Weapons., when used properly, make winning a battle easy. Fortunately for you and me, the battle over your personal finances is fought between your ears, not on Wall Street, not in Washington DC, not at your bank, and not at your job. No, your key to a crushing victory on the personal finance battlefield is to develop your own battle plan and to use the weapons you have at your disposal. What are those weapons?
1. Your own attitude and intensity
What DO you believe about yourself? The beliefs you carry around in your head, the words you say to yourself about winning your financial battles, the strengths or weaknesses you emphasize to yourself all have an effect on your success.
You can be in control of your beliefs, and you can support any belief you choose with the facts. It just depends on which facts you choose to emphasize, and which you choose to ignore. Choose to believe that you can become debt free, that you can save money, that you will become the success you want. That’s the first step to winning this battle.
2. Your willingness to stick to a budget
A spending plan is a key weapon in winning any financial war. Think about this – name a Fortune 500 company that operates without a budget. Don’t think too long because they don’t exist. Successful companies around the world operate with a budget for one reason – they work. They help companies make money by keeping track of their cash and determining beforehand what each dollar will do. But although making money and making a budget appear to go hand-in-hand, it appears that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not have or correctly use a personal budget.
If you want to win a crushing victory on the personal finance battlefield, you’ll have to operate with a budget.
3. Your price book and research
Get a 74 cent spiral notebook and designate a page for each major category for your purchases (fresh vegetables, meats, household items, dry goods, pet food, etc). List the items on the left side and two to four stores across the top. Leave enough space to write the price, size, and date of each item.
|1% milk||$3.08 on April 12||$2.99 on April 10||2/$5 on April 12|
|4lb bag of cat chow||$5.49 on April 2||$5.19 on March 31||$5.89 on April 3|
|dozen large eggs||$1.09 on April 12||$1.19 on April 10||$1.49 on April 12|
Over time, you’ll develop a database and will learn where to buy those items you purchase most. I’ll guarantee you’ll find at least a few surprises when you start to truly compare prices.
4. Your willpower to say NO
Saying no isn’t always negative, even if you’re saying no to someone you love. We all need boundaries and I’ve found it important to set boundaries for myself. I know I’ve wished I said no to some purchases in my past, how ‘bout you?
The willingness to say no, whether to a salesperson, your child, or yourself is a powerful defensive weapon.
5. Your automation of your finances
Automation is a highly effective weapon. When you automate your retirement account deposits, they become like long range artillery shells that have an effect long after you’ve pulled the trigger. Automating payments for your utilities, cell phone, and credit cards are more like defensive weapons since they protect you from late charges and excess interest.
6. Your contentment with the secondary market
Are you willing to buy clothing from EBay? How about used books or other items? Your contentment with things from yard sales, Craigslist, or Goodwill can be an incredible weapon to help you slay the dragons that are consuming your money.
7. Your courage to negotiate
Learning the skills of negotiation is available to everyone. Once you learn a few quick negotiation techniques, you’ll probably realize how often they’ve been used on you!
Winning the battle is all up to you
No one can fight it for you. But there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what makes it “personal” finance.
Photo by Sister72