“Pay Yourself First“…this is a vital ingredient in the recipe to gain financial freedom, state many of the most respected authors on the subject – Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, & Elisabeth Donati, to name my 3 favorites. To those of us whose income fails to accomplish all we need it to in the month anyway, paying ourselves at all, let alone first, simply adds to the pile of bills we are already struggling to meet.
“Can I pay myself first by going to the grocery store on the first day of the month?” I wondered only partly in jest.
“If I pay myself first, where do I take that money from?”
If you pay your expenses first any money that might be available to save gets spent–sometimes you know not where! Most of us don’t really know where our money goes, even if we track it by dutifully writing down all our purchases. I have done that for years and still I have been left wondering how I could have spent all that money. Everything I bought seemed so essential.
The idea behind paying yourself first is that if you find there is not enough to meet your expenses you will be forced to 1) Cut those expenses, or, better according to Kiyosaki, 2) Find a way to make up the shortfall. He claims that we become more creative when we are put in this situation.
I don’t know about you, but when I first read this my reaction was to scream, “How on earth am I supposed to create more money in a month? Jobs don’t just appear like magic especially in this economy, and when do I have time for another job; I already have three!” All through my Creative Wealth training with Elisabeth in February, I whined about this, but I listened, and I kept reading. I knew that if I wanted to be financially free I had to be a different me.
The key is in a change of mindset. “What you think about you bring about” – so I started thinking differently.
First of all, I knew that if I was going to teach financial literacy I needed to educate myself around the topics I was going to be exploring with the students. Secondly, I knew that when the kids asked me what I was doing to become financially free, I could not and would not lie, and was not going to have to tell them “nothing…yet”. To be a great coach, I not only had to talk the talk, but I had to walk the walk.
I found some jars gathering dust in the garage, washed them, and began by putting just one dollar in each: Living, Financial Freedom, Savings, Education, Play, & Donation. This was liberating! My jars now proudly boast over $25 each in less than a month. Not bad for someone with way more month than money!
BUT, I hear you cry, how did you pay your bills?
That’s the next part of the story…first start your jars.