Are you overwhelmed by a financial situation that seems to be out of control? Are you finding it hard to know where to start in getting it under control?
Bad Money Habits
It seems that many of us have a number of bad money habits. In our family, eating out was the primary drain on our cash. A colleague of mine is a technology addict – he has to buy the latest and greatest electronics on the market. Many people spend their leisure time on Saturdays in the shopping malls, which leads to buying things they don’t need. Unnecessary items like cigarettes, alcohol and lottery tickets can slowly dissolve our cash. A new trend that seems to have emerged in the past fifteen years, is the urge to buy large homes and to choose luxury furnishings, which most of us just can’t afford.
Reassess Your Priorities by Dusting off Your Dreams
The first, and most important step in making changes to your financial situation, is to re-jig your priorities. I’ve been pretty financially savvy most of my life, but it didn’t stop us from blowing money on useless things until very recently. What was the change? I have always had a dream of having a country homestead with some acreage. In November of last year, I came across a perfect property for us that was within our price range. The only problem? We didn’t have enough of a downpayment saved up. Once I could see my dream so close in sight, it was exactly what I needed to get 100% serious about cutting our budget down to the bare essentials.
What I’m suggesting here is that you take a moment from your busy day to relax, sit back and visualize all of the dreams that have flitted through your mind over the years, and pick the one that speaks to your heart. It could be anything: giving your children the best education possible; buying your first home; being free of mortgage payments; retiring comfortably; retiring early; starting a business; doing some travelling. Pick something that truly inspires you to move your life to the next level.
Why is it important to have a financial dream that speaks to your heart? Finding a financial dream gives you the opportunity to make a conscious decision to change what you value in life. Once you have a dream squarely in your heart, you will think twice before spending money on frivolous things that just become barriers between you and the things that are truly important in life. Finding your dream helps you to regain control of the situation by helping you to focus on a goal. Having a goal is like having a compass. It helps us to take steps in the right direction. If we consistently take small steps in the right direction, we can “unplug” from our old bad habits.
Once you have pulled the plug on your old financial habits, you’ll see the world with new eyes. If you are unplugged from shopping, you might wake up on a Saturday morning and decide to spend the day differently by taking your kids out for a cheap, yet fulfilling, walk in nature, rather than going to the mall. The things you value in life may become a little clearer. You might become even more creative about how you spend your family resources.