Financial Independence: Control Your Cash – Part 1

Financial independence is rarely achieved by hitting the jackpot, writing a best seller or a hit song, making it to the big leagues or finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. These things do happen, no doubt about it. However, the odds are not in favor of the majority. It is possible to achieve financial independence by actually doing something right here in practical reality in order to set the wheels in motion.

Please raise your hand if any of the following apply to you:
-unable to pay credit card bills in full every month.
-no emergency fund (cash, not credit).
-your cash outflow exceeds your cash inflow on a regular basis.
-you have considered bankruptcy as the only way to solve your cash problems.
-you spend too much – and know it – to impress friends/family/neighbors.
-your favorite hobby is buy now, pay later.

Congratulations, your money, and mindset about money, is out of control.

There is no need to beat yourself up about it. You are not the only one who hasn’t learned and/or mastered the skill of money management. Our culture is built around consumerism and debt, but that doesn’t mean that we are not responsible for our own choices. You can choose right now to turn things around simply by making that decision. Try it. Say, “I want to be financially independent.” There. Done.

Now, take a step back from your financial situation and distance yourself emotionally if you can. Pretend you are looking at someone else’s life and your job is to take a completely honest inventory of all income, expenses, assets and liabilities for them. Shocking, isn’t it? Where does that money go, anyway?

Do you want to find out? Try this for a month: carry a notepad with you and write down every cent you spend right down to your newspaper, coffee and the quarter you give to a street person. Basic living expenses are pretty easy to account for – it is the discretionary spending that often hits us hard.

At the end of the month, take a good look at your spending habits and ask yourself a simple question: “Is this what I really want?” Chances are, you will see a few key spending habits that, with a little willpower, can be changed pretty quickly and painlessly. Try the changes and see how it feels. You are on the way to controlling your cash.