Financial discipline is something that very few people have consistently. Everyone occasionally decides to do the right thing with money but it’s not about the times you do what’s smart when the time you do something wrong is more costly than all your successes. It’s a mistake I see all too often. Being financially disciplined is not easy. Even if you think that you are, you might have to consider the common points that don’t always get taught in school.
Deal with the BIG Stuff
Deciding to bring in a bag lunch for work is great it can save you five or ten dollars a day compared to going to a restaurant. Where people get into trouble is usually not those small expenses though. Bringing a bag lunch to work everyday could save you $3650 dollars a year. That is great. Unfortunately, one mistake can blow that savings away. Buying a new car instead of a used can cost you $3000 the day you drive the car off the lot. One mistake can completely ruin a financially disciplined persons savings. We often worry about the pennies when what should concern us is the major expenses. Spending the extra effort to save a few hundred dollars a year is often not worth it. It would be better to spend that time saving you thousands.
Do what YOU can do
Financial discipline is not consistently trying to do the unrealistic. I hear about people having revelations all the time. They say there done spending money on stupid things. Though well intentioned they completely remove everything fun and costly out of their life. Six months later they completely return to their old habits. It’s often more effective to make small changes incrementally. Financial discipline has to be sustainable. Don’t cut out a weekly night out with your family for financial reasons if it helps keep the family together. Just make up for it by doing other smaller things that you can do forever.
Don't Let Money Waste Away
Financial discipline is also not socking away your money in a savings account. A savings account will just decrease in value with depreciation. As much money as possible should be in higher yield areas. They don’t need to be in anything remotely risky either. Use cd’s if you’re really uncomfortable with it. Just make sure not to let your money waste away while you’re trying to save it up.
Financial discipline can be developed. It takes time and a laser focus. It needs to be a priority until you get the hang of it. You just have to remember to worry about the dollars and not the pennies. You need to ensure that what you’re doing is sustainable for you. This is often a personal question. Last, you shouldn’t be letting your money (more than a small savings) waste away in a savings account. You will achieve your goals if you work for them consistently. Your financial discipline is build the same way. You will make mistakes. Just figure it out eventually and do your best not to repeat them.