In a recent article about people who reached success later in life, I mentioned my latest effort to lose weight.
This is not the first time I’ve started a journey in search of the elusive six-pack, and it will probably not be my last. Every time I attempt to discover the skinnier version of myself, I am amazed at how the rules of “healthy living” remained almost unchanged since the first time a much younger me went on a diet in the late 90s.
Sure, the trends and fads have changed, there are new names for old concepts and healthy living has been repackaged and rebranded a couple of times. The basic rules however, have stayed exactly the same. Drink water, exercise more, remember that fast food equals fat, starch is a sin and sugar is a super sin.
Money management is no different than the healthy lifestyle industry. TED Talks have replaced Suze Orman books, buying shares can be done through an app, and everyone is blogging on the side in the hopes of making some extra cash. The basics, however, have remained the same for decades.
If you are an experienced budgeteer or someone who has been struggling to get your finances under control for a while, these tips are probably not going to be anything new to you, but sometimes it is important to take a moment and remind yourself of the basics. That is exactly what this article aims to do.
Here are 8 basic but very important things to remember if you want to take control of your finances:
1. Set realistic goals
You need to know where you are going. You should always dream big, but do not forget to set smaller goals as well. These smaller goals will guide you on your way to financial freedom.
2. Know how much you have and how much you need
Make a list, create a budget, use an app, go over your bank statements – do whatever it takes to understand your current financial situation.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
3. Spend less than you earn
This is like the do-not-eat-chocolate rule of money. Everyone knows it, but it is easier said than done. You have to at least try though.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn
4. Do what works for you
There is no one-shoe-fits-all approach when it comes to managing money. Try everything until you find an approach that works for you.
5. Rome was not built in a day
Patience, patience, patience! You probably didn’t get in this situation overnight, so it will take time to get out of it.
“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” – Joyce Meyer
6. It’s okay to fail
This is where I always fall off the wagon, in both my health and financial endeavours. The moment you start eating that forbidden pizza, it’s easy to say “screw this” and order a litre of beer and dessert to top off your meal. Falling off the wagon is fine, as long as you are willing to get back up.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
7. Don’t be scared to ask for help
Money is something people do not like to talk about – especially the lack thereof. If you are really struggling, it is important to seek help. Seeking help now might be less embarrassing than seeking help later.
“The only mistake you can make is not asking for help.” – Sandeep Jauhar
8. Educate yourself
Just like all other aspects of life, it is always important to continuously educate yourself. Read more about personal finance, watch movies about money and speak to experts. Everything you learn will bring you a step closer to financial freedom.