Money: Who's in Control?

>> Thursday, July 19, 2007

Can money ever be nontoxic? It seems to take freedom from the rich, and it takes food from the poor. Even the people in the middle have trouble with money controlling them. I know people who will soon declare bankruptcy, people who love money more than their families, and people who significantly deprive themselves just to save a few pennies. When money controls people's actions, money is toxic, no matter what the amount.

But how to detoxify? We can't just stop dealing with money. It is necessary.

We need to take the control back from money. 

Start a Spending Log

A spending log may sound like a pain. But it can be very eye opening. If you are someone who uses debit/credit and checks, just use your statements. You really need to see, in black and white, how much, for example, your little cafe mocha habit costs you each month.

Eliminate the extras
Think outside the box here so you don't feel deprived. If you really love that cafe mocha, can you make something close to it yourself for 1/10th of the price? I bet you can. Giving yourself manicures, coloring your own hair, and ironing your own shirts all are other examples. Add up how much you would be saving and pay yourself.

Take the Extra Money and Put it Toward Debt
Take this money you have just *earned* and put it toward either your highest non-tax deductible interest debt or to your smallest debt. Either way you'll see progress quick.

Compete with Yourself on How Much you Can do Without
OK, you've done this for the month, and saved X. How about next month? Bet you can save even more. Once you realize you are competing against someone who is getting rich off your interest payments, you'll be motivated to stick it to them a little more each month.

After a few months you'll realize you're not just pretending to be in control of your money, you really are someone who has changed. Money is no longer toxic to you.