Are you guilty of dipping into your savings account to purchase shoes and clothes which are “on sale”? Or, do you find yourself borrowing money and never paying it back? You’re not the only one. Thousands of people across the nation compromise their financial integrity. They do it every month when they don’t pay the full amount of their credit card bills.
What is financial integrity? It is honoring the promises you make to others and yourself concerning financial matters. However, what happens when you compromise, or back away from your promises? You become less trustworthy not only in the eyes of others but also yourself. With every attempt to save money, you will always think and operate from a place of a defeated position: “If I save money, I know I will spend it. What’s the point?” A lack of self-control is also a poor excuse. If you don’t change this mindset, no matter what you do, you will not experience the financial integrity that leads to financial freedom.
Below are a few steps you can start today to build and maintain financial integrity.
1. Learn how to manage your money.
Many people think if they have $1 million dollars, most of their problems will go away. This is absolutely false. Yes, money can afford you better things in life, but it can’t buy happiness, love, joy, etc. People ask for $1 million, but they can’t even handle $100.
Here’s an exercise: If you were given $100 right now, what’s the first thing you will do with it?
My point exactly.
You must learn how to manage $100 if you can be trusted with $1 million. Never let money control you. Never be a slave to it. You must get to a place of efficiency where you are able to direct every cent that comes your way. Every dollar can be directed towards one of three categories: 1) Save; 2) Spend; or, 3) Invest.
2. Don’t be pressured to give.
Yes, I said it. And, I will say it again: “Don’t be pressured to give your money away.” During the holidays, you will be bombarded with sales and campaigns, i.e. Cyber Monday. Black Friday, Giving Tuesday, etc. Wherever you turn, there will be someone who will solicit money. If you’re just starting to build wealth, you will feel guilty about not giving to causes, etc. Yes, it’s okay to give to the charities of your choice, but never feel pressured to do so. You will only hold resentment and grudges. It absolutely makes no sense to write a check to a charity when you know your bank account will go into overdraft. If you love to give, budget for it.
3. Don’t ignore your finances.
You must be vigilant when it comes to your bank accounts. Check it every day – in the morning and at night. Unexpected fees and charges may pop up like foxes, ravaging your account to zero. Know when and where your money is coming and going.Here’s a question: Do you know how much assets you have? If you don’t know the answer, you’re at a vulnerable place. Knowledge is power, and knowing your financial position gives you a better understanding of what you need to do to get a place of financial integrity.
4. Don’t be afraid of saving.
When you save money, you are not giving it away. You still have access to it. However, you are giving away the “right” to spend it. Saving money is not about having willpower, it’s all about trust. Can you trust yourself to not spend the money allocated for savings?
5. Trust yourself.
Trust is never given but earned. This applies not only to others but also yourself. In order to trust yourself, you need to build trust. Start small. Here’s an exercise: Designate a twenty-dollar bill in your wallet, and tell yourself that you will not spend it for a week no matter what happens (i.e. a sale, an afternoon snack, etc.) Again, remember the money is yours. It’s not going anywhere. Try this exercise for another week.
It takes time to build trust. As you do this exercise, you will build trust with yourself. You will be able to stand from a place of integrity. Once you begin to trust yourself, you will start building the kind of wealth you deserve.