Learn how to manage your finances and lead a life of peace and prosperity
Despite good intentions and earnest attempts, life has a way of feeling beyond our control a lot of the time. There are phases where you feel confident as the captain of your ship, plotting your course and steering around potential obstacles, and there are times where you feel at the mercy of the current – adrift and simply hoping for the best. However, the reality is that sometimes when you’re being battered by the waves, it’s not due to a lack of ability; occasionally you steer off course because you’ve stopped paying attention. Operating on autopilot may allow you to continue on your path, but won’t ensure that you’re on the correct one.
While it’s true that money can’t buy you happiness, it can help you find freedom, regain a sense of control, and foster a sense of security. Mastering your finances enables you to make better choices that align with your life’s purpose. Manage your finances with intention and learn how to budget, save, and prioritize in a way that allows you to journey through life with comfort and confidence.
Tips and tricks to managing money
The dreaded “B” word: If you feel the same sense of dread hearing the word budget as you do when your dentist asks if you floss daily, then you already know this is an important component of successful adulthood that you’ve been neglecting (both the budgeting and the flossing). It’s not something to start in the nebulous time frame of “soon,” or to think about – it’s not difficult, and it does work. Honestly, in this age of online banking and budgeting apps, there’s no real reason not to have a plan for your money. A budget is a roadmap that makes sure you have what you need while working towards getting what you want. Be realistic about your income and expenses and set them to paper – and then stick to it. Just being informed about your finances goes a long way to feeling safe about your spending.
Save yourself: Saving money feels impossible when things are tight, and while it’s true that you may not currently be capable of saving as much as you’d like, it is possible. Whether you slide the change from your pocket into a jar at the end of each day, or cut cable to corral that money into a savings account each month, the key to saving is to pay yourself as steadily and as seriously as you do with your other debts. Commit to keeping cash for yourself by designating an amount, assigning yourself a regular due date for paying yourself, and doing so no matter what. Then – and this is the hard part – forget that money exists. It’s untouchable and not to be used unless there’s a dire emergency (not a sale). The comfort you get from having money saved will eventually feel better than whatever you’d like to spend it on, and even small amounts add up quickly.
Is that the best you can do: Having more money essentially requires either making more or spending less. Honing your bargaining skills can help you achieve both. Negotiating can be intimidating, and often feels like an ability that’s innate to your personality type, but that’s not necessarily true. Whether it’s regarding your salary, the cost of a car, or a price at a secondhand store, you won’t know if you don’t ask if a number is negotiable. Confidently state your case for why your offer is a reasonable one and then stay silent – don’t rush to fill the awkward spaces in a conversation. Read more about the art of negotiation and start practicing; the worst that’s going to happen is that you’ll be told no, and that’s not a big deal compared to the times that negotiations may work in your favor.
Value yourself: It’s easy to squander small amounts of money here and there, and those impulse purchases add up quicker than you think. While you’re making your budget, evaluate each spending category and decide how much these areas truly enrich your life. Would you rather eat out twice a week, or take a vacation at the end of the year? Allocate your spending in a way that adds to your life, not just your bank account, and work in rewards for yourself so you’re less likely to splurge on little things that don’t actually matter.
Creating a budget and learning to live with it doesn’t mean relegating yourself to a life of austerity. Even with a small amount of income, gaining control over your finances can actually add value to your life beyond a savings account. Discover what matters, make and meet your goals, advocate for yourself and your future, and learn to steer your ship through rough waters so that you can sail smoothly and stay on course.
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