Do you ever feel like your money controls you instead of the other way around? It’s a pretty frustrating experience when there’s too much month left at the end of the money. Years ago, my idea of a budget was a fictitious “perfect” scenario where everything went according to plan. If I made x number of dollars a month and my expenses were only y number of dollars, I should have z number of dollars saved up by the end of the year. The problem was, my life never went according to the perfect scenario I had laid out.
What made it even worse was I never bothered to try sticking to the plan. The bills came in and I paid them without even thinking. After all, bills need to get paid, right? Then as things came up that we needed, we bought them right away without thinking about it. If they’re necessities, I gotta get them, right? Well the result of living this way was that I never had enough money left at the end of the month as I thought I should. I made good money, so where did it all go?
And therein lies the problem with most budgeting systems. They really aren’t a budget at all. The problem with my “budgets” was that a) I didn’t include any reality in them, and b) I didn’t hold myself accountable to them. Instead of planning out my monthly income and expenses, I simply reacted to whatever happened during the month. My money (or lack thereof) was controlling me.
Becoming proactive with money
One of the habits of highly successful people is that they are extremely proactive. They don’t wait to react to things that happen in their lives. They happen to things and influence the outcomes. When I learned to be proactive with my money, I had a breakthrough that helped me take control of my money instead of my money controlling me.
So my wife and I started planning out exactly what we would spend & save each dollar of our income for each month, before the month began. And we tracked how well we actually stuck to the plan as we went through the month. We stuck to it religiously. The result was impressive. We suddenly stopped spending so much on extra “necessities” as they came up and we started meeting our financial goals. Today we are debt free and have a nice nest egg started for retirement. It was as simple as taking control of our money and being proactive instead of allowing our money to control us.
Are you letting your money control you or are you proactive with your income? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.