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If you’re reading this article you’ve most likely experienced the sinking feeling of financial insufficiency at some point in your life, or you know someone who has. One of the most challenging parts of getting a grip on your finances is keeping track of where you’re actually spending all of your money. The recurring expenses are easy—rent, groceries, utilities—and are fairly easy to keep track of as you do your best to manage your money and the health of your financial goals.
You don’t have to be wealthy to have enough money to create wealth, but you do have to have one thing—awareness. You must be aware of where all of your money is going.
One of the most effective ways to create a positive financial change in your life and to escape the money trap is to manage the leaks. The leaks are simply defined as all the money you have that escapes from your savings or checking accounts unnecessarily. The leaks can range from a monthly subscription you may have forgotten to small purchases that are broadly categorized on a credit card (membership fees, restaurants, coffee purchases, etc.). The leaks can also come down to how much you pay in taxes.
I often tell people that it’s not so much about how much money you make as much as it’s about how much you keep that matters in creating real wealth. A lot of that has to do with saving strategies, most especially on taxes. There’s enough information on how to win the tax game that several books have been written on the topic. For the purposes of this article, however, let’s focus on where you can make the biggest impact right now – the small, seemingly insignificant expenditures (the leaks) that quickly add up—often enough to be a difference-maker in preventing you from creating wealth.
To manage the leaks, you first have to find them. That’s a bit easier said than done, but, rest assured, it can be done. In fact, if your goal is to create wealth of any kind, it simply must be done.
If you’re like most people, you quickly learned how to manage your money well enough to meet your basic monthly obligations. And, if you’re like most people, that’s where you stopped being as concerned about the health of your finances as you really should be. Here’s an example of what this looks like:
Get a job.
Make a living wage.
Find an affordable place to rent.
Pay the rent every month.
Pay the utilities.
Buy some groceries.
Spend any leftover money you may have on things you don’t keep track of and don’t really need.
Now let’s take a look at some ways you can better manage the leaks to create the kind of wealth that’ll make a difference in your life.
First, awareness is everything when it comes to your money and how it’s allocated among your needs and desires. The fact that you’re reading this article validates your awareness. So, congratulate yourself on getting this far.
Next, you must have a determined desire to change. No one cares about your money like you should. Without a determined desire to do whatever it takes to create wealth you will likely quit and fail. Quitting should never be an option when it comes to mastering your money.
Nothing ever happens without action. Fortunately, mastering your money doesn’t take a master’s degree, but it does take action. The good news is that even small actions produce results. When I started learning how to create wealth, I started with $25. Period. It was all I had…until I discovered the leaks.
When I told my mentor that I didn’t have $25, he showed me how to manage the leaks in my spending habits. He stressed to me the importance of being determined to discover the leaks and how important it was for me to act on my discoveries. When I convinced him that I was ready, willing, and determined to change, he agreed to help me. He actually helped me to discover that I had roughly a $125 per month leak that needed to be plugged. The leak came from various (and seemingly insignificant) things like a $10 membership fee I was no longer using, overpaying for car insurance to the tune of $50 every quarter, joining the crowd to eat out.
Once I became aware of the leaks, I took immediate action to change. In fact, I invested my first $25 based on the projected savings we discovered—a leap of huge leap of faith for me, but a commitment nonetheless. I’ll admit, that first $25 was the toughest money to part with. But the reality of it was that I wasn’t really parting with it at all.
The first lesson I learned by taking action was that, with every dollar I had set aside to create wealth, I was actually putting that money to work to create more money. This is where the magic of a money mindset comes to life. Once you understand how to make money work for you (instead of the other way around), you make an immediate shift in the direction of creating wealth!
Here’s to Your Best Life!
Ask anyone who has achieved any measurable level of success and they will likely tell you they had to find the courage to follow their convictions and to embrace the resolve to be different.
Being different separates you from most people. And, while that’s neither a good nor a bad thing, it’s still relevant. It’s relevant because most people have a tough time separating themselves from the wrong people—the influencers who don’t add value to the goals and objectives that personally define what success looks like. That takes courage.
Success, by most measures, is typically identified as the slow and steady progress toward a worthy goal. As vague as the definition may at first seem to be, one thing is certain—most of us clearly recognize success when we see it. We rarely see the struggle, but we always see the results.
We admire the results.
We envy the results.
We judge the results.
We do this because we have no idea whatsoever of the sacrifices and…the courage most successful people had to embrace to get where they are in life.
It’s all good though. Because most successful people don’t give a damn about what other people think. It’s what sets them apart. It’s what makes them…different. It's what makes them courageous.
What about you? Are you in pursuit of success? Are you following your convictions so strictly that you’re demonstrating the courage to be different? If so, you already know you’ve had to have to tap into your own source of courage in order to do whatever it takes to achieve and sustain your version of success.
When you follow your convictions, people notice. When people notice, your path becomes abundantly more evident to others (and certainly to you as well) because your success begins to take shape. When that happens, the seeds of your vision take hold and become firmly rooted in your convictions.
The decision to take the first step in your journey demonstrates your courage and is driven by the belief you have in yourself, your ideas, and your motivations. The results reflect a personal transformation, manifested by the courage to follow through and pursue your dreams.
One of my dreams was to be a published writer. I spent nearly three years writing my first manuscript. In order to accomplish that, I had to have the courage to be different. I had to become personally different if I were to have any hope of finishing my novel. Writing had to become the priority around which the rest of my life revolved. The decision to write was the easy part. The follow-through and consistency would challenge me from time-to-time. But my convictions and beliefs provided the motivation to push past temporary distractions in order to complete my goal of finishing my first novel. My rewards were always there, patiently waiting just beneath the surface of self-discovery. And those rewards were beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
I began to experience personal growth with each writing session. As an artist, I discovered that I had a gift of being able to see things through the eyes of my characters. Details sprang forth as I typed the words onto the page. I began to see storylines unfolding before me in settings I had never before seen nor imagined. Writing became a personally-satisfying, almost spiritual experience for me. I had, in essence, become a writer!
They say if you want to be a writer then you have to write. Sounds simple enough to apply to most anything I can imagine, really. If you want to be an artist, then you should probably pick a paintbrush or pencil and then have the courage to start painting or drawing. Want to be a musician? Pick up an instrument…you get the message. My point here is that, if you have a desire to do something new, refreshing, different, unique…then tap into the courage to acknowledge it and demonstrate the determination it’ll take to drive through the obstacles and distractions that will inevitably find their way into the path of your goal. You can do, be, have, or become anything in life, as long as you’re willing to demonstrate the courage it takes to be different.