Money is the thing few want to talk about and yet everyone is obsessed with. It is topic of discussion in politics, in holidays and in life. Who has it. Who doesn’t. How do we get more of it. Few thing about how to use it better. Make money work for you rather than the other way around. Here’s ten considerations in changing your money dealings forever.
1. Transform your relationship to money. Instead of allowing money to control you, see it as a force you can control. Respect it, learn about debt and interest, savings, investments (and don’t see that as just conventional investments!). Make better decisions about how and where your money goes. Dave Ramsey covers financial basics and shows people how to make that transformation, and many say it doesn’t work. In the Total Money Makeover he says “The thing that qualifies me most to teach about money is that I have done stupid with zeros on the end. I have been there, done that. I have a PhD in D-U-M-B…I know what it is like to have my marriage hanging by a thread because of financial stress. I know what it is like to have my hopes and dreams crushed by my own stupid decisions.”
2. Reduce your spending. Is there unnecessary expenses you can cut back on? This might be a coffee every morning on the way to work, cable or satellite television or movie theater excursions on the weekend. Have a budget and stick to it.
3. Invest in education. If you can’t afford classes to improve yourself, “homeschool” yourself on the topic of choice with books. Don’t overlook things put on by local clubs. Search sites online to learn things. Perhaps you want to improve your marketing skills, or learn to identify trees. There’s even videos online to help with many topics at YouTube or Instructables.
4. Create a barter network, or participate in an existing one! Informally with friends it’s easy to exchange services and goods. Perhaps you need babysitting services, and someone else needs what you do. Work out the details and it saves your cash for other things. There are many online barter networks as well.
5. Exercise to lift your spirits and get the body moving. This doesn’t have to be a gym membership. Dance, jump rope, bike ride or take a walk all can be a means to get moving without a great deal of money. Look at cans in the pantry for 1 and 2 pound weights. Be inventive!
6. Pay off debts sounds like a no-brainer. Everyone looks for the best deal then charges it, where you end up paying many times more for it! Get credit cards paid off, and work towards eliminating debt. The higher interest ones, if eliminated, puts money in your pocket! Pay off smaller ones and work at the others. Call overdue bills and see if you can negotiate a cashout settlement to get debts paid. What can you sell to put money towards the debt pay down?
7. Acquire experiences rather than things. Things wear out, break, get stolen and destroyed. Create memories. Take day trips rather than going to tourist traps where you buy things you don’t need. Look at how many momento shirts are in thrift store shelves – somewhere, someone paid good money for those.
8. Live under your means, and put some money away. Start small – a can with change for savings. Most of us don’t miss the change – and yet in time it can add up to $10-15 for an emergency item that can’t wait. A $3 latte every morning is $15 per week. This can be ‘extra money’ to go towards bills or savings.
9. Pay bills promptly to avoid late fees, shutoff notices and other fees. This can add up over time, and the quicker you get a handle on things, the less stress you’ll have to deal with. Think about a time when someone owed you money, or promised you something and it didn’t happen. It sets everything behind, and if people who promised to pay you don’t follow through then you can’t pay those you promised to pay. Strive to not be the one not following through.
10. Invest in you. Value yourself. This doesn’t mean being a bully or developing a superior attitude, but know that you have value. You have gifts and talents others don’t and are unique. Find a way to use that as an asset.
Money matters can be serious, but step by step it can be handled. It takes time, yes. But most of us don’t need a new car every year, or every 3-5 years. Hang onto that reliable and paid off vehicle, and use the payment to attack other bills! Work towards getting debt free this year. It’s an effort that’s worth it!