not using? Do you need the ultra-super-high-def-mega-4K offering, or does your kid do okay watching TV on the basic plan? Review your bank statement - it’s a good practice anyway - and cancel or modify what you can live without.
If you really need help steering, start looking into some other witty ideas that can snip off a buck. And make sure that buck you snipped goes to the right place in your budget when you're finished with the scissors.
Why You Need an L-ZAre you doing this to put the kids through college? Striving to pay off debt? Have you brought an aging parent into your home who can no longer take care of themselves? What is your motivation for doing this? That’s why you need an L-Z.
The thrill of the drop has worn off by now and you’re relishing the drift. As you steadily approach the ground, you have begun to guide yourself to a predetermined location. Once there, you will celebrate a life-changing experience, a risk worth taking, a journey you will recount to your friends and family for the rest of your life.
Get yourself to that moment, at any cost. Describe what that looks like for you, as clearly as you can, by writing it out, drawing a picture, or creating a video of it. Hang it on your refrigerator or put it somewhere within reach, and review it every time you work on your budget.
Jumping out of the plane is the beginning. Being on the ground is the end. Somewhere between, your budget needs to deploy and you need to guide your descent by gaining mastery over your spending.
When you arrive at your financial destination, you won’t regret the 14,000 foot drop. You’ll forever look back in awe, savoring the experience, grateful for the effort, and ready for the next adventure.