Anytime you suggest someone start budgeting, you’re likely to get push back. That push back is partly because, well, obviously budgeting sucks. And frankly, budgeting is a pain in the butt. But the many layers of the onion ultimately lead to the reason that people really hate budgeting. Freedom. Nothing feels more suffocating and captive as restricting your spending. So, what do we do about it? Well, I would like to propose that financial discipline is actually financial freedom. Here’s why.
We simply have two choices.
If you boil it all down and cut to the chase. We all have just two choices. First, we can continue living an undisciplined life with money and spend anytime we feel the urge. Or, we can decide to be disciplined with our money and win our freedom from money.
Let me throw something at you and see how it feels.
Consider for a moment, that money is either our slave or we are it’s slave. There’s really no in between. We either work our butts off for money, or money works it’s butt off for us.
When I put it like this, it’s obvious which side of that fence we want to be on. So why is it that most of us are working our butts off for money and not the other way around?
The Answer is Discipline
Not to be overly simplistic here, but it’s an extremely simple answer. If we aren’t disciplined with our money, we can never be its master. It will always be our master. How do you know if money is your master?
Ask yourself a simple question: At the end of each month, after you’ve been paid and you’ve paid everyone else (everyone else being the grocer, tax man, landlord, lenders, gas stations, restaurant owners, utilities providers, etc), how much is left over? How much do you pay yourself for working your butt off all month?
There’s a ton of people who’s true answer would be nothing. I have family members that spend every single dime they make each month and by doing so pay themselves nothing. Does it sound like money is their slave, or them it’s slave?
How to Have Financial Discipline?
Financial discipline is financial freedom. It really is. But what does it mean to have financial discipline? How can we practice it?
Building wealth really isn’t complicated. Most millionaires are simple people who’ve worked simple jobs and lived simple lives. They aren’t special. They didn’t hit the lottery or inherit a big chunk from dead relatives. Nope, they simply practiced financial discipline. So what is financial discipline?
Financial discipline is having the self control to delay our gratification. It means paying ourselves FIRST, not last. Not with what’s left over after our impulses and desires have been met. Financial discipline means caring enough to automate our savings/investing. Automate our giving and donations to charity. Buy things we can afford and don’t go into debt for every car, home, phone, or vacation that “we deserve”.
Financial discipline happens when we truly believe that discipline today will unlock freedom tomorrow. Freedom from the slavery of money.
If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It.
Let me be clear, I am not saying that financial discipline is easy. I’m just saying it’s simple. If building wealth and freeing ourselves from the slavery of money was easy, we would all do it. But we don’t. Most of us will work for our entire lives wondering why we never got ahead. But it’s not for complexity that we get stuck in this rut. It’s for lack of discipline.
This article wasn’t as practical as I like to be. This felt more “rant-like” and I apologize for that. But for those who have seen the movie Inception, a change in our way of thinking about money can manifest it’s way through our lives to change our spending and saving habits at our core. And that’s what I am hoping to accomplish here.
Ask yourself this question, “Am I slave to money, or is money a slave to me?”
The only thing that stands between us and liberation from a lifetime of living paycheck to paycheck is the discipline to get in control of our spending and decide that we care more about paying ourselves than we do about paying the BMW dealer, or Apple, or our landlord.
I speak at length about ideas to save more money here.
And I talk about what to do with the money we pay ourselves here.
I write because I care. And I love this stuff. And I want others to have the power and knowledge to free themselves from money if they really want to. But ultimately no one can do it for you. You have to do it for yourself.
So… What’s the move?