Money is Like Landscaping

by mike on June 7, 2010

Mandy and I had the wonderful fortune of doing some landscape work a week or so ago.  As we were sweating and working hard, I got to thinking about how doing landscaping or gardening is a lot like money management.  First and foremost, most people do not like doing it.  It’s something you need to do, but you keep telling yourself that you’ll get to it eventually.  Next thing you know, you have a mess on your hands and it takes even more work to get it cleaned up again.  Yes, I am talking about landscaping.  Yes, I am talking about money management as well.  Here are some more lessons I learned on that hot summer day.

1.     The roots are important. How well a tree or bush grows depends largely on how well the roots are established.  I figured this out as we were trying to dig up some unwanted shrubs.  A couple of them were extremely difficult to get out because of how well established the root system was.  The same is true for your financial future.  It must be built on a strong foundation.  The most important of these is Scripture.  I have done past articles on what Scripture has to say about money, so I encourage you to look that up by clicking the link on the bottom of this page to past articles.  Also, just explore the Bible yourself and see what you find.  Follow the advice in there and your sure to establish deep roots for your financial future.

2.     Sometimes you have to transplant. One of the main projects we tackled in our landscaping job was to transplant some rose bushes from one area to another.  It was part of Mandy’s overall strategy for what the final product would look like.  Sometimes you have to do that with your money as well.  You have to change strategies.  The way you have been doing things may not be working.  If you have never done a budget, do a budget.  If you have been spending way too much money without saving any, cut spending and start saving. The key is to know what your overall strategy is and change things in order to achieve that final goal.

3.     You have to have a big enough shovel.
One problem I ran into when trying to dig was that I didn’t have a big enough shovel.  It was taking forever.  I finally found my larger shovel in the garage later.  The point is that it took much more work and much more time with the little shovel.  The same is true of your income.  If you have a small income right now, it will be very hard to get out of debt or reach a large savings goal.  My suggestion is twofold.  First, find some extra work (a second or third job) for a short period of time to reach a particular goal.  Second, address the long term issue.  What are you going to do over the next three to five years to greatly increase your income.  Is there classes you have to take, training to attend, or books to read?  Maybe there are relationships you need to establish.  The point is to make a plan to increase your income and go about doing things to make that happen.

4.     Things really got better when our neighbor helped. We have one of the nicest neighbors.  He saw us struggling in our yard and came over with electric saws, giant shovels, etc.  He had the tools that we didn’t to make the job much easier.  Is the solution to your money problems to ask your neighbor to help?  Not necessarily.  But, it is important search out help in some way.  You may hire a financial coach, subscribe to personal finance newsletters, or read books.  The point is that there are plenty of people out there who can give you the tools you need to improve your financial life.

5.     Finally, water and watch it grow! All of the work we put in on the bushes and plants will do know good if we spend no more time with them.  We must make sure they get plenty of water and weeds do not overtake them.  In other words, we have to spend a little time on it.  Spend some time on your money.  You cannot just let it happen with no plan and expect to be in a better financial situation in the future.  You must spend time budgeting, planning, and growing your financial future.

I realize most of you do not get excited about working on your money.  I do not get excited about working on landscaping.  The key is to get excited about the finished project.  I do feel very good when the job is complete and I get to enjoy looking at the final outcome.  Now go do the same with your money.  The extra work will be worth it in the end.

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