How to be great at money, you ask? Great question!
Let’s break down what “great at money” looks like, then “hack the loop” to see where to improve on typical situations.

To me, being great at money looks like this:

  • Cash flow positive every month
  • 4 months’ expenses saved for the unexpected
  • Actively saving to pay cash for things I want
  • Patience to wait for good deals on big purchases
  • $8K cushion in the bank to handle any unexpected sh*t that comes my way
  • Budget for fun for a guilt-free splurge now and then
  • Secure in the choices I make for future wealth

Cool, but what does this mean?
It means that by being proactive instead of reactive with money, I can have security, peace of mind, and fun.

It means that my money is handled intentionally, on purpose, and with a plan in order to produce the results I want.

“Ok, sure, but you picked that up from years of reading and training, what about everyone else (who aren’t financial nerds)?”

Let’s look at where a lot of people end up, just by having to figure things out on their own through trial and error.

Most people are in a cycle of earn; spend; earn; spend – or worse, earn; spend; borrow; spend. Where each dollar that’s earned is spent right away, or even borrowed to make ends meet. This is a one-way ticket to get deeply in debt – mega bummer.

To break that viscous cycle and start a good one of earn; save; spend, it takes discipline. notice I didn’t say “denial,” but “discipline.” That means treating yourself fairly – you deserve to feel secure in the life you’re living.  It means paying yourself first and taking a long-term view. And it means being able to consciously delay gratification (even for just a little while).

I’m not saying that everyone who’s in debt is a reckless spending maniac. I’m saying that adjusting our priorities is in order here. My first year of college, I honestly thought it was normal and OK to borrow over $30K per year, buy what I wanted, and live it up. After all, college only comes around once, right? and I’ll pay it back eventually… My priority was having fun, right now, at any cost. It took a hard reevaluation of what I really, truly wanted to get on track and start building the security and freedom I was trying to purchase with borrowed money.

The “make saving a priority” habit is tough, but we can do a few things to make it easier – and it doesn’t start with cutting all spending, honest.

  1. Identify What you Want Money For. What is it that you most deeply want? What amount of money would satisfy that? For me, it would be things like Security, Providing for my family, Making sure I know I have enough to weather any storm, Being able to generously support causes I care about, Freedom to do work I love, that kind of thing. Think about your deepest wants. Really let the desire soak in. I’m guessing your deep desires are similar to mine, and the yearning for that shiny red sports car is now a distant memory. Let the desire for the intangible benefits of money – the deeper, more meaningful benefits – motivate you. Set an intention to achieve those benefits and let that intention guide your actions in the following steps.
  2.  Analyze Cash Flow. Know where your money is coming from and where it is going. Make a map of where your money goes – figure out what percentage goes toward sustaining your life, home, and health, the percentage that you save, and the percentage you spend on everything else. Don’t freak out, step two is where to start slashing away! I like to take a more positive approach – based on an attitude of abundance, not scarcity. That’s next
  3.  Align Your Spending With What You Identified in Step One. Start reorienting your money with where your internal compass is pointing you. Find one area to focus on first. Whether it’s freedom, security, peace, or whatever truly matters to you. Allocate enough to your bills to keep you warm and fed (the percentage you found in Step Two), then add money to your focus area. Pretty soon, the things that don’t matter as much as you first thought will simply drop off your radar, and the things you deeply want will be nourished by the money you put toward them. Want to get those creditors off your back so you can sleep at night?  Use your money to hammer away at your debts like there’s no tomorrow! Want to have a comfy nest egg in place for when you settle down and have some kids? Start a separate savings account for that and transfer money to it each month and watch that eggy grow!

That’s what I mean by abundance – why spend energy taking money away from things when you can put money toward things that really matter instead? You can do it! Once your money is directed toward your deepest desires, you’ll start seeing all kinds of cool possibilities to start living your ultimate life!

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to get intentional with your money and start doing more of what you love, I invite you to check out personalized financial coaching. I’ll walk with you as you break viscous cycles and become great at money, offering encouragement and support for as long as you need.  Click the button to learn more.

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Until next time,
Do Brave Deeds and Endure!

  – Ben at Debt Freeks

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