A few years ago, we were coming out of a very financially tough place, and it was exciting! A little bit of money was growing in my bank account. We were finally making more than we were spending – just a little, but it was the right direction!
My thoughts were “anybody really can get financially ahead” because I really felt that if I can make enough money to save, with my zero education and zero innate talent, anybody can.
In my enthusiasm, I wanted to share what I’d learned with anybody I talked to about finances – especially if that somebody was frustrated with their own financial situation….
…And it got me in a lot of trouble.
Not everybody wants to hear about how they can make their situation better.
Some people, whether they realize it or not, want to be rescued.
There’s a little bit of that in all of us though, isn’t there? Or at least I’ve certainly caught myself thinking about “what if” windfalls. Let’s face it, being rescued it a whole lot less work than rescuing yourself, so it’s attractive idea!
But that doesn’t help you. At all.
The number one thing you need to get ahead financially?
It’s not a job, or pay level, or better circumstances.
It’s an iron will
It’s the will to do the work. The will to find a way.
It’s being open to growing, doing, and being different than you are right now.
When someone says, “if you really want to save money on groceries, eat more beans”, instead of saying “nope, I don’t like beans”, it’s saying “okay, how am I going to do that?”
(and btw, I’m not necessarily recommending eating beans every day, though dry beans are really cheap, it’s just an example.)
The bottom line is, you decide whether there’s money at the end of the month and not the other way around.
It’s you being willing to learn what you need to learn to do what it takes to make it that way.
One example I can give from personal experience, was my husband figuring out how to get free produce from our local store.
Every morning, the produce manager goes through and gathers all the bruised, expired, and otherwise unfit produce into a box to throw into the dumpster. Gabe asked her to set it aside for him to pick up every morning to compost instead.
We quickly realized that there was a lot of usable produce in those boxes! (and also realized that we’d shot ourselves in the foot by designating produce instead of all discards – you should see some of the things we see in the dumpster sometimes!).
We ate a lot of produce varieties we wouldn’t have chosen to eat otherwise, but our grocery bill that way helped us get ahead.
Now obviously, something like that isn’t a dependable or long term solution, which brings up something else important.
You need to know what you’re doing with the money you save.
It’s not a great trade if you’re eating your least favorite vegetable just because it’s free and turned around only to spend that money on chocolate.
Saving in itself only gets you so far.
You’ve got to have a plan for that money – specifically a plan for that saved money making you more money.
Saving up for a car is great, everybody needs a car, right? But once you spend that saved money, it’s gone and you have to start from scratch again. Unless you’re using that car to drive for Uber, you didn’t really “get ahead”.
Your all-important will has to go beyond simply finding ways to save up money here and there.
You have to have a plan to invest it into something that returns money back to you. Whether that’s in the stock market, or into building a new, better paying business so that you can forget about eating the cheapest beans you can find.
You don’t have to have a detailed plan to start saving toward something better, and even if you do, you’ll probably find that you have to adjust and rework it several times over on your way to getting there.
You just have to have the will to find a way to save and multiply your money.
I sure didn’t have a well thought-out plan when I started. I just knew I didn’t want to live the rest of my life hoping finances didn’t go south again, and that I’d still be able to pay the light bill when I’m 80.
It was only after we started saving and growing a “nest egg” that we started solidifying what we wanted to do to make it work for us – to keep on growing and earning more for our retirement years.
In fact, we still talk it over frequently, and adjust our plans based on new information.
So you don’t have to have all the information when you start saving. My point is simply that you need to understand that saving up for a one-time purchase isn’t necessarily benefiting your long-term financial life.
Have a plan to make the money you save work for you toward a better financial future (example: stock market or real estate investing) – or at least have a plan to make a plan.
But whatever you’re doing, don’t let anyone talk you out of this one fact: The one thing you really need to go from barely getting by to financially free is an iron will.