By Judy Lawrence M.S. Ed.
What would you do for more financial peace of mind these days? Follow these tips for more confidence, less stress, and control over your financial life.
- Know Your Core Desires
Is it freedom from debt, having security of savings and retirement, staying healthy, or putting your children through college?
This clarity, along with your immutable values and priorities, can strengthen your resolve and guide your financial decisions.
Strong desire eliminates the mindless spending not in alignment with your priorities. It fuels your ability to change self-sabotaging habits like spending impulsively to satisfy immediate wants, or using credit, knowing money isn't there.
Basically, desire helps you answer "What am I willing to do, to change my life and have what I truly desire?"
- Discover Spending Leaks
Most diehard trackers will say "Once they started tracking their spending, they started spending less and saving more, yet noticing no loss of quality of life."
With all the convenient apps and software available for tracking and managing personal budgets, it's easier than ever to track expenses.
Beware the "It's Only Syndrome"; assuming those daily small amounts of $2 vending machine snacks, $3.50 gas station treats, or the $5 lattes are insignificant.
Start tracking those tiny, daily expenses. Suddenly you'll discover where those dollars are leaking away, just like a leaky faucet dripping one drop per second and costing you 180 showers a year.
Could that money have been directed towards more satisfying experiences or financial assets?
Next time you hear yourself saying "It's Only..." remember those spending leaks.
- Map Out Your Monthly Plan
Tracking your spending shows where all your money goes - great rearview mirror information.
What you DO with that information is the game changer that transforms your finances.
Mapping out a monthly household budget is the windshield view approach. Where is your personal budget headed?
Outline all the upcoming anticipated monthly expenses (beyond the normal bills) two weeks before the next month even begins.
Compare the income to all the monthly anticipated expenses. Remember those additional unique expenses for that month- birthdays, escalating gas prices, or special concert.
If the balance shows up short on this monthly plan, there's time for adjustments before the month actually begins. Avoiding that potential future stress goes a long way towards peace of mind,
- Avoid Emergencies
Needing new tires is NOT an emergency. A 12 year old hot water heater breaking down shouldn't be a surprise. Even the shocking vet bill for bloat is not an emergency.
These events probably feel like emergencies, create major stress or cause chaos with your budget. Yet all of these events have one thing in common. They could have been anticipated or prevented and even financially covered.
How do you really anticipate emergencies? Take preventative measures concerning your health, children, car, home, and pets. Eat well, floss your teeth daily, change your oil regularly, and take your children and pets in for their routine visits and care.
Of course, accidents still do happen. This is where the proper insurance coverage and emergency savings come in. Know your coverage well beforehand. Be sure it definitely covers what you think it's going to cover.
- Remember the Rainy Day Fund
Pay yourself first. Treat emergency savings as a fixed expense in your monthly budget, not an afterthought for any remaining money.
Don't worry about saving enough in the beginning. Start the habit. Save consistently. Put aside whatever amount you can, whether $25 or $250, 5% or 10% per paycheck. The point is to start saving immediately and consistently and let it grow.
These proactive actions are all about choices and control, not deprivation. When you know where you money goes, direct the money where you want it to go, and have the money to cover all the things that you need and want, financial peace of mind, confidence and control in your life will soon follow.
Judy Lawrence, M.S. Ed., is a Financial Counselor in Albuquerque, NM, founder of MoneyTracker.com and author of the best-selling book "The Budget Kit: Common 6th Ed". Judy shares fundamental money management tools, concepts and behavioral psychology developed and gleaned for years from sitting at thousands of kitchen tables (physically and virtually) and guiding people toward healthy relationships with money. To create and maintain a budget that works for you sign up for her highly sought-after free one hour webinar and online e-course. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
|Tags: Attitude, Behavior, Finances, Stress, Tips, Values
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