5 Steps to Reduce Money Worries
5 Steps to Reduce Money Worries by Guest Blogger – Leslie Girone
Americans worry constantly about money! Here are five simple steps that will help you reduce your money worries and help you achieve more financial freedom.
1. Budget! A budget is a money plan.
It is simple. Having a plan reduces money worries. Not having a plan increases stress and anxieties related to money. Tune in to and track income, expenses, and savings. These are three key money measurements and excellent barometers of your financial health.
Let’s discuss managing expenses. Pay close attention to small daily expenditures. These can add up quickly. It is easy to dismiss a dollar here or a dollar there as meaningless. One dollar a day in reduced expenses, is thirty dollars a month, and three hundred and sixty five dollars a year. Perhaps more importantly, it may represent as much as double that amount in earned income as a result of taxes. Remember, a dollar saved is essentially two dollars earned. If you need to, give yourself and everyone in the family an allowance. An allowance is a money management strategy that can help reign in expenses.
Once you feel confident you have expenses under control, start analyzing your income. Decide if you need to generate more income to invest in your future, your children’s future or for other important goals. Give thought to emergency savings. Many experts recommend having at least six months of expenses in savings. Imagine how many money worries that would reduce. True, it won’t happen overnight. And, it certainly won’t happen if you don’t have a budget. It can be done. It just takes time. And, it needs to be a priority.
2. Reduce! Americans seem like they are addicted to “stuff!” Let’s be candid, we buy a lot of unnecessary and unfulfilling things. Frequently, those things end up collecting dust or in landfills. One of the wonderful benefits of being a good money manager is you can get the things you really want. So, I am not advising you to cut out everything. What I am advising you is to think your spending choices through and make a conscious choice to reduce consumption. Adopt a less is more philosophy. Think reduce, reuse, and recycle! Reducing is a powerful strategy for eliminating financial worries and increasing financial freedom.
3. Recognize. There will always be people who have more and there will always be people who have less. It is an insight that may prove to be very helpful in avoiding a big money management pitfall – going into debt trying to keep up with the Joneses. Recognize, the Jones may or may not have it all. Recognize, they may or may not be living a fairy tale. Recognize, although they may appear to have a lot of stuff, they may be living a financial nightmare. It is very possible they are lying awake at nights experiencing their own money anxieties. As they say in baseball, keep your eye on the ball. Thoroughly enjoy everything you do have. An attitude of gratitude is a smart way to reduce worries. I have found this to be true, if you have your health you have great wealth.
4. Educate. Financial education is rarely provided in school, despite how important it is to our daily lives. So, it is up to you to educate yourself on finances. Learn as much as you can about making great money choices and developing great money habits. Fortunately, there an abundance of wonderful financial resources are available to address every financial situation. Life long learning is an asset. Furthermore, it is a common trait of all successful people.
If you need inspiration, check out Nido Qubein. Who is Nido Qubein? He is the president of High Point University, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Nido is a beacon of hope for what is possible with a strong learning ethic. Benjamin Franklin is not a bad example either. Education has been a predictable path to financial security and freedom for millions of Americans. Don’t ignore it. Learn. Learn. Learn. Get “money smart!”
5. Start now! Sammy Rabbit puts it best in his song “Anyone Can Be Rich,”
The sooner you start the less it takes
The trick is not to delay or wait
If it’s riches that you wanna create, just start saving early not late
There is no time like the present to take control of your finances. The compound interest clock is always ticking whether it is working in your favor or not. And just like interest, worries seem to compound as well. That is especially true when they are not addressed immediately. Start small. Take regular steps. Habits don’t change overnight, so don’t expect miracles. But rest assured, small consistent action makes a difference. They make a difference in increasing your savings and nest egg. And, they make a difference in reducing debt and stress. Take one step at a time. Put yourself on the path to financial freedom today. Set up automatic transfers to your savings accounts. Automatically pay bills online too. Monitor your credit regularly. Set specific goals for saving, spending, investing and income. Remember what Sammy Rabbit says, “Get in the habit of saving and spending smart. You can do it, now get to it!”
I am confident if you take one or all five of these suggestions, you will reduce your money worries and increase your financial freedom.
Discover more about Leslie Girone and her financial education mission at Money Smart 101.
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