The Simple Dollar offers a month-long plan for fixing your finances. All you need is an open mind and an hour each day.
If you’ve followed this plan all the way to this point, congratulations. Even if you’ve chosen to not follow every point, you have at least spent some serious time evaluating your finances and your spending and put them in the context of your overall life, which puts you already far ahead of many of your peers.
However, the reality of the world leads many of us to forget what our overall goals are in a desire to be accepted and to feel good. Our society tries to convince all of us to spend endlessly. We’re constantly bombarded with enticements and reminders of how “great” it is to spend.
Here are seven useful tips that can help you keep your mindset in the right place, enabling you to live what you love every single day. Some of these might not work for you; just use the ones that seem as though they would be a powerful motivator.
Wrap your credit cards in a slip of paper that lists your life goals that you defined at the start of the month. It shouldn’t take more than a little slip of paper. This way, every time you go to pull out your credit card, you see your goals right there – and it becomes a reminder that by using this card, you are likely pushing away those goals.
Reevaluate your social situations. Is an evening with friends always expensive? Is a day with the girls involve a big pile of shopping bags? If these things are true, your social situations may be causing you big problems. You have several options: suggesting other activities and seeing what happens, going along and capping your own spending, or simply “dropping out” of the social club and instead investing yourself in new activities – and perhaps new friends that better match your life goals.
Engage in inexpensive activities that match your life goals. If you dream of becoming a writer, don’t spend your time at the mall buying stuff. Engage in online writing communities and look for ways to spend your time practising your writing. For almost any life goal or dream you have, there are inexpensive activities you can become involved in that synergize with that activity. For me, I’ve started this blog as a way to channel my writing and also educate myself about financial issues instead of spending my time doing the same old thing; it’s a great way to spend my time that’s much more in line with my life values, plus it’s very inexpensive.
Use the ten second rule. Whenever you find yourself about to buy anything, count to ten and ask yourself whether or not this purchase really meshes with your life goals. Quite often, you’ll find that it doesn’t, and this will be enough to cause you to put that item back on the shelf or to close the browser window.
Keep a laminated “life goals” card in your pocket. This way, every time you reach into your pocket, you’ll feel that laminated card. It will serve as a constant reminder of your goals and help keep your mind on a strong path.
Keep yourself clean. This seems bizarre, but a healthy personal appearance is well worth the money. By this, I don’t mean investing money in clothing. I mean that investing adequate time in keeping yourself clean. You’ll feel more confident and in control, and this will enable you to more easily resist the siren’s call of spending.
Live what you love. Every single day, do something that is directly in line with your lifetime goals, and as you go to sleep that night, think back on it. Very few things make me feel better as I’m going to sleep than reflecting on my day and realizing that I spent today not just doing things, but actually living my life.
Ready? Let’s continue on to the next day.