Get Financially Free by Getting to Know Yourself

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Please welcome a guest post by: Katheryn Rivas

Being stuck in debt is sometimes like being locked in a prison or trapped in a deep hole you can’t climb, scramble, or fight your way out of.  One of the most common figurate phrases associated with debt, in fact, is not being able to “get out” of it.

 

Debt is a financial problem, but what few people stop to realize is that what leads to debt is often more a matter of discipline, self-control, self-image, and other psychological or sociological influences.  People who are unable to stop themselves from buying, or who always need something nicer and something bigger often are internally troubled and would benefit more from improving their self esteem than from attending a debt management class.

 

If you want to be financially free, want to finally escape your debt, the following self-improvement strategies might be a great place to start (instead of spending $250 on the upcoming personal finance seminar):

 

Look Within

One of the worst kinds of purchases is one that was made on impulse.  Generally impulse buys are unwise decisions because you don’t usually need what you buy on a whim.  However, impulse buys are just one kind of poor financial decision. 

 

The most important thing to do before buying anything is to ask yourself two questions:

1.   Do I need this?

And more importantly:

2.   Why am I buying this?

The first question alone is not enough because you can easily justify any purchase you want.  The second question, however, gets at something much deeper and more personal.  Even when you strongly desire something, when you ask yourself why you want it, your brain has a hard time closing the gap between reason and desire and will pause.

During that pause, stop and count to ten.  Start practicing self control this way.  If you can analyze why you want something, then you might be able to stop and realize, for example, that you are only buying the new phone or iPod because you are feeling down, you can put a little distance between you and your impulse, and maybe even replace the action with a more productive one, like exercising or reading a book. 

 

Set Goals

If you have realized that you have a problem spending money, then you are at least halfway there.  The next step is to brainstorm ways to help you change your habits.  One effective way to help you do this is to set spending goals.  Tell yourself that you will spend no more than x amount of dollars on certain categories of goods, giving priority to ones that are essential such as food, shelter, and transportation.  Next set aside a certain percentage of your earnings for savings.  Lastly, set aside a little amount as a congratulatory allowance that you can spend if you meet your goals.  Goals are also easier to meet if you work with someone close to you, like a spouse or a family member, who can keep you accountable. 

 

Understand Yourself

Sometimes we spend money or do certain things because we wish that we were richer or had more power when we actually don’t.  We want to appear to be something that perhaps we aren’t yet, and wind up spending everything we have in the process. It is very beneficial to think about the motives that drive you to spend money before you spend.  If you are spending because you don’t want to be regarded as poor, perhaps you should consider options like going back to school or changing career paths to put you on a path that will be more fulfilling.

 

Financial Freedom is possible, but the place to start changing things is within yourself. Don’t treat external symptoms when the problem is internal.  Work on improving yourself, and your finances will improve alongside. 

Bio:

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online universities advice.  She welcomes your comments at her email: katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

 

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Category: Financial freedom