As twenty-something’s, there are many things we never realized the significance of until they’re gone.
Among other things, I have realized that I can never get my laundry to smell the way my mom can. Food always tastes better when dad buys it. Clothes are cuter when they come from my sisters closet. These are things we take for granted when we live with our families under one roof.
If you had this similar type of upbringing, you can attest to the fact that moving out for the first time was quite the game changer when it came to the grip you held on to your wallet (or lack thereof). It was a gradual process. It was a few breakdowns and a couple therapeutic trips to Target later that I realized adulthood was real life. Bills are mine to pay now. Student loans after graduating are a thing. Spending $10 on every meal I ate out was adding up more than my minimum wage job was keeping up.
Saving has never been an issue for me. I love to save. It was the process in how much I chose to save and how much I chose to spend on each paycheck that was leaving me confused and feeling like managing my finances were simply out of my control.
If you are anything like I was, I wouldn’t look at my bank account for weeks on end, afraid of the minuscule number I may see once I logged in.
One day, frustrated as heck, I decided that the best way to rid myself of the anxiety and stress money was giving me, I would halt my spending and make do with the things I own and save every penny I made at work. (Read here about how I found and applied the Contentment Challenge to my life!)
Here are my quick tips for being financially free in 2017. A new year’s resolution you can actually keep!
- Own your stuff.
Literally and metaphorically. Look around you. You have so many things. Things that serve a purpose and some things that don’t. Get rid of the things that don’t do anything for you. Sell them, gift them, donate them, but whatever you do, be honest with yourself. Ask yourself: “am I purchasing things because of necessity or want?” and your spending habit will form a healthier mindset. Also, own up to your stuff. The person you were and the things you accumulated happened because of poor decision-making. Be aware of that. Change the way you see things. If you have the basics, you have everything you need. Everything else is just fluff.
- Chart it.
Take inventory of your income and outgoing spending. What are some things you can cut in order to pay off outstanding bills? Any kind of debt is bad debt, you don’t want extra payments looming over you. If you find that you can cut some expenses and re-route that money toward paying off debt, do it! It’ll speed up the process of eliminating that underlying stress you don’t need in your life!
- Live free.
You own your stuff, not the other way around. You can live in financial freedom today by knowing you’re working towards something great. You may not be free from debt, but you can be free from the stress and anxiety of not knowing what your financial plan is long-term. Take responsibility for your spending life and you’ll gain the confidence you need for making every financial decision with intentionality.