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How to Fix Your Finances Without More Money

tom cruise in jerry maguire show me the money

You can show him the money — but without personal responsibility, it ain’t going to help him over the long run.

How many times have you heard somebody lament that all their financial troubles would disappear if only they had a little more money?

The thing is, those are the same people who believe that financial stability is only possible with higher incomes.

Of course, they couldn’t be more wrong. They don’t need more money; they just need more discipline.

How to Fix Your Finances Without More Money

Folks who focus on how much they earn rather than how much they spend fail to realize that most of us will never have incomes that are high enough to afford everything we want in life.

In fact, for most people who lack financial discipline and find themselves deep in debt, a rise in income usually ends up being only a frustratingly temporary fix that, over the long run, usually does very little to improve their financial well-being.

So why bother screaming “Show me the money!” when there are more effective alternatives available?

For example, our personal financial situations tend to:

  • Improve markedly the moment we stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.
  • Gain ground when we curb the urge to buy things on impulse.
  • Recuperate when we stop using those high-interest rate credit card convenience checks that come in the mail.
  • Convalesce when we rely on an emergency savings account to cover temporary financial shortfalls, instead of floating checks or using payday loans.
  • Rally after we stop counting on an inheritance.
  • Shape up after we stop wasting money on cigarettes and lottery tickets.
  • Get a boost when we stop buying new cars every three or four years.
  • Elevate when we stop using our credit cards to buy things we can’t pay for in full at the end of the month.
  • Advance when we cook meals at home — well, at least most of them.
  • Reform when we track our spending.
  • Get better when when we use a budget to help ensure we spend less than we earn.
  • Straighten out after we start saving for retirement and increase our contributions with every raise.
  • Perk up when we make automatic paycheck deductions for our savings and retirement accounts.
  • Turn the corner after we start paying our bills on time.
  • Skyrocket when we run our household like a business.

With all that in mind, it’s really no secret that folks who make a habit of following the majority of these ideas are always going to be financially better off than those who don’t — regardless of how much income they’re earning. That’s because financial stability has almost everything to do with a commitment to personal responsibility and good personal finance habits, rather than the size of one’s wallet.

Oh sure, when things are getting tight financially, a little extra income is certainly welcome. But for folks looking to make a real and lasting improvement to the overall state of their household finances, more money should be among the very last solutions to consider.

Photo Credit: public domain

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