“.Too many people spend money they earned… to buy things they don’t want… to impress people that they don’t like.” – Will Rogers
Money always seems to slip through our fingers so easily. Wealthy people know that in order to build wealth, you must be able to keep money in your pocket and have methods of continuing to increase its value over time. Making money work for you enables you to turn your dreams into a reality. The following guidelines will be useful in this pursuit.
Control your Expenses:
You can never eliminate expenses altogether and you don’t have to, otherwise, what’s the point of having money if you can’t spend it? What you can do is control your expenses.
We live in an instant gratification society and there is a price to pay for it. If we do not control our expenses, we will make money and it will ‘disappear’ forcing one to live from hand to mouth sometimes or worse still, depend on debt. This phenomenon happens regardless of our income level. As income increases, so does the spending. That’s perfectly normal. However, you need to make sure that your expenses do not exceed your income at any point.
Controlling your expenses is actually very easy, just create a budget. Before buying anything that is not in your budget, take time to ask yourself the following financially defensive questions.
Is it something I can do without? How soon do I want it? Do I own something that can serve the same purpose? Can I borrow one, find a used one, or make one instead of buying a new one?
Always take this advice to heart: “If you don’t have it, don’t spend it.”
Consider Savings as a Payment to Self
Having money saved or invested somewhere gives us security especially for the unforeseen eventualities and therefore we gain a better attitude towards money and our financial situations. Notice how people earn different salaries but almost everybody complains of being broke at the same time. Most people assume they cannot afford to save at least 10% of what they earn. It just goes back to the first point, most people just spend as much as they make and do not really control what they are spending.
Being smart with your money is saving a part of everything that you earn, no matter how much or how little you earn. Once you start saving the 10% before any expenditure, you will notice how easy it will be and you will essentially be honoring the maxim of ‘pay yourself first.’
Savings is also an excellent way to get your money to work for you. Instead of keeping your savings in a box at home or a bank account that only attracts interest, consider a Savings Plan that earns you a competitive interest after deducting fees and taxes.
Get Out of Debt
Getting yourself on a budget and living within your means are the best places to start to get yourself out of debt and once you are out of it, strive to stay that way so that your money can work for you and not against you.
Your money is not really yours until you have paid off your debts. The weight of debt will force you to minimize the momentum of reaching your goals in time, if not stop you from attaining them altogether.
Increase Your Income:
Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. You can either do it by asking for a pay rise at work, opening your own business or generating passive income through investments. Start small and follow your passion.
In the case of investing, bear in mind that the market rat-race can be alluring and therefore you should be careful how well you play your cards in it. Know yourself and understand the kind of risk you can take. An old adage states that you do not play around with money you are not willing to live without.
Save for Retirement
Retirement planning is one of the most important things in life. Even if you are in a group retirement plan with your company, you can contact them about expanding your portfolio to include personal investments. Before you start thinking about other things to do with your money, consider how much you will need in retirement, and commit to saving as much as possible to meet those long-term goals.
Financial independence means different things to different people and its more than just having a boatload of cash. That is what making your money work for you is all about; overcoming the financial inertia and holding wealth at arm’s reach. Find out what it means for you, and work your way there.
If you have the basics covered, plan your way to achieving what you have desired and save up towards it. Call it goal-based saving or target saving. This will put your money to work for you and most importantly, it will get you where you want to go.
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