What does money mean to you? For most, the answer is something besides the currency that you receive for work and exchange for goods or services. Money means security or freedom or more stress. Many people don’t use it as well as they might. They spend it too fast, or they’re afraid to spend it at all and can’t enjoy it. Money is also at the root of conflict in many marriages and other types of relationships. However, none of this is inevitable. You can change how you feel about money and your habits at the same time.
Examine Your Past
Many people’s feelings about money are rooted in their childhood. Their family may have never had enough, or there might have been so much that it was something they never had to think about. It might have caused a lot of family arguments. One parent may have been a saver or a spender, to the detriment of everyone else. Thinking about your past, what you were taught about it and what it means to you today can give you a valuable baseline of insight to start examining your attitudes and deciding where you could make changes.
Look for Alternatives
One concrete thing you can start doing is look for alternatives to your usual habits if they are bad ones. If you tend to overspend during late-night internet shopping binges, give yourself something else to do or try going to bed early. If you have a hard time saving, have a portion of your paycheck automatically diverted to a savings account. If you always reach for your credit card to deal with emergencies, try building up a fund to cover unexpected expenses. In the meantime, if you need cash, consider exploring other options, such as taking out a personal loan instead. There are different options available online, and you can look for a repayment plan that’s right for you.
Most people really don’t know very much about finances. This is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s not something that is taught very much in schools, and parents may avoid the topic altogether or may not have the knowledge to pass on to their children. Fortunately, there are many different options for education yourself, and whether you prefer podcasts, videos, books, short articles, blog posts, or just about any other medium, you can find information. You may want to start with a particular problem that you have, like debt, or you may want to read generally to find out more about saving, investing, and managing your money.
Live Within Your Means
Creating a budget and sticking to it is one of the best ways to change your relationship with money. Understanding where every dollar is going and making any necessary changes to ensure that you have enough to cover your expenses, whether that means spending less, making more, or both, is an important first step in ultimately mastering your finances and making your money work for you instead of the other way around.