Putting yourself first is probably the best thing that you can do for the longevity of your finances and your peace of mind. All of your dreams, passions, and short-term goals, no matter how big or small have a price tag. But in order to realize any of them, you have to get into the habit of making financial decisions that work to your benefit, not to your detriment.
Invest in Changing Your Money Mindset: All of the tricks and tips in the world won’t get you managing your finances like a champ if you don’t first have a deep and intimate understanding of the wealth-autonomy/money-personal power connection. Some of us learn it through reading about personal finance; some of us learn about through a mentor. Others, like myself, have a game-changing, paradigm-shifting conversation. My conversation happened a couple of years after graduating from college. My friend told me that her father was diagnosed with cancer. She told me that she resigned from her job so she could be with her father as he travelled to the best medical facilities around the country to treat his condition.
In that conversation, I learned that money— more than keeping you on trend— gives you options and provides you with the freedom to pursue what matters most to you. In the case of my friend, she did not have to worry about working or paying bills when her father became ill. For my friend’s father, money translated into being able to have a hand in saving his own life.
Get Rid of the Guilt. You’re Not Being Selfish for Saying “No.” A basic precept in Economics is that there is limited resources/supply in a world of unlimited demands and wants. When you apply that to the many demands that will come from friends and family on your finances, you know that you will have to make some bottom line decisions.
Now, there is nothing wrong with helping family members out, if you honestly can without digging yourself deeper into debt or making you resentful. But let the following Tweet that I saw recently be a gentle reminder about establishing and enforcing financial boundaries: “When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself.”
Work Like You Want to Quit: When you work like you want to quit, you treat work and money differently. You work with a sense of urgency and with a sense of personal power and agency. Concretely that means you may make all of the connections that you need to make before you exit. When it comes to money, you become more discerning about every financial transaction because you know that the ten dollars that you could be spent on lunch will serve you better once you are no longer working.
Automate Your Savings Like It’s a Bill: Nobody likes to pay bills, but we all have to. We carry this expectation that Netflix, Verizon, and the banks need and deserve their money on time. But when it comes to paying toward our future dreams, goals, and passions, we don’t quite see it that way. We can go months, even years, without paying ourselves first. But that has to change if you want to actually make good on the promise that you have made to yourself and your dreams.
So try this: Try starting small. Automate saving 10% of each source of income that you generate (i.e. paychecks, side-hustles, unexpected windfall) every pay period. This system takes the human factor of forgetting or procrastination out of the equation.
We can end financial struggle through some our personal actions. We have the power within ourselves to shape and sculpt our financial lives to positively impact all other areas of our lives.
Frugal Feministas: Are you ready to put your financial needs first? How are you going to do it? Also, if you found this post helpful, please share the love.
If you’re waiting for a sign that it’s time to make a change, consider this it. Money Therapy may be just what you need to break through your financial blocks and release your money guilt and shame.