By Kathy Gates, Professional Life Coach
Have you met the Going-Broke-Saving-Money monster? I sure have. The item on sale is just "too good to pass up". The bottom line is simple --you *can* be in control of your finances. But you must first be in control of your choices. Here are some steps to help you get control of your finances, and dig out of debt:
1. Determine your level of integrity about your money.
Are you being honest with yourself and with your partner (if applicable) about your personal finances? Do you spend money, and then hide the evidence? Do you find yourself trying to justify how the money was spent? Having integrity with your money means that you feel comfortable and honest with how it's being made, and how it's being spent. It means that you're living an honest financial life.
2. Determine your relationship with your money.
Ask yourself some difficult questions. Are you spending money to impress or control people, buy love, or to give yourself a rush? Some people end up with nothing at the end of each month because they refuse to take responsibility for how they spend or invest it. But the other side of that coin is that some people never use any of their money to enjoy their lives. By knowing where your money is going, you will be able to make decisions based on what is actually happening in the present, instead of fears or doubts that you have left over from past experiences.
3. Determine your awareness about your money.
Do you know exactly how much do you make? Do you know exactly how much you spend? Do you know where you are spending your money? Do you have a spending plan? Do you spend money you later wish you hadn't? Are you shocked at the end of the year when you see how much you earned, yet can't identify where the money has gone? Do you have savings in case of emergencies or unforeseen circumstances? Are you insured?
4. Determine the differences between REAL expenses, and the Going-Broke-Saving-Money monster.
Where is money being spent but not appreciated? The GBSM monster sucks up money for items that look too good to pass up. When this monster is locked up, it frees up funds for spending on something much more useful or worthwhile to you. Would you tear up $500 and throw it into the garbage? Of course not. Yet you throw away the same amount of money on magazines you subscribe to but never read, phone services you don't use, gym memberships you don't attend. Couldn't you use that $500 a year on something that might actually bring joy to your life or help secure your future? Don't continue a mistake; look for the GBSM monster, and put a leash on it.
(Be sure to come back for Putting a Leash On Debt, Part 2)
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