The trajectory of life is similar for many people: money doesn’t guide their lives until it does. Everyone needs money to survive, of course. It pays the bills, buys the basics to live day to day, and lets you own things that you like. But be careful not to let money—that is, earning it or amassing it—dictate how you live your life.
It is so easy to slip into the habit of constantly worrying about money and wishing you had more of it. When you find yourself in this unhealthy state, you should break out of it before it takes deeper hold of you.
But you may be wondering how one can actually do that. Fortunately, there are several practical ways to start being the boss of your money and your life.
How to Be in Control of Your Money
The difficult part about taking steps to stop letting money rule your life is the responsibility that comes with the decision. You don’t just realize it one day and then live it out. It takes wiser financial practices and a mindset change to achieve.
1. Know where your money is going
The first thing you should do is to take into account the inflow and outflow of your money. For expenses, it means knowing what bills you are paying, your debts, how much you spend on groceries monthly, and even logging the money you spend on eating out and buying your wants.
It also involves accounting for your income and benefits. Aside from your salary, do you have benefits you are receiving from the government, such as Social Security claims for disability, housing subsidies, Supplemental Security Income, and the like? Note these, too.
When you have a full picture of what is happening with your money every month, you are best positioned to make necessary changes for the better.
2. Cut down on debts and expenses
Your obsession with money could be coming from a place of desperation due to the accumulation of debt. It can steal away any satisfaction and happiness you have in your life, making you feel anxious and stressed whenever you have to pay off your debts. While there are necessary debts, such as your mortgage and insurance payments, try to minimize credit card debt.
You will also benefit from dialing it back on other expenses. Do you spend too much on takeout, clothes, or gadgets? Think about your purchasing tendencies and see where you may be lacking in self-control.
3. Automate your payments and deposits
An unnecessary source of stress is missing your dues and having to pay penalties for them. Rid yourself of those worries by setting up automatic payments for your utilities and other bills. It gives you one less thing to think about while making sure your priorities remain in check each month.
It isn’t just about your payments, too. Set up automatic deposits for your savings accounts, investments, and even the causes you are supporting. This gives you little room to compromise on the deposit amounts you’ve decided on, which helps keep your money in its proper place.
4. Find free ways to enjoy yourself
Along with adopting wiser money practices, learn to find inexpensive ways to do things you love. When you learn to enjoy yourself without spending money, you realize that it really does not take a lot of money to have a good time and make new memories.
Activities, such as taking a walk in your neighborhood or reading a book in a public park, are already good, small ways you can enjoy yourself. The challenge to find free entertainment also allows you to discover your home’s and community’s many free offerings.
You do not have to follow this strict rule every time you want to do things for leisure, but it helps maximize these options and not be completely reliant on paid services to unwind.
5. Verbalize your gratitude
The best weapon against a fixation on money is gratitude. When you let money control your life, you are in a constant state of discontentment. There is always not enough to make you comfortable and not enough to make you feel happy.
Gratitude allows you to recognize the pricelessness of the things you already have. Thus, letting you grow a deeper appreciation for your life and the many good things and people in it.
Express your gratitude for the blessings in your life and towards the people who are there for you. When you live gratefully, you live with contentment—free from the control that money threatens to have.