Lack of control is the root of all fear. Think about it: Flying in a plane is less dangerous than driving—but how many people do you know who are afraid to drive?
Behind the wheel, we feel like we are in control of what happens. Flying in a plane—not so much.
The same is true with money. If you approach your bank account with trepidation, chances are it’s because your spending is out of control. Are you controlling your money, or is your money controlling you?
Here are some tips to help you gain control of your finances and conquer your fear of money:
- Check your bank accounts daily. “Exposure therapy” is a technique often used to help people overcome their phobias—and it works. By forcing yourself to look at your bank account every day, you will stop dreading surprises because there won’t be any. It might be difficult to do at first as you confront your spending choices, but the repeated exposure should quickly make it easier for you to monitor your accounts.
- Pay yourself first. A healthy savings account can make you feel less like you’re walking the high wire without a net. Set up an automatic deposit of X amount to routinely go into your savings account, removing the temptation to skip the month’s contribution. The amount does not need to be large, only consistent. Try it! Chances are, you won’t even miss the money.
- Cut your costs. What is the one thing in your weekly expenses that you could do without? That daily take-out coffee drink? The tanning package? Restaurant lunches? Even those small amounts, saved instead of spent, can really add up.
- Check your successes and failures. What costs have you succeeded in eliminating? Which savings techniques have worked for you, and which failed? What did your parents do, money-wise, that you would want to emulate, and which of their mistakes would you want to avoid? You can learn valuable lessons from your own experiences and those close to you.
- Work on your credit score. To get a loan from a reputable lender, you may need a score of at least 700. If yours is less, work on paying off your debts.
- Sell off your “extras.” Which items do you have that you no longer need? Do you have a closet full of unworn clothes, or electronics you don’t use anymore? Consider selling them, either in second-hand shops or over the internet, on sites such as eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist. Turn your old junk into profit!
- Reduce-Reuse-Recycle is more than just a catchy slogan. Sustainability helps you, your finances, and our planet.
- Cultivate an “abundance” mindset. I’ve saved the best for last. Feeling grateful for what we have is the first step toward true abundance. When we take our money for granted, it tends to slip through our fingers, unnoticed. When we truly appreciate it, we tend to use it more wisely.
“You need to empty the cup to fill it back up.” Have you ever heard this phrase?
That fear of emptiness can lead us to try to fill our lives indiscriminately, perhaps even with purchases we don’t need. Fear can also cause us to avoid paying attention to our finances. What if our accounts are empty?
An empty account, like an empty cup, is just waiting to be filled.
Here’s another saying: “Perfect love casts out fear.” Loving yourself, and appreciating what you have, is a sure step toward abundance. Appreciation cultivates a wealth mindset—not because it magically brings more money, but because it will make you want to take better care of what you have. Someday, you may find that your cup is not only filled, but running over. That’s abundance—something not to fear, but to celebrate.