There is no denying that money is an integral part of everyday life. You need it to pay bills, acquire possessions, get food, and save for the future. Yet the cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area seems to get exponentially more expensive every year. While it holds a certain importance in life, being prudent with money is also key. Knowing how to use money to get ahead may require a shift in your mindset. Unfortunately, people who have out-of-control spending habits are often reluctant to acknowledge their financial situation. This makes it easy to pretend spending isn’t a problem. So, how do you shift your money mindset? Here are a few tips:
Be Honest With Yourself
You may not be happy with where you are financially, but you cannot move ahead and take steps to fix things unless you are honest with yourself about your situation. Assess your finances – have you been wise in your spending? How is your credit? Do you have a budget? Are you on track to retire? Are you knee-deep in debt? Taking stock of where you stand when it comes to your finances is the first step. Once you do this, you will be able to start planning to fix those underlying issues, create a budget and plan to save.
Stop Wasting Time
The only real solution for fixing the problem is to start changing your habits now. Even if you have had financial difficulties, continuously avoiding the problem is not going to fix it. In fact, it most likely will just make things worse. You may be feeling as if you can’t get out of the rut, but the only way to make progress is to get started. Taking action is the key!
Keep It Simple
Don’t make things complicated. Use a simple method to assess your income and bills – write it all out. Then, take note of where you can cut spending and start small. One of the best ways to start getting your savings in order is to automate the process. You can’t spend it if you don’t see it. Make sure the money is going into savings and retirement accounts by automatic transfer and limit your accessibility to those funds. You will be surprised how quickly little amounts can add up.
Understand the "Why"
Everything takes time and every little step you take has the potential to point you in the right direction. Now is the time to think about your mindset. Did you watch your parents have money issues? Are you using money as a crutch for something deeper? Why do you overspend? Does thinking about your future and saving money make you feel sad? If any of these scenarios sound familiar, it’s time to deal with it. Once you realize why your relationship with money is the way it is, you can start to heal.
Live Within Your Means
This is something that many people struggle with. Even if you make a significant amount of money, that doesn’t mean it’s your job to spend it all. Try doing something simple like making your lunch instead of eating out. Add up all the money you were going to spend that week on eating out and deposit it into your savings account. Next, give yourself 48 hours before you make a purchase on a luxury item. Think needs, not wants. If you still want it in 48 hours, maybe you can deal with spending the money. If you have forgotten about it, chances are you wanted it on an impulse.
Focus on Yourself
Getting your mindset in the right place is a lot like training for a marathon. Do your research and find out what investments are of interest to you. Take the time to search for accounts that will give you the best return on your money. Give yourself a pat on the back every time you saved money instead of spending. Those little things make the difference.
Changing your mindset can be challenging, but it’s doable once you commit to it. Things may not go smoothly in the beginning, but always remember – just because you started slow doesn’t mean you have failed. Take solace in knowing you had the courage to start.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Matheson Financial Partners. The information in this material is not intended as investment, tax, or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.