by Charlotte Wood
(last updated February 21, 2009)
Regardless of whether you have a small pittance for a bank account or you have coffers of wealth, all financial success hinges on your own personal discipline. You can still be financially stable and have what you need (and even then some) if you can simply control yourself when it comes to dealing with your finances. It's really not that hard, especially if you can cultivate that discipline when you're young. Developing financial discipline is really like any other kind of discipline or motivation in this life; it may take some practice and you may have to go about it in baby steps, but it is most definitely achievable!
It's always easier to develop a habit when you're young as opposed to when you're older, but financial discipline can still be cultivated at any stage of life. The best way to develop this discipline is to create a budget for yourself and/or decide what percentage of your paycheck should go where. Decide what percentage of your earnings should go to savings, to church offerings, and to yourself for bills, entertainment, etc. Sometimes that's easier for starting out than going on a strict budget that itemizes everything.
Something I've noticed when putting money away into savings is that initially it may be hard to take that chunk out of your earnings, but the more your accrue in your savings, the easier it is to save because it's satisfying to see that balance increase.
If you have an impulse shopping problem like I do (i.e., you go somewhere and can somehow always justify spending money on any one or more items), discipline can be enforced here by simply avoiding tempting situations. When I'm tight on money for a while, I avoid the bookstores, the mall, and anywhere where I feel I could spend money on things I can't really afford. If you must go to the store go with a list and objective; it's so much easier to control your impulses when you don't browse and simply go for what you need. Make yourself accountable to someone whether that be a parent, sibling, roommate, spouse. If you have to report back to someone regarding your spending habits, you'll think twice about spending what you don't have or buying things you really shouldn't.
The thing about financial discipline is that it's difficult at first, but once established isn't too hard to maintain. You may always fall in and out of good discipline but it's always possible to get back in the black and on the controlled side of spending. Start now, regardless of where you are in life, and you can always be in control of you money.
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