Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “what do I want my money to do for me?”
If not, don’t worry because you’re not alone. Most of us don’t bother to really think about what we want our money to do for us. We get caught up in the cycle of should I and can I. Meaning, “can I afford this” and “should I buy this” instead of asking ourselves, “do I want my money to go towards this”.
The thing is, we get so caught up in this cycle that we don’t even realize that we’re in it until we start to really feel suffocated by it.
Money overwhelms us and before long we’re paralyzed and overwhelmed because either
- We are not confident that we know what is best.
- We don’t have a system in place for making decisions.
- We are afraid of the truth.
When we aren’t confident in our ability to manage our own money, our money in turns rules over us. We are then governed by the whims of the world and are tempted into doing stupid stuff with our money. This is compounded even more if we don’t have a system in place for making decisions because the lure of “keeping up with the Jones” pulls us in and before we know it we have more than enough stuff but not enough money and are stressed and miserable.
Then, we are afraid to see just how bad things are. We think, “oh if I just don’t look at my bank account, I’ll be fine” or “if I don’t actually write out the numbers, they can’t hurt me – then I don’t have to deal with the fact that I might not really have enough money to go out to dinner with my friends”.
But we all know that this is a bad plan because we need to know the truth. We need to know how much money we have or don’t have. Ignorance is not bliss in this case and we’re better than that thinking anyway.
So how do we overcome these paralyzing thoughts?
Well, we first need a plan. Yep, you guessed it, a budget. Now, if you’ve never created a budget before, let’s start with what I call the Quick Budget. This post here goes into more detail on the Quick Budget, but the general gist of it is that you are going to budget the money you currently have sitting in your checking account as opposed to budgeting your future income.
This will get you started moving towards making money management a daily part of your life.
The next thing you’re going to do is understand where your money keeps going. What are your weaknesses with money? I know I share this example a lot but it works. My husband had a serious issue with Redbulls for awhile. He would buy a $2 Redbull almost every morning and to him, “it’s just $2”. And how many of us think of those small purchases this way?
But the thing is that my husband was spending more than $50 a month just on Redbulls!
“What do I want my money to do for me?”
Now before you go thinking that budgets are mean and no fun and I just want to drink a Redbull in peace, think about the question I asked earlier – “what do I want my money to do for me?”
And think about that $50 a month for Redbull and think about what goals you want to achieve in your life. Can that $50 help you get there? If so, then ask yourself if the Redbull is worth pushing the goal further away or if you think you can survive without the Redbull until you meet your goal.
There’s literally no right or wrong answer here, just what is right for you and your family.
This is how you develop a system for making decisions with your money. You start thinking and dreaming of the future, then you start making a plan for the money you currently have, and then you look at your purchasing decisions and you make a choice. The choice is ultimately up to you, but the difference is now, that instead of mindlessly spending money, you’re now consciously making a decision.
Related Post: How to Save for BIG Purchases without Going Broke
This will keep you from the fear of knowing the truth – assuming that you push yourself beyond this fear and actually start this process by making a budget and thinking through your decisions.
Every season in life affects your money in different ways. And thus, you’ll need to constantly re-adjust your thinking, spending, saving, planning, and of course your goals to fit the various seasons of your life.
So, what is one action that you can take today to get you closer to achieving those lifelong goals?
P.S. If you want to see the personal finance books that I recommend, head here to see what I recommend on Amazon!
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