Through observations I’ve made from watching and listening to friends and family, the reason that most people are broke isn’t because they don’t know what to do, it’s that they don’t want to do what they should do.
I know there are many people who are responsible but simply aren’t making enough money to make headway financially. If you fit in that group this post isn’t for you.
This post is for people who have decent jobs, are earning at least $40,000 per year yet are up to their eyeballs in debt and are living paycheck to paycheck.
You are the Problem but Also the Solution
While you are likely the cause of your financial problems there’s good news: you’re also the solution. If you’re ready to take charge of your financial life and end the paycheck to paycheck cycle you can absolutely do so.
This is going to sound like you’re in an AA meeting right now but I’ve got to remind you; the first step to fixing your problem is admitting that you have one. You can’t fix something if you deny its existence.
The truth is spending can be an addiction just like drugs or alcohol. They’re all bad for you and can suck the happiness right out of your life.
You Have to Change Your Money Mindset
If you want to get past this you have to change your mindset. From talking to family and friends I know that only a small percentage of the people who put themselves through financial hell will also take responsibility and get themselves out of it.
Be in the group that takes responsibility and make a change.
These are some of the most important challenges you need to focus on:
Delayed Gratification – Delayed gratification is the act in making a sacrifice now in exchange for bigger and better benefits down the road. An example of this would be not buying a new outfit because that money could instead go toward paying down your debt. While it might be nice to have a new outfit you recognize that you’ll get tired of that outfit after a month but once you pay off your debt you’ll be free for life.
An example from my life would be when I bought a trailer with $226 a month payments so that I could focus on building my emergency fund and building financial stability for my two daughters and I. I didn’t want to live in a trailer but I could recognize that it was something I needed to do in order to be financially stable later. I thank my past self for making that decision.
Delay your gratification for the greater good. Then you can thank your past self, too.
Strong Goals – Strong goals are the reason for delayed gratification. I mean, who wants to make sacrifices for nothing? Not me. And not you either.
Strong goals will drive you to make smart decisions financially. Your goals will be your map, telling you exactly where you need to go.
Self-Confidence – Self-confidence is so underrated yet it’s something that you need if you’re going to become financially free. First, you just need to know yourself. What is it you really want?
Secondly, if you’re not confident in the decisions you make you’ll be easily influenced by outside forces and will go back down the same path you’re trying to get off of.
To improve your self-confidence start setting small goals and working towards them. Every time you achieve a goal your self-esteem will grow a little higher.
Follow Your Plan
Take your goals and make a plan. If you’re in debt you know that you need to 1) not go any further in debt and 2) make a plan to pay it off. Knowing what to do is pretty easy. Following through is hard.
Follow through on your plan. Celebrate your small victories and take everything one step at a time.
If you can successfully change your mindset about money you’ll be able to accomplish anything.