Five Ways to Lose What Little Money You Have
That was the amount of my first paycheck. I was 16 years old, living in Nashville, TN and I might as well been residing in Malibu pulling a 7-digit income. I was on top of the world. As with 99% of all 16 year-olds, the money was burning a hole in my pocket. All of sudden that Blind Melon CD purchase was within my grasp! Instead of putting in $5 of gas, I was filling it up! Look out Wall Street, Josh Crowe was on the rise!
It was at this point that my dad entered the picture. He saw (and recognized) the green gleam in my eye and asked me to sit down. He said, “Son, I’m very happy that you’ve worked hard and made your first paycheck, but there are some things you need to know about money.” I then sat and listened to advice that is nearly as old as the earth itself. It was a defining moment in my life and I’m very thankful for it.
But as I walk around today as a 36-year-old married father of three young girls, I see that not everyone had the great advice my father bestowed on me. Seems they’re living by another set of ‘laws.’ So here (as best as I can see it) are the five ways to be sure you lose what little money you have:
1. Spend what you don’t have.
So you want to empty your bank account? Good! But don’t stop there! Spending money you don’t have is the best way to assure that you will remain in the red for as long as possible. See that new TV? Who cares if you don’t have $1,000 in your bank account. That balance means nothing when you pay with someone else’s money. And get this–they’re literally lining up to give you free cash! People are practically handing you their money to spend. I’m sure they don’t expect too much in return. (1. “The average household is paying a total of $6,658 in interest per year. This is 9% of the average household income ($75,591) being spent on interest alone.” https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-card-data/average-credit-card-debt-household/)
2. Do NOT budget.
Who knows the future? That’s right…NO ONE! Who can plan for every little expense? Once again, NO ONE! So why plan what you’re going to spend? Plus, if you waste your time by planning what to spend in advance, you won’t be able to pick up those steaks that just went on sale. So don’t plan….go on what feels right. When has that ever let you down?
3. Stay in the dark about your money situation:
There’s a monster under the bed. The good news is that if you ignore it, it will disappear. The monster of finances can’t harm you as long as you don’t stare directly at it, so the strategy is to completely ignore your current financial state. Stay the course and never, ever stop to assess where you are. This strategy takes many forms. Some of the most popular include immediately throwing away any and all receipts, deleting notices from your bank, hiding bills from your many debtors. Stay in the dark…it’s the safest place to be.
4. Hoard the money you have:
You worked hard for what you have. That’s why you should be extremely stingy with where you’re money goes. I’m not talking about spending, of course, but about giving. Why should you give? No one is giving to you! Make those churches, charities and friends in need rip that dollar bill out of your cold, dead hand. (2. “Giving was made for OUR benefit.” “If you can’t live off of 90% of your income, you can’t live off of 100%” http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/daves-advice-on-tithing-and-giving/)
5. Be a sheep:
Keeping up with the Joneses isn’t just a cool phrase. It’s a life goal. Just watch with envy as your best friend pulls up on his new motorcycle. Drive by your neighbor’s house one more time to admire his new boat. These things are motivators. They’re logs to put in the fire of your own spending. Getting behind in the rat race isn’t an option. Play to win and that means following the crowd to the finish line of financial ruin.
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5 thoughts on “Five Ways to Lose What Little Money You Have”
Josh, you explained to me that giving to charity is a recommended step for getting a lighter grip on your money. I’m not at all saying giving to charity is bad, I just don’t get how learning to be looser with your money will help you to keep from losing it. Could you explain that part a little bit more?
Ben, I believe there are two good things about giving:
1. Giving transforms our concept of money. When we grasp our money with the death grip of despair, we never escape the scarcity mentality. We’ll never have enough. When we give in spite of our poverty (and in relation to it,) we start to hold money lighter and feel its grasp on us loosen. It’s a focus issue.
2. As a Christian, we give out of obedience as well. I find it amazing that Jesus commended the widow’s mite because it showed her faith. When we give in spite of our poverty, we show our faith.
Good stuff. Learning to manage your money is very much the same as controlling your diet and/or exercising. It’s a learned behavior. We teach our children not to eat junk food so that it *feels* foreign to them and therefore they hopefully don’t fall into that lifestyle as an adult. Same goes for money. We all need to get used to the feeling of having the money in our bank accounts to buy that thing we *want*, but having the discipline to say “No, I’m going to wait.” Wait until when? Depends on your situation. Maybe you have needs that come first. Maybe you’ve already spent your discretionary budget this month. Maybe it will go on sale and the impulse buy is really what’s driving you. Whatever the case, it ultimately comes down to having *self-control.*. May God help us all!
Great points, Andrew! I would completely agree it’s a learned behavior (as is all self-control.)