I’m not one to judge. But I can’t help thinking that if Greece would manage its money the way my husband and I handle ours, they wouldn’t be in all this hot water. We’ve both made millions in the tech industry, but that’s not the point.
I’m 28 years old and have never had a credit card. My husband is 31, and he’s never had one, either. If there’s something we want, we look around and say, “Do we NEED this?” If we don’t have the money on hand, WE DON’T BUY IT. End of story. Live within your means. Pay yourself first. These are the financial lessons we’ve applied all our lives so that we can retire in our mid-thirties because we’re millionaires.
The secret isn’t how much money you make, but what you do with that money. Even if you don’t have any money, you can do something with that, too.
It’s hard to watch all those Greeks on TV scrambling around trying to find an ATM so they can withdraw a measly 66 bucks. Last month Kevin and I tried to eat for an entire week on 66 bucks, just to see if we could do it. We did it for two days before we forgot we were doing it and went to a steakhouse, but for those two days, things were really hard. Greece, if you’re gonna go out to eat, you should at least get the cheapest thing on the menu. On the other days, try rice and beans with an unattractive vegetable. I’m looking at you, Greece.
Also: NO EMOTIONAL SPENDING. If I’m feeling vulnerable and find myself shopping for cars online, I recognize this as a trigger, and I text Kevin from the living room. He’ll answer from the upstairs kitchen: “Wait 10 minutes.” And I’ll wait 10 minutes, and if I still want a car after that, then I’ll buy it. That’s how I know I really need it, that waiting period. Sometimes in that 10 minutes, I’ll realize that what I really wanted was a scooter. But you already have a bunch of scooters, Greece. Maybe all those scooters are why you’re in this situation. Wait 10 minutes before you buy another one.
Another good tip is to write down everything that you spend. Every coffee, every doughnut, every gold tiara and iPhone 6 and 87-inch flat-screen TV that you buy so that your money isn’t tied up in failing banks in a catastrophic economy—write that down. Then when you get home, look at what you wrote. Really take it in. Then rip that page out of the notebook and shred it. Tomorrow is a new day. And even if it’s not, it’s your attitude that matters.
My husband and I have an abundance mindset and an austerity fantasy and a crapload of cash, and it’s working for us. Maybe you should try it, too. We spend to live, not the other way around. Sure, we live in Northern California, but we’re not giving up on the euro, or what our idea of the euro is, or our three-week planned vacation to the south of France in October. No way, no how.
If you follow our example, Greece, you might just come out of this. One day you’ll be able to take 80 bucks from the ATM in denominations of 20. You can sell your golden tiara on Craigslist Athens and put the money in the bank. All you need is a little faith, and a plan, and a savvy money manager who can leverage your robust and diverse portfolio of tech assets, and you should be just fine.
I know we are.