We all have been involved in conversations where we’ve either said or heard someone say, “if I had x amount of money, I’d be happy.” While we would all love for a lump sum of cash to just appear out of thin air, things just don’t work that way. As much as we don’t want to admit it – money cannot and does not guarantee happiness. What am I saying? Before doing the basic ritual of eliminating expenses or creating a budget, we must be honest with ourselves about what money means to us. Use these tips below to take your mindset and money by the reigns.
Understand your personal values
What means the most to you – is it family, flexibility, free time or vacations? Take some time and identify your values. While finding inspiration through social media or through friends can have its’ benefits, we have a tendency to fill our time looking into someone else’s life to avoid doing the much-needed work of peeling back the layers in our own. Designate some quiet time and write a list of what matters most.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
Take your top five values and rank them from 1–5, 5 being of least importance. Consider what values will have your undivided attention for the next month or quarter. Having laser focus in this area allows you to work in increments and avoiding the all too familiar feeling of overwhelm. Whether you choose to work on one area or all five isn’t significant; what matters is the ability to be honest with yourself about what you can properly handle.
Work your plan
Once you’ve made your list and determined your area(s) of focus, think about different strategies you can put in place to help you achieve your goals. If one of your values is centered around travel, come up with a plan that allows you to do that without the unnecessary stress of depleting your savings account or adding on unwanted debt. Ramping up your side hustle, saving an extra $50 per paycheck, automating a portion to another savings account or cutting one recurring expense are all tangible ways to help you crush your goals. Be easy on yourself; this takes time! As you continue to work your plan you will be able to identify and understand what methods are most effective.
Assess and make adjustments as necessary
As life evolves, so do our wants and needs. These simple steps listed above can be done as frequently as you see fit. Set a reminder in your phone to check in with yourself once a month and see what’s working well or what can be done to make improvements. Remember to stay the course! When you’re able to align your money with your values that’s when you truly feel (and have the evidence) that you are controlling your finances versus your finances controlling you.