Adjust your Attitude to adjust your Finances

Most of us have been brought up in the era and culture of rampant consumerism. We buy not only for need, but to satiate our appetites for the newest, the tastiest, the prettiest, the biggest and the best that we can get our hands on. And we must have these things before the Jones down the street, or it's all for naught. It's no wonder that consumer debt has created such a huge sinkhole under the flimsy fabric of our "comfortable" lives, a hole that continues to eat more and more of our precious financial resources.

What will it take to change this situation? You'll just have to make some serious adjustments. But take note: serious adjustments are not necessarily the same as big adjustments. A serious adjustment begins in your mind, with your attitude. Change your attitude – the way that you think about something – and the corresponding physical changes will not be nearly as difficult. As a matter of fact, the physical adjustments need not be large at all; remember, change the course of a ship by just one degree and over the course of time its destination will end up being hundreds or even thousands of miles away from its original target. Think about some of these small attitude adjustments that, over time, will make a big difference in your financial picture.

First, learn to be happy with what you've got. Try to redefine your definition of what success actually is. Look around you; take stock of your possessions (without regard to what others may have), and the richness of your life as a whole. Be appreciative of what you've been blessed with; it's probably more than you realize. Take more enjoyment in your family and relationships. And try to help others every chance that you get. These things will aid you in moving away from a materialistic attitude to something that's infinitely more fulfilling.

Next, live beneath your means; in other words, spend less than you make. Sounds simple, doesn't it? The credit culture has taught us to do exactly the opposite, for the express purposes of paying them every month instead of ourselves. You don't have to turn into Ebenezer Scrooge; just be wise in your spending and even wiser in your saving. Remember, the wealthy got that way by using this little technique.

Simplify your life. The less complexity that you have to deal with, the fewer expenses you're likely to have and the more money you'll have left over with which to invest. For instance, rather than buying and maintaining a vacation home, take small frequent vacations. Instead of having five dogs, four cats, eight hamsters and a pot-bellied pig, own just one dog and cat – you'll be able to shower them with more of your love. If you're used to going out to dinner five nights a week, cut it to once or twice. You don't have to give up the good life, just take smaller bites of it. You may even find that you relish it more.

Distinguish between your needs and your wants. Before spending your hard-earned money, first take care of your needs for food, clothing, and shelter. When that's done, it's okay to listen to your desires, but only with a wise and critical ear. Make careful, prudent choices about what you buy. Spend wisely; you'll be rewarded for it.

Finally, if you're having problems, don't be too afraid or proud to ask for assistance or advice. For example, the overwhelming majority of creditors really do want to help if given the chance. Whether you're drastically behind on your bills, or you simply need a helping hand in starting a workable budget, don't neglect to seek out others to assist you. Just remember, you're never alone; we're all in this together.

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