Do you Manage Your Money, or Does Your Money Manage You?

 

Personal finance is a topic that is gaining more and more attention today. With rising fuel and food costs, people have to stretch the dollar farther and it seems more and more difficult to do.  How we handle our resources is very important. If it takes difficult times to get us to pay more attention to our spending and saving then this is a good thing.  This becomes even more critical when you consider starting and running your own business.

I remember very desperate times when I was in college. I could barely scrape together enough gas money for my rusty ‘76 Ford Mustang so I could deliver pizzas for Dominoes. In fact I remember praying for tips so that between deliveries I could put a few quarters or a couple of bucks in the tank to get me through the night.

One time I was rushing to get back to the store, but I needed gas. I stopped by a local convenience store and put a couple of dollars of gas in the tank, because that’s all I had in my pocket. Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry that I drove off without paying for the gas. A couple of days later I realized what I had done and rushed down to pay for the stolen gas. My crime actually made the local paper.

Here is the point. It is never too early or too late to get better at managing your finances. Whether you are a high school student, college student or an adult with a long career and large income, it is important to know where your money goes and how to control it. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Plan your month before you make your money – You need to have a plan for your money before you get paid for the month. Every month is different, so it is not enough to plan once for the rest of the year. It will only take a month or so before your plan doesn’t work. If you are married, make sure your spouse is involved so you both agree on how the money is going to be spent. For a helpful resource, see down load the FREE “Monthly Spending Plan.”
  • Track your spending – Where does your money go? Wealthy people, millionaires included, can tell you how much money they spend in multiple categories. They track their spending and keep receipts. It sounds like work, but it really only takes a minute or two, and it is a pre-requisite to building wealth.
  • Spend less then you make – Living below your means is a difficult task in our culture filled with “buy now, pay later” themes. Wealth will always escape you if you don’t work this situation out.
  • Start an emergency fund– This is one of the most important steps to take. The target is to have 3 to 6 months of living expenses saved and available in the bank. Don’t let this big number keep you from getting started. To create some immediate peace of mind, raise a starter emergency fund as quickly as possible and set aside for emergencies only. Put all of your energy into raising one of the following amounts:
    • $200 – High School Student with no significant monthly bills
    • $500 – College Student or single adult with an apartment
    • $1000 – Most Adults or Families
  • Pay with cash – Our culture is so dependent on getting everything we want with no waiting. Let me suggest that you can get anything you want if you wait and save for it. In fact the longer you pay cash for everything and save for all expenditures you will have far more money than the rest of the culture that buys everything on credit today.

You really can get control your money, and you can experience the freedom that comes from having a surplus. Tell me how you are doing. I would love to hear about your progress with getting control of your finances.

 

About The Author

Duane Rockensock

Duane (Rocky) Rockensock is a husband, a dad, and the National Reconditioning Manager for AmeriGas Propane. Since he was a teenager, Duane has loved hearing the stories of how people have started creative businesses or found ways to use their talents to accomplish amazing things. For that reason he started this blog to encourage teens and adults to find their purpose and to provide the tools and resources to make that happen!