Getting control of your finances: You have to be willing to put in the effort!

I have a few friends, who will remain nameless, who always say things like:

  • "I wish I could save more money"
  • "I spend too much on ________"
  • "I need to open a savings account"
And many more similar items I hear. They all have one thing in common: These are empty statements that they never do anything about. They are always running out of money before the next paycheck and are probably behind on their bills.

The source of the problem: They do not track their money in any way. Most of them spend without thought and just log into online banking once in a while so see if they are overdrawn. I cringe every time I hear about when they are overdrawn or have 47 cents left with 10 days until payday.

The issue is that either they don't care enough to track their money or lazy or simply do not know how. I am not sure which is the case with my friends but frankly it doesn't matter. It bothers me to see them like this as I cannot even fathom being like that myself. I am a very conscious spender and know where I stand at all times.

The bottom line is that in order to get ahead you have to put in time and effort to actively track your spending. Every day. No exceptions. You have to budget your money and know when to stop. Some of my friends were laid off, fell way behind, and still struggle even with new jobs. They easily make twice what I make and have nothing to show for it. I have tried to convince them to change their ways but it falls on deaf ears.

This is partly the fault of our education system. I personally believe that everyone should have a mandatory personal finance class in high school and/or college. I did it as an elective and learned a lot more than I imagined!