In Be Happier, Follow Your Dreams, For Dream Chasers

They say if you want to discover your calling, answer the question: what would you do with your life if you won the lottery and had all the cash you needed?

Personally, I’d do three things: travel, write and volunteer. Which, it turns out, isn’t that different from what most people would do. A recent MSN Money article reported that most people said they would:

  • Pay off all their debts.
  • Help their families.
  • Donate more to charity.
  • Pursue their passions, including travel.

While that’s all well and good, I can’t help but point out the obvious: none of us actually needs to win the lottery in order to do any of those things. We can do every single one of them. Today.

Yes, I understand none of us are magically going to come up with the couple hundred thousand dollars we owe on our homes, cars and college degrees, and we’re probably not going to be able to give a million bucks to the charity of our choice. But I would be willing to bet that if we all took a close look at where we’re spending our time and money, we could identify at least one area where we can save on both.

Maybe it’s waking up a little earlier, cutting out one evening of television per week or one less dinner out per month. Whatever it is, if you can plug some of those drains in your life, you will have more time and money to put towards paying off your debts (you can also learn more at if you wish to get more help with clearing your debt), helping your family, donating to charity and pursuing your passions, including travel.

Dave and I went through this exercise a few years ago when the economic meltdown forced us to re-examine our lifestyle. When we took an honest look at our situation, we sheepishly admitted that no, two people don’t require three cars, that cleaning, while torturous, is something we can do for ourselves, and that vegging out to Friends re-runs every night – even though they never get old – is not the best use of our time.

We also realized that we were spending a small fortune on bar tabs, which essentially involved us, Captain Morgan, and a lot of day-dreaming about all the things we wanted to do and all the places we wanted to see.

By eliminating these unnecessary expenses and time-wasting activities (and drinking at home), we quickly found that we had more time and money to spend on things we love, like biking, camping, going to concerts, taking weekend trips and seeing some of those places we’d been dreaming about.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always easy to change your habits or give up certain luxuries you’ve become accustomed to, but when you think about all you have to gain, well, it’s like hitting the jackpot after all.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Suzanne

    This is such a valuable lesson, and one I’ve learned over the past year as well…..if I can remember to do it, I’m going to write about how doing the same impacted me…in a positive way!

    • Abby

      Oh Melanie my sister has 2 bgdllous. They are very expensive to keep up. They are prone to ear infections and their skin has to stay out of the sun and you have to constantly wash between the skin folds and they have shoulder stiffness and runny noses…the list goes on and on. Just be sure you get pet insurance if you want a bulldog. You will live at the vet.

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