My definition of financial fitness has perpetually been ‘have five bucks in my pocket for lunch money.’ That definition has served me well for years, but even during my broke times, I have lived up to being financially fit. Last year, my definition of financial fitness changed to read ‘owe less than last year – remove financial obligations.’ Here are some steps that I used to improve my financial fitness.
Acquire Multiple Income Streams
Financial fitness has two facets: reduce debt and increase income (so that debt may be reduced faster.) Working at a single job is not conducive to getting ahead. Look at it this way: If you have one dollar, you are less likely to give it away than if you had 100 dollars. The same principle works for jobs – more than one income stream means less stress over a single source.
Focus on Spending
Money flows through my hands like water. There are very few days in a month that i don’t spend some money on something, whether ti be for good expenses (paying down the overall debt) or bad expenses (eating out, buying my weight in junk food, etc.). Before spending money, I take a few seconds to ask myself whether I need to spend the cash.
Removing the Temptation
As you know, you can’t spend the money that you don’t have. This is the newest part of the program, and it has been the hardest to implement. As soon as money comes in, it gets allocated for one of the good expenses. Most of my creditors don’t mind that I am paying in tiny increments. So, I get a little cash in my pocket, decide how much is ‘mine’ and send the rest to the bill of choice.
Present a United Effort
For many years, I would put a little extra to this bill or to that bill, but I wouldn’t feel that I’d gotten ahead of the game. Yeah, joy, so I took a month off of a five year debt, but that never really made me brim over with delight. When I picked a single bill to toss my nickels and dimes toward, the effect was dramatic and, most importantly, I feel better as a result.
Planning for Success
No plan truly measures up to the first real time encounter, but planning is essential. I want to be spontaneous and feel the freedom of knowing that I can do anything that I want with my money. The only thing that has really changed is that I am giving myself less money to play with. I know that my determination, willpower and motivation will make it so I don’t have to deal with the restrictions for that long.
When you’re looking at your own plans for financial fitness, you have to make the determination about whether you’re going to follow the path quickly or slowly, if at all. The most important part about financial fitness is the part where YOU are making the decision to control your personal finances.