Recently, I got a message from Natalie, who explained that as part of a financial preparedness event, she will have 10 minutes to speak about financial freedom. Her question to me was, “What would you talk about if you only had 10 minutes?”
Only 10 minutes? I find it difficult to introduce myself in that little time, but I’m up to the challenge. So fasten your seatbelts. Ready … set … go!
Do not confuse saving money with spending less, as in, “I save money when I buy things on sale.” You are not saving at all; you are spending less. Saving money means that you actually put money into a safe place for some future time. Do that. Starting right now and forevermore, make it a rule that you will put some amount of your paycheck into a savings account before you spend any of it. Make it automatic, and you won’t miss what you don’t see. Goal: 10 percent of all you receive straight into savings.
Give away the same amount as you save. Just give it away, no strings attached, as an act of gratitude for what you have. Goal: Give back 10 percent.
Rein in your lifestyle so that it fits into 80 percent of your net income. Reduce your spending in every area of your life by a small amount and you will be able to achieve this, probably sooner than you ever dreamed.
You need only one credit card. Put the others away so you can’t use them. If you have a balance on the one card you will keep, do not carry it with you. You’ve given up that privilege until you are able to pay it down to $0 every month.
The only debt that is safe for you to carry is secured debt (mortgage, car, or anything with collateral). All others are dangerous to your wealth. Make a plan to pay all of your credit card debts quickly. See this as critical to your financial health.
It’s proven that you will spend about 30 percent more if you depend on plastic to pay for day-to-day spending. Leave the plastic at home. Live as much as possible with cash. Inconvenient? Yes. That’s the point.
Society wants you to believe that living spontaneously brings freedom. Just the opposite is true. You need a budget (which is just a way that you “pre-spend” your paycheck on paper) so that you know ahead of time where the money will go. Write it down and then stick to it.
You need to know that you are not alone. There are thousands of people getting control of their financial lives, too. Find a website such as Debt-Proof Living or one of the countless personal financial blogs out there. Sign up and visit daily. Get involved to stay on track.
There you go. If you follow these eight simple steps to manage your money, I guarantee you will find financial freedom.
Whew! Did I make it?