April 8, 2016 There’s a power struggle taking place in this country right now. I’m not talking about the election or politics at all. Regardless of your political leanings, there are entities that want to shift the power over your money from your control to theirs. Banks, advertising agencies, credit card companies, and other people who do not hold your best interest are in a constant struggle to convince you that you don’t have to be master of your own money or your own destiny. There is a solution. There is a way to regain control of your life and make your own financial decisions. The way to take back the control of your money and future is to start managing your money, and stop letting it manage you. You might be wondering, “isn’t money management for old people? Won’t it take forever every month and prevent me from doing the things I actually want to do?” I’ll tell you the main reason to take control of your money in this post – the reason big banks, political entities, and other institutions don’t want to you to know. Full speed ahead, on Debt Freeks! Money management is simple at its core, but there are thousands of methods, blogs, and books that complicate it beyond belief. The core of money management is this: Spend less than you make, and be smart with the rest. That’s it. How you go about doing this is a matter of personal preference, but I highly recommend the following: have a budget and stick to it, save and invest, and give as generously as you can. I’ll tell you more about these three elements of financial success in future posts, but for now, let’s take them all as a whole, and see how doing these three things can set you up for financial freedom. Money management means deciding what your priorities are and laying out a systematic plan to fund those priorities. Without a plan of your own choosing, you’ll be stuck using someone else’s plan and often wondering where all your money went at the end of the month or academic term. Remember that others don’t have your best interest at heart like you do. The basic tool you can use to set your financial priorities is the budget. It can be as simple as a note on the back of a napkin like “pay my bills – $850, save $200 for new car, donate $50 to public radio,” or a complex algorithm with multiple categories, accounts, and charts. Budgeting has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, but it typically is categories as a “four letter word” by folks that don’t want people to have control of their own money. Budgetting is the easy part, sticking with it can be tough. For help setting up and sticking to your budget, consider contacting Debt Freeks for individualized financial coaching, providing you with tools and accountability to stay on track. Money management, spending less than you make and being smart with the rest, is essential for the continued survival of your goals and for the attainment of financial freedom and independence. Anyone can do it, and everyone should do it. If your money management left in the hands of banks, creditors, and big companies, you lose control of where your money, and your life, is headed. Stay tuned for more tools and information about how to effectively manage your money and how important it is for your financial future. Until then, take a couple minutes to write down your financial priorities including your current obligations and some things you would like to save for.