Money is a Tool
Updated: Aug 3
A good financial future isn’t just about how much money you make. It’s more about how you manage and plan.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that you need a lot of money to be good at managing money. This is the opposite of the truth.
The truth is, if you’re a poor manager, you would still end up broke even if someone gave you a million dollars. Lottery winners prove this all the time.
Money management is more about your habits and how you handle certain things like bills, credit, and savings. In order to be a good money manager, you must have certain positive traits.
A good financial manager:
-Has a budget & sticks to it.
-Is a saver, not a spender.
-Has the focus to work toward one goal at a time.
-Has the ability to see the whole picture.
-Thinks more about the future than what is being missed out on right now.
-Has self-awareness & realizes bad habits. Works toward changing those habits.
-Is DISCIPLINED in spending habits.
-Has learned to be content.
Now let’s go over a few of these traits...
Every good manager has a written budget and sticks to it. It is imperative to know where your money is going, to have goals, and to work toward those goals one at a time. Having the ability to pay off debts in an organized way, will only come through sticking to a budget.
One of the top and most important reasons to save your money is to have an emergency fund. Once that is in place you can work toward other goals, save for retirement, and buy things with cash instead of using credit to create debt.
A good manager makes sure to set aside a certain amount from each paycheck for emergencies and savings. Come up with a percentage of your income you can easily afford, and then put that amount in savings each paycheck. Treat it like a bill you owe.
...ONE GOAL AT A TIME
The best and fastest way to get out of debt, increase savings, or buy things with cash is to focus your money & energy on one goal at a time. Start with paying off the smallest debt first. This gives you some small victories and keeps you motivated toward the next goal. It also keeps you from getting overwhelmed.
One of the most important aspects of financial management is contentment. Being content with what you already have is key to keeping your priorities in order and not spending too much money.
It is not uncommon for you to feel anxious about your finances but learning to be content will help to keep stress at bay.
Admittedly, my husband and I were in ‘survival mode’ up until we paid off our extra debts. Also, before that, I was a single mom.
Talk about being strapped for cash! I know all about financial stress and what it means to do without what you want.
I learned during my single years that in order to get out of debt, I would have to be content with what I already had, right down to the old clothes on my back and the used car in my driveway.
When my husband and I married, we put a limit on our shopping habits. It has been rare for us to go out shopping for anything but groceries.
When we had kids at home, we bought mostly generic brands to save money. We wore our clothes for as long as possible and then used them as work or gym clothes instead of throwing them out.
Living a frugal lifestyle is imperative if you want to get ahead in your finances, especially if you have a lot of debt that you're trying to pay off.
We finally paid for everything but the house and made it a goal to stay out of debt for the rest of our lives. Once we reached our goal we were able to relax more. Look at your savings like planting a seed for the future.
Realize that if you spend your money unwisely, you are not using that money toward your goals. Ten dollars here and twenty dollars there adds up to hundreds! You may not be where you want to be, but you definitely will not get there if you waste your money.
SEE SAVINGS AS A TOOL FOR FUTURE USE
An unwise financial manager can be likened to the story of a poor man who wanted to start his own landscaping company.
He was bad with money and bad at planning. The man started his landscaping business with no tools or equipment and no way to get to work. He didn't even have a bicycle so he had to walk everywhere he went.
The man had big hopes and dreams of being a business owner and knew he would have to start from the ground up, literally. Without planning it out or thinking it through, he started advertising in his neighborhood, knocking on doors and telling them about himself.
He had one positive trait, determination.
He immediately got his first client who asked him to dig 100 holes for some large trees he wanted to have planted in his field.
The unwise entrepreneur went to the backyard to get started and realized he had no way to dig holes. With no money in his pocket, his hands were the only tools he had so down on his knees he went.
Most of us would see this as lunacy, but the unwise entrepreneur had too much pride to ask his client for a shovel. Once he got beyond the soft soil, his job grew harder and harder. He got blisters and his fingers became raw and started to bleed.
He realized that digging with his hands was getting him nowhere but he was stuck in self-defeat.
Key Point- 👇🏻
Many of us are stuck in self-defeat when it comes to our finances. We throw our money away on the small insignificant stuff & use it unwisely. Then we have nothing to show for it later when we need it. Instead of using our money as a tool for future needs we throw it away and end up scraping to get by.
One of the neighbors stopped and said, “Sir, a good gardening tool is what you need. At only ten bucks, shovels are affordable.”
The new landscaper said, "Sir, I can't afford to buy a shovel." The neighbor said, "Sir, you can't afford to NOT buy one if you want to get this job done."
At this moment, he deeply regretted not using his money more wisely and not planning ahead. The lightbulb went off when the man remembered a jar of change he had sitting in his closet. He scraped up enough change to buy a shovel and went back to work.
Using the shovel was still a lot of hard work but it was much easier than using his hands and it was finally getting the job done. It was slow and arduous but he was now confident that he could dig the holes... eventually.
Key Point- 👉🏻 Plan ahead. Money is a tool that we can utilize to get things done but not if we waste it. Also, humility is realizing you need to take advice from people who can see where you’re going wrong. Being teachable is imperative if you want to get ahead.
When the man's client got home from work, he noticed how long it was taking him to dig one hole.
His new client came out and said, “Hey, I’ve been where you are and I know exactly how you feel using that shovel. It’s hard work. I can make your life much easier by giving you a little bit of advice. They make a tool called an auger. It is more expensive than that shovel but it will get this job done much quicker.”
Not wanting to lose the man's business, he told him he just didn't have the money to pay for an auger. His client said, "I tell you what, I'll pay you for each hole you dig, and you can save the money toward the auger. Deal?"
The new landscaper said, "Wow, that's great news!" Excited to know his job would become easier at some point, he dug the holes as though his life depended on it. He now felt motivated that this business was going to work.
With each dig of that shovel, the man learned some valuable lessons:
-You shouldn't start a business without planning, without the right equipment, and the knowledge and know-how of how to get the job done.
-You shouldn't waste your money. You may need it for important things. Savings is EXTREMELY important on so many levels.
-Don't assume just because you have determination and dreams you have the ability to accomplish your goals. It is imperative to have a plan also.
-Financial skills are important.
Once he bought the auger the job went smoothly and quickly. He was finally able to get the job done efficiently and his client was well pleased with his determination.
Key Point- 👉🏻 Wisdom is using your money as a TOOL to reach your goals. Seeing things from a different perspective, being willing to learn, and keeping an open mind will move you toward success.
Many of us live our lives like this. Our efforts are almost in vain but we keep digging with our hands hoping to get a different result every time.
We get metaphorical callouses and blisters from being broke and still don't learn a lesson.
We throw our money away on all the small stuff, not realizing it’s taking money from our bigger goals.
A good financial manager realizes he needs a budget, a plan, self-control, and contentment. All of these ingredients together will turn someone into a financial success, or at least a good manager.
Whatever you do in life, pray for wisdom. It takes wisdom to see where you're going wrong. We should always be teachable and ready to learn. Don't dig with your hands. Save and use your money wisely.
You can overcome a poverty mentality and become a good manager of money. Follow me for updates!