If coupon-clipping and monthly budgets aren’t working out for you, it might be time to consider a new approach to personal finance. In fact, you may want to try changing the entire way you think about money. Obviously that’s no walk in the park, but here are 3 tips to get you started.
1. Treat Debt Like a Disease
Let’s get this straight immediately: debt should never be something you “carry” with you while you go about your way, living a normal life. If you have debt – especially if it’s the worst kind: credit card debt – then you should act as if you’ve contracted a disease.
Seriously: debt will drag you down and sap the life out of you, just like a disease. Fix it fast, even if it means everything else gets put on hold temporarily. When you get the flu, you stay home to heal yourself, right? Work will just have to wait. Same with “healing” yourself from debt. Drop all extra purchases beyond food and shelter until it’s gone and you’re healthy once again.
Don’t live with it, don’t budget for it- just get rid of it by any means possible, even if it’s extreme frugality. You’ll be so much stronger when you emerge, all debt-free and ready to take on the world.
2. Treat Purchases Like Injuries
Every time you cave into the desire to treat yourself, you’re hurting your chances at improving your financial life. In that way, every purchase is an injury. But you love your TJMaxx excursions and your daily latte. And surely nobody expects you tolerate an old phone or a small TV, right? Wrong!
If you have any financial goals at all, every purchase you make sets you back a few steps from achieving those goals. Of course you have to spend money sometimes, but try and train your brain to distinguish between necessary spending and everything else.
3. View Credit Cards as Passports to Hell
That may sound a little extreme, but that may be what it takes to shock you into seeing credit cards for what they truly are for most people: one-way tickets to financial ruin.
Most people you know probably think nothing of taking on debt to finance some of life’s major events. These events are one-time occurrences like kitchen renovations, weddings, or big moves across the country when you have to relocate. No problem- that’s what credit cards are for, right?
Again: wrong. When you think nothing of taking on credit card debt, you will never attain the level of wealth you want. Even on a smaller scale, credit card debt will always stand between you and a life of wealth and security.
That’s because there’s always something we want to buy. With credit cards there to make bloated spending possible, you’ll never reach your financial goals unless you declare your cards off-limits for anything other than the bare essentials. Unless you can train yourself to use your credit cards for only what’s absolutely necessary, always paying off the balance each month, then you’re better off without them.
Where It’s At: Behavior, Mindset, and Perspective
As you can see, all 3 of these tips are aimed at changing your behavior when it comes to money. But what’s truly at stake here is your mindset. If you can change the way you view debt, purchases, and credit cards, then you should soon see many of your smaller financial goals falling neatly into place. Good luck!