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Money Management vs. Money Productivity

By Alisa Battaglia

Consumer appetites are man-made. Our competitive free enterprise system produces unlimited goods and services to stimulate our desire to want more convenience and luxuries. Careless and selfish uses cause us to live in financial bondage. When we sidestep the common sense of financial wellness, when we have lost self-restraint and self-discipline, and have attained an addictive attitude of spending as if there were a bottomless pit, we enter economic slavery. If we think we need designer clothes, a larger home with a three-car garage with the newest car, a recreational vehicle parked next to it, extra large TV sets all with VCRs, and the latest model computer, then we caught up in the conditioning of instant gratification. Often these items of desire are purchased with borrowed money, and without giving any thought to providing for future needs. The result of all this instant gratification is overloaded bankruptcy courts and families that are far too preoccupied with their financial burdens to look beyond survival.

Financial wellness is about moving out of and beyond economic slavery. It requires us to examine our feelings about money--its perceived value to its actual value so that we may reshape the way we feel. Once we examine our emotionally based perceptions in more detail behind the reasons why we buy things, we find that currency is about the personal value we place on it. Take out the emotional component and we can perceive that currency is simply an exchange of energy.

For those who feel they could manage their money in better ways read about Money Management, checkpoints for getting out of debtand recommended reading.

How important are money management and finances in partnerships and family affairs? Tremendously! Some professional counselors indicate that four out of five families are strapped with serious money problems. The American Bar Association recently indicated that 89 percent of all divorces could be traced to quarrels, clashes and accusations over money. These marriage tragedies are not caused simply by lack of money, but rather by the mismanagement of personal finances. Peace, contentment, love, and security in the home are not possible when financial anxiety and bickering prevails. When couples share financial responsibilities through engaging in open communication, determining reasonable expectations and limits, cooperating in the budgeting process, and eliminating and avoiding debt, they can become free from the devastating debt trap and enjoy greater peace of mind and harmony in their homes.

Money management should take precedence over money productivity. It is wise to take a look at a prospective partner’s money management sense. In the home, money management between two the partners should be on a partnership basis, with both sharing a voice in decision and home policy making. If there are children that reach the age of accountability, they, too, should be involved in money concerns on a limited partnership basis. Family unity comes from saving together for a common, jointly approved purpose. Money management skills should be learned together in a spirit of cooperation and love on a continuing basis.

Once the stranglehold of excessive debt is loosened and eliminated, life brightens, homes become more harmonious, and families are freed from financial bondage and thus more able to focus on truly important concerns.

So, how do we get out of economic slavery in a monetary system that controls everything? What steps can be taken immediately that would begin the process of reducing debt, increasing savings and living more simply? Take a look below: Agree to Budget and Solutions for Surviving the Economic Downfall of America

Agree to Budget & Live Differently

Acquiring information and advice about how to manage or invest our money is easy. The trick is to act on the information, to do something that improves your life and the lives of those you love. That's what wielding the energy of money is all about. ~Maria Nemeth

Budgeting is a plan that helps people make the best use of their income and savings.

Distinguish between wants and needs. Realistic, workable budgets result when couples agree to provide carefully for their needs and to exercise self-discipline and patience as they seek to provide for some of their wants.

Most families can reduce some of their expenditures with a little resourcefulness and accountability. Begin budgeting by listing all expenditures from several previous months. Determine where the money went and which expenditures were unnecessary and which were necessary. Then decide what you can do yourself like: washing & ironing clothes instead of using a dry cleaner, growing your own food to offset rising food prices & GMO pesticide foods, install solar panels, efficent appliances, and rain barrels to water plants, plant shrubs to keep home cool and convert lawn and landscaping using xeriscaping.

Budget for other set expenses, such as rent or mortgage, utilities, food, clothing, debt reduction, and transportation. By carefully analyzing past months’ spending, you can obtain a realistic idea of how much to allot for each item. When buying clothes, get rid of old clothes that don't fit or are worn and donate or sell them at a second hand store. Don't accumulate!!!

Pay yourself first! Put money aside in a savings program after necessary expenses have been budgeted. Starting both a short-and long-term savings program can help you meet unplanned emergencies as well as provide for future major expenses.

Budgets should be flexible, if not they usually fail. Allot personal spending money that need not be accounted for.

Take into account affordable recreation and allow for some spontaneity- the unplanned diversions or for items that are a part of joyful living.

Use a regular portion of income to prepare for future needs.

The following four checkpoints can help determine the get-out-of-debt progress:

Checkpoint 1: Commit to live on less than you earn and budget money for debt elimination and savings.
Goal: create a detailed plan for debt reduction, writing down target dates for compliance.

Checkpoint 2: Implement your debt elimination plan while continuing to live on a controlled budget. One method involves taking money that has already been budgeted for paying off debt and committing not to use that money for any other purpose until all debt is paid off, and also agreeing not to acquire any new debt. Double the payment of the smallest loan in order to speed up payback. When the smallest debt is paid off, apply that payment to the next largest debt until it is paid off; then continue on until every debt is paid in full. Goal: Accumulate savings and pay off all debt at this point with the exception of a home mortgage.

Checkpoint 3: Continue living on a controlled budget and, if it will not burden your family financially or in any other adverse way, begin working toward elimination of the house mortgage. Doing so can save you thousands of dollars in interest charges on your mortgage. There are several ways you can approach this goal without going to extremes, such as taking on extra jobs. Implementing any system will help speed up the process of becoming a debt-free home owner. Ultimate goal: Become completely debt free, including the mortgage.

Checkpoint 4: Continue living on a controlled budget, acquire no new debt, and begin acceleration of savings and retirement programs. Goal: acquire sufficient retirement savings and remain free of any debt.


Alisa Battaglia © 2013
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