Having one’s financial house in order is key to getting the best and most out of life. It is difficult to live in prosperity when one’s life is one missed paycheck away from ruins.
Your money is on you. Although it is on trend to blame “the system” for our financial woes, most problems we have with money is due to our poor decision making. Sure, financial systems exploit our tendency to make bad decisions, but you have the power of consent in these matters. Credit card companies didn’t buy luxury items for you and racked up thousands of dollars in debt that you pay the minimum on. Student loan companies didn’t drag you to an overpriced university to study a high-unemployment low-wage major. Take ownership of your decisions now so you can make better ones and see how much power you have in changing the course of your finances.
Focus on making more money so you can save more money. While saving money is the first lesson we are taught about money, we forget that it is easier to save when there is more to save. Budgets are great, but at some point, you need to be creative and think about how you can grow your income.
Start saying “I don’t have the funds available for this.” Do not let other people spend your money. Do not let yourself be pressured into buying things to please others if it compromises your financial goals. It’s okay to say no.
A dollar spent is a dollar not compounded. Warren Buffett has this anecdote about a $300k haircut. The haircut at the time was $x, but compounded over time could have been $300k today. When you buy something, you are not only giving up $x, but are also giving up the opportunity to grow that $x into more dollars. In short, make every purchase count because it’s costing you way more than you think.
Stop consuming media that encourage you to make impulsive and unnecessary purchases. I understand that it is literally the content creators’ jobs to advertise and sell, but it doesn’t mean you have to give in. Countless Psychology studies have been performed and implemented into advertising so you are primed to consume more and more and more. They have studied the best ways to get you to part with your hard-earned money. No thanks.
Buying things every other day is not self care. If you constantly have to make yourself feel better by buying things, you have bigger problems than your credit card bill.
Delayed gratification is your friend. Learn to postpone purchases until you can truly afford them. And by “afford” them, I mean achieve your goals + pay for the purchase.
Learn the art of value-based spending. Value-based spending is allocating money to purchases that will make you most happy and holding back on those that do not bring as much joy. For example, one may skip eating out and would rather allocate money to a designer bag once a year. Some may forgo the daily Starbucks and instead buy stocks. Know which few purchases you absolutely cannot compromise on then tone down spending everywhere else.
Know when you are feeling inspired or envious. If you see aspirational content or see others enjoying things you want to have, do you feel a burst of energy to work harder and smarter OR do you feel bad about yourself because you currently do not have what they have? Check with yourself often so you stop the pity party in its tracks. Remind yourself that life is unfair and that is okay. You are blessed in your own way and will carve your own path.
Part ways with people who keep making money mistakes. Just like other lifestyle habits, money habits are contagious. You don’t need people discouraging you to save by calling you a party pooper or encouraging you to spend excessively because they’re all doing the same. Find people on your level. Find friends with whom you can talk investments or business ideas or positive career moves.
Being responsible with money is not fun, and it isn’t meant to be. Add this to your list of delayed gratification line items.