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The Best Financial Move I Ever Made

by Ouida on March 25, 2010


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I’ve mentioned before that I was a financial wreck.  Wracking up thousands of dollars in credit cards each month. Buying $15 dollar a pound coffee, deferring the interest payments on my student loans until I almost completely reversed the benefit of having received student loan payback.  I spent money and had nothing to show for it.  Did you know, it is possible to nickel and dime yourself into massive credit card debt?  I sure found that out the hard way.  Ten dollars here, 50 dollars there can quickly add up to $16,000 dollars.  I don’t know what prompted me to finally make the move but I did.  I saved $50 dollars and I did it while still owing about $9,000.  Then two weeks later I saved another $50 dollars.  This went on until I had saved $500 dollars.  The most I had ever saved as an adult was $197.  It sat in a money market account for years until I realized the money was there, I withdrew and spent it.  I was afraid that once I got to $200 dollars, I would spend the money, but I did not and made it to $500 dollars, then I started saving $100 dollars each pay period.  There is a lot of talk about automating your finances, automating your savings.  There was nothing automated about what I did at all.  I joyfully went to the ATM machine every two weeks and manually moved the money from my checking account into a savings account. I called that day my money day.  I transformed pay day, a day I got money to pay the bills, to PAY DAY, the day I paid myself.  I continued to make those manual transfers for years remaining conscious of saving and what it takes to save.  I would not recommend that a person just starting to get on firm financial footing automate their finances, especially their savings.  Easy in, easy out.

Each time I moved money to my savings account I maintained a conscious connection with my money.  On a deeper level, it was as though I was sending my money on a journey willing it to grow and change while severing myself from my immediate need for it.  Each act of saving became one small ceremony.

Saving sounds boring, but you will never build wealth without developing that skill.  Each dollar saved becomes a seed that can be used for future investments, growth, enjoyment, enrichment.  Each dollar saved becomes a kind of cheerleader encouraging more savings.  I began saving even though I owed $9000 in credit card debt and another $52,000 in car and student loan debt.   As my savings grew, I felt empowered in relation to that debt and felt that I could only succeed in paying it off.

As I began saving, little catastrophes started happening.  You know what I mean, the petty cash emergencies that seemed to occur just when I’d get a little bit ahead.  Those cash emergencies were always some amount less than the savings in my account but they always seemed to occur as I approached certain thresholds.  For instance when I saved my first $500 dollars a $200 dollar emergency would come along. I complained about this phenomenon to my mother who told me to be grateful that I had the money.  I certainly was grateful, but I also felt that it should be okay for me to get ahead.  So I adopted the philosophy that it was okay for me to have more than I needed.  That philosophy became an affirmation and I began to save more and the petty cash emergencies stopped happening.  It all began with the decision to save $50 dollars and to be conscious in that decision.  I was listening to a seminar by T. Harv Eker.  He interviewed a woman who started with a dollar and saved fractions of that dollar.  She began putting the money in a masonry jar until there was enough there to open an account.  She wasn’t ashamed that she had less than a dollar that she felt she could save.  Within just a year she saved $10,000 and managed to secure a higher paying job.  She talked openly about the psychological boost having money in the bank gave her.

Saving money is boring, but it really shouldn’t be that exciting when you think about it.  Leave the excitement for the derivatives traders.

What is your best financial move.  Please comment.

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