If you feel insecure about your finances, you're not alone. Sixty-two percent of American millennials claim to live paycheck-to-paycheck and only thirty-eight percent consider themselves financially stable. Many financial experts believe that overspending is the culprit. Money habits may be keeping you from living your best financial life, regardless of an adequate income. But, that ends today! In the past, my money habits haven't served me because I simply lacked the knowledge.
I am a Black woman, born to two Caribbean parents who became naturalized American citizens. Not only were they able to become naturalized citizens, but they created a life that resembled the typical "American dream". We were middle class but lacked the proper financial knowledge to build wealth. I never questioned our money habits until I got older and began to notice others in the same income bracket could accumulate wealth, but we struggled to. I realized that our money habits were the problem, not our income.
Don't worry, it's not too late to refresh your tired finances. Keep reading to learn about positive money habits to embrace!
Adopt an Abundant Money Mindset
"Scarcity creates a powerful goal dealing with pressing needs and ignoring other goals," according to psychological theory. A scarcity mindset is a majority-default mindset. It's operating with a mentality that you'll never have enough money now nor in the future or thinking of money as being out of your control and another's responsibility. Overall, thinking about money brings you stress and you dislike it.
A person with an abundance mindset loves money and feels a sense of control over it. They don't believe time and money are related or that working harder is the only way to make more money. If they want more money, they create more money because their mind creates money.
You can develop a money mindset by taking control of your finances through budgeting, investing, and entrepreneurship. You don't have to live paycheck-to-paycheck and let money control your every decision. Break your old habits and take real action. Upgrade your mindset, so you can upgrade your wallet.
Practice Good Money Management
Sometimes, the problem isn't needing more money, but how are you managing your money. Budgeting, saving, investing, and spending are all apart of money management. It may seem like a boring process, but dedicating a few hours a month to money management can help to get your life into order. It's completely worth it. If you manage your money properly, in the long-term you will have more money to spend on things that bring you joy. There's no point in gaining extra income but feeling like you are living the same paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.
Over one-third of millennials don't have any money set aside for an unexpected expense or some sort of emergency. This is a problem because you are risking increased debt to cover emergency expenses and you lack control over your finances. You need to be in control of your finances to create financial stability, which means budgeting is your friend. The budgeting tips below will help to kick your finances into shape:
- Budget to zero before the month even begins. (This doesn't mean you have an empty bank account.) Allocate every dollar of income to expenses, savings, and debt payments.
- Change your budget monthly. Make the proper adjustments to your budget that reflect the holidays, events, and vacays for that month. Prevent stress by preparing for any extra expenses for that particular month.
- Prioritize your expenses. Allocate funds to saving and giving and then to your living necessities (shelter, food, utilities, etc.). After your necessities are taken care of, then you can focus on the rest of your budget.
Plan to Spend Beforehand
Another tip is to make a list of the reasons to give yourself the green light to lend or spend money. There's nothing wrong with spending money, but the reasoning matters. We all want to see Beyonce in concert, but that's not a reason to lend a loved one money. (And spontaneously spending your entire paycheck on a designer pair of shoes just isn't the move.) A nice trick is to plan your spending at least 24 hours beforehand so you don't emotionally overspend. Be extremely intentional and future-minded with your purchases.
All in all, protect your energy by protecting your coins. A life of financial stability helps to rid you of unnecessary stress and wasted energy.
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