Back in the New Year, Auntie and her best friend Madge sat down and took a long hard look at themselves.
They didn't like what they saw.
They were flabby, easily tired, inefficient - surely one flight of stairs shouldn't have them sweating like marathon runners at high noon? It was time to take action, to shed some pounds and get into shape.
Now, Madge is a great believer is getting the right tools for the job (just one look inside her kitchen cabinets will tell you why they call her ‘Gadget Madge’). So, you could almost hear the “ker-ching!” of cash registers as she totted up what she needed to put her plan into action: new exercise gear, a static bike to pedal away the pounds as she watched her favourite soap, a home treadmill, and an all-singing, all-dancing smoothie maker. Sure, it left a big hole in her bank account, but she reckoned it would be worth it. After all, getting the most from her investment would be a powerful incentive to success, wouldn’t it?
Auntie didn’t have that luxury. She was still smarting over the deductible not covered by her insurance company to fix her porch. She had to be more frugal.
Undaunted, she decided to match Madge step-for-step on their journey back to fitness. She dug her old walking shoes out from the back of the wardrobe, borrowed nephew Kev's neglected bicycle and dusted off her blender. Her trusty track suit may not have looked as good as Madge’s new gym wear but she reckoned it would do the job.
Nine months later, Madge is in terrific shape.
Taking the stairs at the Mall is no longer like climbing Kilimanjaro, and she's feeling good.
OK, so her static bike now serves more as a clothes hanger than a way of getting nowhere fast, and something that looks suspiciously like moss seems to be growing on the treadmill.
It's results that matter, right? And you can’t get results without making an investment… Right?
But hang on a minute. Over at Auntie’s, there’s also been a transformation. She too is leaner. And though she’s not necessarily meaner, Auntie can’t help feeling just a little bit smug about getting the same results as Madge, without the sharp pang of guilt that would have come from paying up for a ton of new equipment.
Turns out, being broke was a good thing for Auntie.
Her investment was in time, effort and sweat (not to mention occasional tears), but thanks to smart use of resources she already had there’s no gaping hole in her finances.
Meanwhile, Madge has still got another 15 payments to make on that treadmill.
We all face the challenge of managing the costs involved in achieving goals and getting things done. How well we manage our costs can go a long way towards achieving both success and happiness.