Spring isn’t just a time for cleaning and allergy flare-ups. If you’re like most Americans, the beginning of April also triggers money woes. As the weather warms up and everyone seems to come out of hibernation, navigating the sudden onslaught of invites to outdoor happy hours, weekend getaways, and fancy picnic lunches can produce a lot of financial anxiety. And on top of those fun but stressful social opportunities, don’t forget that your income taxes need to be filed by April 17th. If you owe money back to the government, it can really put a damper on your summer vacation planning, not to mention your day to day spending habits. But what if, instead of fearing the tax deadline, feeling bewildered by all those pesky W-2 forms, and guilting yourself over your spending habits, you learned to really respect yourself and your money? In 9 Steps To Financial Freedom, the financial powerhouse and New York Times bestselling author Suze Orman explains her revolutionary yet simple concept: you are worth more than your money—and she shares how you can start to practice that freeing maxim today.
An important first step to taking more responsibility for your money is to take stock of your habits, and evaluate situations when you aren’t maximizing how far your hard-earned dollars can go. When you put observation of your own actions into practice, you’re more apt to spot situations that cause you to overspend, or under spend, or to overlook financial opportunities you should be capitalizing on. Start by writing down all the ways you are both respectful and disrespectful with your money. Some questions Suze suggests to get you started:
- Do you spend more money on your friends than you can afford to? Why?
- Will you spend money on others but never a penny on yourself? Why?
- Have you ever bought a dress or suit and decided when you got it home, that it really didn’t suit you, and then neglected to return it to the store in time to get your money back? Why?
- Do you borrow things from friends and fail to return them? Why?
- Do you put away as much money as you possibly can for retirement each year? Why not?
- Do you often go out to dinner simply because you don’t feel like cooking? At what cost over time? Why?
Take stock of your answers to these questions, and reflect on the reasons you might be mistreating yourself through your finances. Being respectful of your money, and honest about your habits, isn’t an immediate skill, but it is something you can learn over time. As Suze points out, when you start to really respect yourself, really respect those you love who are affected by your finances, and really respect your money, you start to have control over your money. There’s no better feeling than to know that you hold the power over your finances, especially when Spring changes can have you stressed and second guessing yourself. Decide for yourself to make this season your most financial conscious one yet!
Learn more about Suze Orman here