Are you confused by where your money goes each month?
Does deciding the best use of your money stress you out?
I know I have felt this way, and I’m betting most of you have too.
These feelings of confusion and worry don’t just pop up when dealing with finances, either. We can ask ourselves the same questions about how we spend our life.
Each day we make decision after decision on how we want to spend our money and our life.
- Do you go out to eat or make dinner at home?
- Do you volunteer for your child’s field trip even though you have a million other things to do?
- Do you go for a walk in the park or head to the movies?
With so many decisions, no wonder we feel overwhelmed and confused at which direction to go in.
Sometimes we get so overwhelmed, we don’t make any decisions at all. We mindlessly do what we’ve always done, even if it’s not what we want at the time. Going through the motions and giving up control over our lives is the easy way out.
When we give up control of our lives, we allow outside influences to tell us what we should do or should buy. And, ultimately, we lose control of who we are and what we want our lives to look like.
But what if life didn’t have to be that way? What if we could find a way to take control of our lives and money? What if we could make all these decisions with a sense of confidence?
I know we can.
My Own Experience with Losing Control
For me, it took working through my own struggles to figure out how to take control of my life and money.
In the past, making decisions stressed me out. I avoided it at all costs and chose a “go with the flow” type of life.
As you can imagine with this go with the flow lifestyle, I ended up with very little control over my money and life. I mindlessly purchased things I really didn’t want or need. And I spent a majority of my time doing things that didn’t bring me joy, like routinely watching tv and even working from home.
Fortunately, a few years ago, I had a wake up call. It took a heart-wrenching break-up to do it, but it happened!
When the relationship suddenly ended, I set out on a path of personal growth.
During this journey, I had an epiphany: I wasn’t living the life I wanted.
I had no vision for my life, no plan for who I wanted to be and no clue as to how I wanted to spend the limited time that I had.
And without a vision, I didn’t have control of my life.
How did I let this happen?
I set out on a path to correct this. I wanted to feel confident and in control of my life and money decisions.
It was during this journey that I discovered the concept of intentional living and my eyes were finally opened.
What is Intentional Living?
The break-up helped me realize there was something missing in my life.
I had no clue who I was and who I wanted to be as an individual. Without this knowledge, I had no guide —no map—to help me confidently make decisions around life and money.
But after I took the time to understand my life desires, making decisions became easier. I had more courage and the indecisiveness started to disappear.
To me, this is what intentional living is. It’s building your life around what is truly important to you—your values.
With this understanding of my values, I now have a map to help me take back control of my life and my money.
It’s for this reason that I wanted to create a fun guide to help others uncover their true selves, their values and create their own intentional life map.
This guide will change your life. It will help you make intentional decisions around life and money and make this crazy life a little easier.
So here it is….The TACO Method.
The TACO Method: A guide to taking control of your money and your life.
The TACO method is a simple process to help you identify your values and create your life map. This map will be your ultimate guide to make mindful decisions and take control of your life.
Ok, I know the TACO Method sounds a little cheesy, but who doesn’t want an easy and fun way to take charge of your life and money?
So without further ado, I present the life-changing TACO Method!
Think about Your Values
This is the meat of the TACO method and is a complete game changer when it comes to living the life you want.
In this step, you will create your life map based on your core values.
This map will change your relationship with your life and money by allowing you way to take control.
To get started, first, get a sense of your values by thinking about your dreams, wants, and desires. The ultimate goal is to come up with a list of values that describes who you are at your core. This is a list of how you want your life to look and feel.
You can use the following questions as a guide:
- What activities or relationships are most important to you?
- What would you be doing if you didn’t have to work?
- What were you doing on some of your most enjoyable days?
- How do you envision your future life?
Now look at your list and you will get a sense of the things that are truly valuable to you. These values are now your guide to making life and money decisions.
For example my values are:
- Make room for the important relationships in my life, including the relationship with myself
- Experience the world outside of my normal daily life through travel and time spent in nature
- Help others by giving time and money
- Maintain my physical, mental, and emotional health
Assess Decisions Against Your Values
So now that you have a map of your values, you will use it to make mindful decisions.
Each time you reach a decision point, you will consciously think about your values. Is this decision going against your values or will it help you live a life in harmony with your dreams? Is this money or time well spent?
Your map will point you in the right direction.
Confidently Make a Decision
Since you used your map, you can confidently choose what direction you want to go.
You will no longer go with the flow and mindlessly do what you think you should do.
You will make decisions based on your values. This feeling is liberating and by far my favorite part of the TACO Method.
Observe and Review
Although the previous step is my favorite, this step may be the most important.
This step is all about taking the time to observe how your life is going and reflect.
Reflection allows you to determine if you are heading in the right direction.
You can do your best to align your decisions with your values each day. But let’s admit it, life is crazy and it’s easy to forget to look at your map and take a wrong turn.
It’s not uncommon to think “how the heck did I end up here?”
The reflection process can help you in these moments and get you realigned with your values.
To do this, look at your map and get a sense of how aligned your life is with your values. For example, you may be unsatisfied with how little time you’ve spent with your family. If so, now is your chance to intentionally make more space in your life for your family.
Unfortunately, the TACO Method isn’t a set it and forget it type of solution. It will take consistent reflection and tweaking to keep your life in line with your values. But believe me, the confidence and joy it brings are worth it.
The TACO Method and Your Finances
So now that we have an understanding of how to take back control and live intentionally, let’s go back to the money problems we all face.
Remember, we started with feeling out of control when it came to money. We didn’t know where our money was going and were stressed about how to spend our money wisely.
With your map, you can now confidently make decisions about your money. Without your map, guilt and stress tend to creep in.
“When your spending and your goals are in alignment, you have an experience of wholeness and integrity; you feel good about yourself. When they are not aligned—when the answer to the question “Does this expenditure support my values and life purpose?” is a resounding no—then the experience is more likely to be one of disappointment or self-criticism.”
VICKI ROBIN –YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE
1. Make Financial Decisions Stress Free
Having your map allows you to use less brain power to make financial choices. Since you have a plan on how you want to live your life, you don’t have to fight with yourself on what purchase to make.
Making decisions on how to best use your money will be a lot less stressful because of this.
If the expense is not aligned with your values, then it’s easy to make the decision not to do it.
If the expense is aligned with your values, you can make the decision easily knowing you are spending your money on something that brings you joy.
2. Make Guilt Free Purchases
Do you feel guilty when you spend money?
If so, use your map to guide your spending. Spending money on things aligned with your values will take the guilt out of the expense.
For example, if spending money on a housekeeper allows you to have more time to spend with your family, and family is one of your core values, then do it. Since you know the expense is helping you align your life with your values, you won’t feel guilty about it.
3. Reduce Impulse Spending
When you have a clear view of your values, you will find you only want to spend money on things that are important to you. This is mindful spending and it naturally leads to spending less money!
Those days of walking through Target and leaving with more than you went in for are over. All thanks to being mindful of your values.
4. Take Control of Your Finances and Make Your Money Work for You
Knowing your values allows you to be in control of your money instead of your money controlling you.
Your money is no longer flowing out of your life without much thought. By making spending choices based on your values, you are now using your money to build the life you want. Whoohoo!
You Got This
A life based on your core values takes the guesswork out of all the decisions we must make on a daily basis. It allows us to grab our life by the horns and take control.
While on this journey, it’s essential to reflect and stay flexible. Your life is constantly in flux, and being able to reflect and adapt is essential to success.
So go on, take time to think about what is important to you in this life. Then use this knowledge to guide all of your life and money decisions.
Doing so will feel like lifting a weight off of your shoulders. It will be amazing and you will never look back.
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