Life, hey? It’s been a rough few years, with the Covid pandemic and the associated stream of never-ending bad news. And this winter just seems to be dragging on and on…
We say, enough already! Time for some sunshine and positive thinking. Dig out those life dreams that have been on pause and turn them into reality. Here’s how to do it.
What is your dream?
The more clearly your dream is defined, the more likely you are to achieve it. Use the five 5 Ws:
1. Why? Make sure you want your dream for the correct reasons.
2. What? What do you want to achieve? Be as clear as possible.
3. Where? Where’s this all gonna happen?
4. When? Whether you’re aiming to achieve your dream on a specific day, or in a specific month or year, build a timeline.
5. Who? The people involved. Who are you going to talk to and take along on your dream journey? Your partner, kids, parents, friends?
For example, let’s dream about buying a house… Why? I want to sell my flat and buy a house so that my kids have more space to play, and I can have a private home office. What? It needs to have three bedrooms, a lawn and a garage. Where? I want to live in a safe suburb, close to a good school and close to my family. When? I want to buy it in three years’ time. Who? I’ll have to sit together with my spouse to plan for this dream.
How much does your dream cost?
Break it down into bite-sized bits. Write down each of the steps you’ll need to follow to reach your dream and estimate the cost of each step.
Sticking with our house example, do your research about the area you want to move into, set yourself a limit on the price you want to pay, work out how much you’ll need to borrow from the bank after you’ve sold your flat, and how much you’ll need to save to pay for the transfer duty and other expenses.
Basically, try and understand exactly how much your dream is going to cost. Once you know that, you can start saving.
Create an action plan
This is the how part, and it starts with making a budget. Use 22seven to track your spending so that you know how much money you can free up, which you can save towards your dream.
Go even deeper: Will those extra monthly savings be enough, or do you need some additional income like working extra hours or starting a side hustle? Can you sell something that you don’t use, to speed up the process?
An action plan will help you get from Point A (now) to Point B (your dream). Again, it pays to be precise. For example, you might set yourself a goal of saving R1,000 per month for the first year, R1,200 per month for the second year and R1,500 per month for the third year.
The more you save, the easier it becomes! As you watch your savings grow, you’ll begin to understand the opportunity cost of money: R30 can buy you yet another takeaway coffee, or you can put that small amount towards your goal each time, where it will slowly but surely make a big difference. (FYI, you can save around R3,500 a year if you take lunch to work instead of eating out.)
Pedal to the metal!
Right, you’ve defined your dream as best as possible and you’ve made a comprehensive action plan to achieve it. Now the hard work starts. Stick to your plan, as difficult as it might be, and try to enjoy the ride. Before you know it, you’ll have made your dream and reality and you’ll already be thinking about the next one…