Monday, January 5, 2015

Inspiring yourself to financial health

Inspiration. It's what you need to propel you to action. It was a topic that was brought up in today's financial literacy class. How does one get inspired to save and care about managing money?

First, you have to set goals. We all want something that at first seems so farfetched: a new car, a house, the latest trendy shoes. It's easy to just swipe your credit card most times and just postpone buying a big purchase for later,  but is that really the smart thing to do? Our main priority must be to live for today but secure tomorrow. So if there is something that you're dying to buy but are hesitating to for whatever reason, the best way to inspire yourself is to set a goal.

The next step is to monitor your cash flows. As one participant confessed today, logging on to your accounts to check your balances can be a daunting task. No one enjoys watching their money reduced as the bills come in. But what is more frightening (and stressful) is logging on one day and find your money has completely disappeared because you weren't monitoring your accounts.

Once you've watched your spending habits, you have insight to where your money is being spent. You want to evaluate your purchases to detect areas where you can cut back, especially if you're looking forward to a splurge. At times when you're overspending, you may want to reconsider putting that needless spending toward your future in a separate savings account or even contribute to a retirement fund. You'll find eventually that a little money goes a long way, especially when you're taking advantage of interest rates and extra contributions an employer makes by matching your retirement funds.

If you find yourself falling behind on reaching your goals because you're not committing to saving any money, the method you're using may not be working for you. Building financial health is about developing good habits, like committing to eating well or exercising. It takes a conscious effort, failing and trying again and over again until you find what works for you. Next time you find that you're not committing to saving for your future or financial goal, re-evaluate your spending habits, uncover what went wrong and try a new way. But similar to a bad diet or an exercise regime that is wearing you out, you don't want to be completely discouraged. Inspiration comes from a need to fulfill a void and it only works for you when you build up the courage to keep trying.

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