If you haven’t realized it yet, getting ahead financially is not easy. Earning a college degree, finding the right career, and working hard will not automatically make you wealthy; playing the slot machines at the casino will not do it; and inheriting a great deal of assets from parents or grandparents is less likely to happen.
When we get right down to where the rubber meets the road, making it to the top financially will be one of the hardest things you will ever do. This is one of the reasons why the masses are in the trenches, going through the day-to-day grime, and living paycheck to paycheck.
The intent of this article is not to discourage you from making financial headway. On the contrary, the purpose is to make you aware of some economic realities in our world and to inspire you toward financial prosperity.
However, the process requires some personal sacrifices…making hard choices that few people are willing to make. It begins with frugality, meaning spending just enough to get by and forgetting the extras until you’re financially able to splurge.
There is something else to keep in mind as you consider improving your cash flow for success. Be aware of cultural influences that are in place to dissuade you from making financial progress.
A culture that wants to keep you broke
The are many people and organizations in our culture that don’t want to see you succeed financially. The government, your political leaders, your bosses, shopping mall owners, credit card companies, your landlord, your mortgage company, and the banks are just a few of the prominent ones. Some family members and even friends can be added to the list.
Part of the thinking is this: “If we can’t make it to the top, why should you make it? Or You belong down here…not up there.” Also, the interest payments that you make on your debt each month are a vital source of income for creditors. They want you to stay in that position for their income stability. Meanwhile, as you struggle to make ends meet, they get wealthier by the month.
For these reasons alone, you will need to fight to get ahead, which brings us back the idea of personal sacrifice, which is nothing more than making an extra effort, beyond what is ordinary or average, to attain your financial goals.
This begins with the concept of curbing your appetite for things (stuff) that get you nowhere financially. The bottom line is this: Attempting to fulfill your hunger for things with your existing income will be an endless struggle that will keep you poor. Your wants will always exceed the amount of money you make. To resolve the ongoing conflict once-and-all, decide to bring an end to the problem: Get rich and then spend as much as you want. But even then, you want to be smart with your money.
Once you make the decision to be financially independent, most of the internal conflict that you’re now experiencing will be something of the past. You will begin to look for ways to SAVE money rather than dreaming of ways to spend it.
Tightening your belt for financial prosperity
Some of the wealthiest people in this country come from humble beginnings: Howard Schultz, former manager and current owner of Starbucks; Oprah Winfrey; Shahid Khan; George Soros, and many others were dirt-poor individuals before making it big. Initially, they did what was necessary to break through the threshold to succeed.
If you desire the same or similar results, you will have to make your own sacrifices along the way. Hint: there is no special prayer or short cut that will get you there any faster. You must pay your dues to make it.
The process begins by taking control of your finances, more specifically your CASH FLOW. You need to implement a program where you consistently spend less than you make. That way, you can use the remaining portion of your income to get ahead.
To do so, I recommend the following nine key steps for success:
- Control your desire for new and updated electronic devices such as smartphones. If the one you have is still working well, keep using it until it’s broken, stolen, or otherwise in poor working condition.
- Avoid being drawn into spending money by advertisements that are designed to trick you. The two most common phrases that advertisers use these days to promote their products are expressed in the following way: “You deserve it,” and “You’re worth it.” These inducements are crafted specifically to manipulate your emotions and keep you spending so you can feel better about yourself. If you must spend money to feel better about yourself, you need professional help. The habit of buying stuff to boost your self-esteem will keep you broke and unfulfilled throughout your life.
- Avoid buying stuff just because they are on sale. While you may save a few dollars by purchasing the items at a lower price, the money you spend on them will be gone forever, particularly if the items are going be used once or twice and get stockpiled and forgotten. Furthermore, if you use a credit card to purchase them, you will be paying more than the full price by the time the debt is be paid. You simply need to add the interest payments over time to see what I mean.
- Minimize your trips to restaurants. Cook more often.
- Cut back on snacks. You will save money and live healthier.
- Consider making your coffee at home. Although it wouldn’t hurt to treat yourself to a latte now and then, a daily routine of such a habit will simply add to the overall financial woes in your economic life.
- Cut back on concert and sports tickets. These items are usually very expensive, and the moments of fun are very short. Also, neglecting your financial responsibility to save in lieu of these events raises questions about your priorities.
- Find ways to pay less interest on your debt. A debt consolidation loan might help in this area. Also, attempt to do a balance transfer onto a lower interest credit card. By doing so, you’ll get to keep more of your money each month.
- Work extra hours and bank the cash. If you’re able to work an extra day or two during the week (overtime), do so and bank the cash. Second jobs and overtime work require additional time and energy, which means that they generally don’t last very long unless people are in desperate situations. If you must do it, you should NOT use the extra money you earn to buy more stuff. Instead, stash away the money in an interest-bearing account, thereby growing your asset base for greater financial opportunities.
This is a short list of ideas that you can implement immediately to start improving your CASH FLOW. I’m sure that you can come up with some of your own to help facilitate the process.
To learn more about how to manage your money for success, consider reading my new book: Pennies to Power: How to Use Your 20’s to Gain Financial Independence for Life.
Thanks for reading.
What are your thoughts?
Is it possible to obtain a cash surplus from your existing income? What is the best thing that you can do for yourself with the extra money?