Whether you like money or not, it’s part of your life. So, in order to take you from where you are now to where you want to be financially, you need to prioritize your finances.
Here are 3 strategies to help you do just that. (They’re what I do, too.)
1. Know Why You’re Prioritizing Money
It’s no use prioritizing money if you don’t know why you’re doing it. If you don’t know why you’re doing something, it’s most likely not going to stick.
So, start by defining your own vision and goals for your financial future. Ask yourself what you want in life financially.
An example of a financial vision is to be financially free. After you have your financial vision, you’ll want to create an overarching plan. Your over-arching plan is how you’re going to achieve your vision, in general. An example of an over-arching plan is to become debt free, own your home outright, and have enough to retire on by age 60. These are the big reasons that will support all of your goals. Without these reasons, your goals will be lost, and if they’re not lost, you may not feel the gratification that you would had you kept your vision in mind.
So, the bottom line is you need to remember why you’re prioritizing your money – whether it’s for yourself or for your family’s future – is crucial to this process. What you value most gets your time. Knowing why your money is important will reinforce it as a top priority.
2. Create Systems that make money easy to manage
In order to make your finances a priority, you need to implement “systems”. Anything can be easily accomplished through effective, supportive systems (this is a bold statement, I know!). But the truth is, if it’s easy, we’re so much more likely to do it. The less time something takes, the better.
While there are countless systems out there, it’s important to implement systems that work for you.
Here are a few that I love to get you started:
- 21 Days to a Better Budget (a book)
- Real Life Money Plan (a course)
- Personal Capital (online budgeting tool)
The easier it is for you to focus on your money, the more likely you’ll do it. Find the systems that work best for you and use them.
3. Implement Habits
Once you know what systems you want to use, decide on habits to help you.
I cannot overemphasize enough the power of habits. In his best selling book The Slight Edge, Jeff Olsen says “Simple daily disciplines – little productive actions, repeated consistently over time – add up to the difference between failure and success.”
If you want to be financially successful, implement habits you can do consistently that will move you toward becoming financially successful.
Personally, I am in the habit of paying for cash with everything, so it never crosses my mind to use a credit card. That is a system I put in place that is now a habit. Similarly, I make a habit of reviewing my budget regularly. These are two powerful habits that will change the course of my financial destiny.
Here are examples of habits that may help you prioritize your finances:
- Schedule a time to budget on your calendar weekly. This is your budget / finance meeting. If you don’t budget, you still need to check in regularly, so use this time to review your money from that week. So, every week you will get in the habit of budgeting / going over your finances.
- Say “no” to yourself once a day. If you really do this, it’s very powerful. By saying “no” to yourself you’ll remove any sense of entitlement spending, which is dangerous.
- Read something financial every week (read my book list here). Make it a habit to read the financial news or a finance book at least once a week so that you’re increasing your finance knowledge regularly. No one will care more about your money than you will, so it’s your responsibility to know learn about personal finance.
- Regularly talk about money with your family. Get in the habit of talking about finances with your husband, kids, or anyone else in your family. Money is one of the main reasons for divorce, so the best way to combat this is to talk about money and get on the same page with your significant other. Furthermore, money isn’t taught in school, so it’s up to you to teach your kids about personal finance. Here’s a post where I walk you through the 7 most important money discussions to have with your spouse.
A Final Note!
Only you can prioritize your finances. But these 3 strategies will help you get there.
Start by 1) knowing why your money is so important, 2) choosing systems that work for you, and 3) implementing habits that will make it easy for you to succeed with money.