Take the CEO Challenge!

The CEO challenge is designed for those who are in the loop. The loop is another term for living a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. The loop can affect all income levels and is not just for the underemployed. Entering the loop seems harmless at first...of course, you are going to reward yourself with a new television, couch, or car to accommodate your new bonus! You soon realize the payments on the car are more expensive, rent is more expensive, furniture is more expensive, your overall taste is more expensive. Instead of saving your newfound income, you have spent it. You have gotten accustomed to your new lifestyle and cannot leave it.  This is the loop's ultimate trap!

Getting yourself out of the loop takes some serious change. Here's how you exit the loop: 

1. Cut

You know you spend too much. The only way to see the seriousness of your spending is to shock the system. You need to start with a financial detox for one month. During this month, you will focus solely on 4 things:

  1. Living (Mortgage/Rent, Water, Gas, Gym)

  2. Bills (credit card, health, insurance)

  3. Food (grocery store)

  4. Transporation (car, bus, ridesharing)

Get rid of your nights out, your alcohol, your Target trips, and shopping of any kind. See how much you really need to live on. The goal of this month is to realize what your true living expenses are compared to what you believe your living expenses are.

time = 1 month 

2. Evaluate

You will likely be excited by this challenge, feeling great, and saving money. However, after the month period, you might get sick of it. You might want to slip back to your old ways but you can't. This is where you are entering the evaluation period. Here are things to look for:

  1. What are you really missing? Is there one event or activity you find yourself constantly thinking about?

  2. Are there things you thought you would miss but don't?

The goal of the evaluation period is finding out what is actually important to you. You might realize that your priority list isn't what you thought it was and you can live off a lot less than originally believed. At the end of this period, you will make a list of the top 3 most important things you would like to integrate back into your life. This leads us to the operating phase. 

time = 1 month

3. Operate

The final month of thsi challenge you will be integrating things you originally took out and will start operating at your new normal. This is when you get to really notice the overall lifestyle change. You have now lived long enough on a tight budget to notice the things you truly miss and the things you don't. Things to look for:

  1. How do you feel after integrating something you missed?

  2. Are you excited to have it back or sad that you will be spending more money?

  3. Do you like your new operation?

time = 1 month

For those who are desperate to get back on track, try this 3 month challenge. You won't be disappointed. 

budgetingElizabeth Thompson