Are you in charge of your money or has it got you under a hypnotic spell?
If you ever felt like your wallet or purse had a mind of its own and often found yourself chasing after it down busy streets and dark alleyways, then you may need to change some of your spending habits.
Much like dust bunnies, money likes to stick together.
So if you’re in the habit of spending it, it’ll keep flying to where their kindred spirits usually hangout…i.e the cash drawers of the Stores you visit.
And the way to reverse the process is by holding onto as much of it as you can as opposed to spending it. Now, I am not saying you should sell your house, move into a tent somewhere far away from civilization and start living on Carrot Sticks. But rather that you shouldn’t let a single penny slip through your fingers when your brain’s on a coffee break.
So here are a few practical tips to whip those shopaholic gremlins into shape and prepare you for a Grand Life and an even Grander Retirement
1. Write down every penny you spend (including that relatively inexpensive pack of dental floss you buy for your Cat)
2. At the end of the month highlight everything you deem as absolutely necessary. If not having it isn’t gonna kill you or get you killed by your partner/spouse, then give it a miss altogether.
3. Write down your shopping list for the upcoming month consisting mainly of your essential items. And feel free to include a handful of “inexpensive vices” in there too. But don’t let those vices take up more than 5-10% of your net income.
And later when you’re out shopping, let your “list” do all the talking. Don’t ever let your legs just wander off by themselves.
4. Identify items that you may be overpaying for due to their brand names, shinier packaging, celebrity endorsements or because of some cute little award they won a millennium ago.
If it looks the same, sounds the same, smells the same and does near enough the same thing, then is it really worth splashing out more on that “supposedly” better brand?
5. Whenever you’re buying non-consumables and items that you can make do without a warranty, consider buying them second hand.
Second-hand doesn’t mean second rate. In fact, according to the Millionaire Next Door and the Millionaire Women Next door, most Millionaires don’t buy new cars. And that’s true of many Billionaires as well.
They just wait for someone else to grab the new car they were looking to buy and then follow them around until they eventually run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. And then they get a real “steal of a deal”.
It’s always interesting to see how frugal and simple the wealthy really are starting with folks like Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim Helú, Christy Walton, Jim Walton, Azim Premji, Karl Albrecht, Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg who each have a net worth that’s a whopping eleven digits long. And yes, it is in US Dollars and the first digit of that number isn’t a zero.
6. Detach yourself from the shiny object syndrome –
Do you find yourself fishing in the deep blue sea for the latest and greatest in trending technology and fashion?
Have you got to have the latest cell phone in the market, the fastest flying saucer in town, the largest and coolest TV screen with colors so lifelike that you often wonder if there are real people living inside?
Or do you wait a few years for the shine to wear off so that you can buy it at a price that doesn’t strain your eyes or give you wrinkles?
Spending money on stuff that doesn’t progress you Personally or Professionally is like Skiing down a mountain at top speed whilst listening to your favorite tunes on your iPod.
You don’t usually get the bad news until you’ve reached the bottom.
7. Don’t forget to check for those leaks in your pocket
Even if you walk around with a little notepad jotting down every little penny that you spend and keep it handy by your bedside at night, there’s always gonna that rogue expense that slips through and continues to show up month after month on your Bank Statements.
So if that’s you, then chances are you may be overlooking a few of those automated monthly payments. Or your evil Twin just has a copy of your Credit/Debit card along with your pin number.
But these little critters aren’t just leeching money from your accounts on an ongoing basis. They are also very likely deflating your life’s potential one single minute at a time.
How? Well, basically every minute that you spend on Entertainment is a minute taken away from your Golden opportunity of Personal and Professional Progress. And that’s a ticket we all inherit the minute we graduate from “Diaper Academy”.
But instead of running with it, many of us prefer to spend our “off hours” trying to scare the wits out of our potential and ambition with a Horror movie, a Reality dog show or an exciting nightly episode of “The Lives of Incarcerated Escapees across the Globe” aka the News. We fool ourselves into believing that these programs are somehow entertaining or educational when in reality they’re about as informative as learning about the anatomy of a Horse by staring at its butt from all different angles.
While it’s true that every Energizer Bunny needs a minute to kick back, tune into some Lionel Richie and wind down, it’s just as important that the power of the remote lies with you and not the other way around. If your entertainment center has got you performing circus tricks in its spare time and has you tuning in whenever it wants you to, then the surest way to get your power back is to swap all of those time-sucking subscriptions with something less schedule intensive like an Amazon Prime or Netflix subscription. Oh.. and did I mention that you could also be saving tens of thousands of Dollars in the long run by doing that?
8. Make more money
Taking charge of your expenses is vitally important. But does it resolve everything?
I mean, would you be totally ticked off if your Boss just called you in today and doubled your pay on the spot?
If a pay raise makes a big difference you can make that happen just by changing a few of your work related rituals. So show up early, work hard every minute that you work, get things done efficiently, do far more than what you get paid for, ask for more responsibility when your designated work quota is done,take shorter breaks, limit all time sucking conversations to just two words of your choosing, expand your work related skillset every chance you get and be the easiest guy or gal to get along with (caution: this may positively affect all aspects of your life). And if you do this consistently enough and faithfully enough, then it’s only a matter of time until you eventually qualify to be the next person in line for that upcoming promotion or at the very least end up with a 1.23% pay raise.
But if that route sounds like it’s going to take at least a few decades for you score something big enough to really sink your teeth into, then consider the alternative which is to go into Business for yourself on a part time basis (whilst keeping your job intact for that super cozy feeling of “security”).
But going into Business for yourself isn’t for everyone, primarily because it requires bucket loads of fortitude, patience, passion,integrity and faith that most people don’t take the time to cultivate. Also just because the Business route gets to your ultimate goal of financial abundance relatively sooner doesn’t mean that it’s in any way a shortcut.
Real Businesses take many years to get off the ground, often times as many as 5-15 years. So don’t fall prey to any of those overnight success plug-n-play, earn while you snore cash systems out there. Getting to that partially “autopilot” status takes years of diligent work. But is 15 years of gut wrenching, nail biting, nose twitching hard work for a lifetime worth of rewards really such a bad deal?
Also when deciding on a good Business model to pursue, don’t think about how you would go about hypnotizing your prospects into buying everything they see. Instead, think about how you can make their day and be their “Superman” or “Supergirl”(without any of the excruciatingly heavy lifting). And the easiest way to do that is to position yourself as the customer and work backward.
So, what “legal” commodity or service would you like to be sold? How would you like to be treated? What sort of price would be willing to pay for it (if getting it for free wasn’t an option)? Did you feel cheated or rewarded from the experience? Would you buy from “yourself” again? And would you rant, rave and recommend “yourself” to friends, family, pets,gangsters and ghosts?
Now, if you can put a few of those products and services together for a cost effective price and come up with a way to get your message to the World without having to shout it out from every rooftop, then you have yourself a good starting point. After that, it’s a matter of finding the pieces of the jigsaw to complete the picture, which is to find the right people to model after along with the right resources, the right books, and the right audience to sell to.
But don’t ever delve into the world of Business and Marketing “hoping” you can figure things out as you go along. Doing so will instantly make you the string ball in a battle of cat vs the string ball.
9. Invest in some “Supernatural Insurance”
Even with the best of intentions and the best of efforts, some things in life just feel insurmountable.
But are they really? What if there was some groovy kind of “insurance” that near enough guaranteed victory for you every single time? That’s not to say that this makes you completely immune to losses and setbacks (although it does to a reasonable extent).
But when crap does happen, this particular “insurance plan” will give you the “right stuff” to stay in the ring long enough to get in the knockout punch or tickle your opponent to death (if that’s more of your thing).
Is this for real? It sure is. And it’s available to all of us regardless of our faith, nationality, color, creed and even if you don’t like cheesecake.
This highly coveted variety of insurance is called “Supernatural Insurance”. And the way you become eligible for it is by being annoyingly nice, helpful, considerate and compassionate to every single person that you meet (even if they make you wanna throw up inside many times over) and by donating 10% of your net income every single month to a charity that genuinely helps people who cannot help themselves. And if you do this long enough and faithfully enough (despite the occasional slip ups from time to time), then you’ll eventually graduate to the higher plane of living where you have an army of Supernaturals who have your back around the clock. And even when the occasional bullet does get through their supernatural defenses, they’ll stay with you, care for you and even line up the right resources and people to bring about a full and magnificent recovery.
It might sound way too simplistic and impossible to believe..but it works. Now, the reason why most folks don’t experience this amazing grace is because they try to fool their Creator with insincere prayer, hoaxed devotion and Cookies, when all they had to do was to make it their mission to take care of his Children as best they can without discrimination and prejudice. Yep,the CEO of the Universe pities the fools who give up too soon and try to pull the wool over his eyes.
When you play your cards right and stay the course, your money situation will start to improve slowly and steadily.
You will no longer be radio controlled by your wallet or purse. And your cash will start having kids of their own and settling down in the comfort of your Bank accounts.
Unfortunately, that’s also around the time most folks break free of their straitjackets and go on a few wild and spontaneous shopping frenzies in an effort to recuperate from their recent episode of “severe frugality”.
So if you find yourself falling into the same trap, then the best course of action is to call a friend or the Police and ask them to save you from yourself.
When you get ahead in any race (whether it’s in your Finances, relationships or health), you should be focusing steadfastly on capitalizing your advantage and running circles around your opponents Road Runner style and not walk straight into your own traps like Wile E Coyote.