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Have you ever heard the phrase “If money wasn’t a factor, what would you do?” Often times, this question is asked to us in order to free our minds from the limits of our finances. Yet, that question rarely leads to “Why is money a factor in your life?” Honestly, why is money a factor? If you don’t know then I’ll tell you. For many of Americans, our finances are out of control. We lack organization, confidence and knowledge when it comes to money. Many have accepted this as a way of life but it does not have to be that way. Any changes that we make in life can be very difficult. Even more so when it comes to money because it challenges what you think you know about finance and how you have been handling your finances over the entirety of your life up until this point. Yet there is hope! It will not come easy for to change without struggle means that there has been no progress, but you can change. To encourage that change, we will go on a 30-day financial detox.
1. If You Change Your mind, You Will Change Your Money
Before you start this financial detox you must figure out your why? Why do you want to change your financial habits? What's your vision for your life? Is it being debt free or is it being able to provide for your family? Who or what are you doing this for? Are you doing this for your family? In my book, which is scheduled to be released early next year (shameless plug), I write that your why has to be bigger than your now if you want to be successful in life. Making a lot of money or having wealth is more than just being able to buy nice things, it is about being able to buy your freedom. Wealthy people understand that wealth is not about having a swimming pool full of money but about being able to dictate their time and energy the way they want without fear of the “money factor.”
2. Do a Financial Fast To Become Financially Fit
A financial fast is what a few of my clients and I did at the beginning of 2014. It was a powerful experience. What is a financial fast? A financial fast is 30 days of spending money only on necessities, such as groceries, rent, gas, insurance, utilities etc. No money is spent on luxuries, such as clubs (unless it’s the Boys and Girls Club), movies (read a book), restaurants (Yes, you will have to cook), clothes (no, you’re not going out so you don’t need a new pair of shoes, put them back) etc. Instead, be creative! Find free things to do like Piedmont Park, Belt line, hiking or visit this website. Doing this fast will do the following things to your life. It will teach you that it doesn’t cost you as much to live as you think, it will teach you to appreciate the luxuries in your life, and allow you to slow down and figure out what is really important in your life. Feel free to join our January 2015 Financial Fast group as we share, discuss, and motivate each other thru this fantastic but challenging experience.
3. Do a Monthly Budget
I cannot harp on this enough. You will not be able to achieve your financial freedom if you don’t do a monthly budget. A budget serves as your plan with your income. Not having a plan is planning to fail and quite frankly that is why so many Americans are struggling financially. The budget is the plan. It helps you organize your money, shows you where it is going and allows you to make adjustments to achieve your desired results. A budget gives you a realistic perspective of your financial situation and spending habits. Being that you are about to start your financial fast is it absolutely, positively imperative that you set up a budget for the next 30 days to serve as your plan and accountability check.
Create a budget with goals. Whether it be getting out of debt, establishing an emergency fund, or saving to purchase a car. You should create a new budget at the beginning of every month and account for any changes in income or expenses. Again, make a budget!
4. Use Cash Only for 30 Days
One of the major problems with our current society is that we don’t use cash anymore. Before the common use of the debit and credit cards, people used cash. Numerous studies have shown that people spend more money when cards are used. Why? Because when you use a card, the transaction is just a bunch of numbers. Cash has an emotional connection that comes with it because you can actually see your hard earned money. Physically handing money to the cashier will make you feel an emotional tug when it leaves your hand. It will make you think about the hours you worked to earn that income and as a result you will spend less.
5. Give a Portion of Your Income and Time
One of most impactful things about most of the financially successful in our society is that they are generous. Generosity develops compassion for others and it develops character. Those who give tend to have better relationships. Great relationships lead to happiness and happiness leads to great opportunities and great opportunities lead to more ways to earn money. That is the true business cycle. So when you give, it is truly just the beginning of income, not the end.
Give money to your place of worship. If you want to have more of an involved experience then feed a less fortunate individual one meal a day for 30 days. You can buy the meal or prepare it but the act of giving for 30 days will move you in a way that it unexplainable and as result, it will take your life to another level. Being tight fisted kills more dreams than you think. Be intentional and make a difference.
Finance is not just about money, it's about your life and having control of what you spend your time doing. But, if you have been handling your money wrong for most of your life then you’re going to have to do something to correct your mistakes. This 30 day cleanse is a great starting point. Cleansing yourself financially may get uncomfortable but it is because you’re required to do things differently. Different is good. In the society that we live in, if you do the opposite of what everyone is else doing, I guarantee that you be will be highly successful. Financially, 75% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck according to bank.com so to be different would mean that you’re not broke.
Dare to be different. Dare to be financially free.
*You can find more of my content at my website www.truefinancialcoaches.com.