I just opened my yahoo email and the first couple of messages were marketing emails from Macys, Best Buy and Air France. The titles were: “Pop Up Sale: get 50% off boots & shoes noon-11:59pm ET today!” “Save up to 25% on select HDTVS – Upgrade for the Big Game,” and “Resolution No. 3 – Book Your Next Vacation!”Note how these titles have a sense of urgency and seek to make the reader eager to act before they lose out on something absolutely critical? See how these titles make vacation, shoes and TVs seem just as important as oxygen? I used to blame the retailers for targeting “poor consumers,” but I have now changed my mind, these tricks can only get a consumer that permits them. The marketers who draft these emails must earn a living and pay their own bills too, so if that involves getting you to use money you don’t have to buy things you don’t need, well whose fault is that?
But guess what? It is 2015, the year to get things right and live your own truth, so it is time to flip the script. Not only will I unsubscribe from all email lists that only “check up” on me to take my money for things I didn’t plan for and don’t need, I am also going to struggle to be better at planning my finances this year so that I don’t fall prey to the “money vampires” lurking around every corner. So help me God! Want to join the struggle? Here are some of the tips that can help you do same in 2015 and beyond. Enjoy!
- Align your spiritual life with your financial life. Pray about money, but work hard to avoid money mistakes too. God says he will grow the seed, but hey! You have to plan it first.
- Lose the immigrant mentality. There is no value building a mansion in your village when you or your children don’t plan to relocate there, yet you are barely contributing anything into your employer sponsored 401k.
- Start saving instead of borrowing for the rainy day. Want to take a summer vacation? Start putting money aside now instead of charging it on a credit card or other installment loan when it’s time to go.
- Can’t afford a vacation out of town? Try a “staycation” instead. No one ever got hurt by staying home to sleep and bond. You may just discover your purpose.
- Be determined to stay out of debt. The alternatives may require greater sacrifice but absolutely nothing is worth amassing debt laced with finance charges for.
- Get organized about existing debt, understand what you owe and make plans to pay back. Remember that some debts such as student loans are not discharged during bankruptcy.
- Stop being a people pleaser or a fake big guy! Aim to please no one but yourself, not even your spouse. Only a financially healthy person can be a good spouse, friend, child or parent in the long run.
- Switch on the busy tone for bad influencers, the ones who only make you spend and spend. The outings that involve getting intoxicated before joy can come are just ways to prolong misery.
- Ditch the expensive cable and fancy restaurants if your pay check can’t carry them. Why pay to watch people living their dreams when yours is waiting to be discovered?
- Cut your coat according to your size, but please don’t make it too tight. That is, leave room for some indulgence, just don’t go overboard.
I hope these tips help, but when it’s all said and done, the bottom line for financial wellbeing is to be very proactive and purposeful about money. Ignoring money troubles in relationships won’t make them go away, so find a way to address them effectively and peacefully. And remember that the struggle to stay financially healthy is just the same as the struggle to maintain a healthy body weight; it requires constant and conscious work. It requires living purposely and staying true to your own truth, which is what I plan to do in 2015. So help me God!