Managing Money Reminds Me of Using Floss

Only forty years ago, flossing was a choice few made. It was inconvenient, it looked funny doing it and you weren’t really sure what difference it would make. Today most people floss and the difference it makes has changed the dental industry from cavity to cosmetic technicians from fixing to enhancing.

Now how does this analogy apply to money? Like your teeth have to be managed to prevent them from falling out or rotting, money has to be managed to be optimally used. Like the flossing holdouts who wonder why have gum line decay, you can holdout on productive money behaviors by spending or hoarding what you have. As brushing teeth isn’t enough, not dealing with your money isn’t enough…not for the long term.

Money reacts to the habits and behaviors of the user. It doesn’t come with a user’s manual. However there are systems and tools that can work for you. You have to make the switch from not using them to using them, just like switching from not using floss to using it.

The best system for money is a management system. Let’s look at the word: “manage.” It comes from the Italian meaning to control or handle. You have to learn to control or handle it. And what is the best tool for that? Uh, oh, here comes that word….budget. You need to budget But wait, before you stop reading let’s look at the origin of the world budget. It comes from a French word meaning leather pouch.

What does a leather pouch have to do with budgeting? Well, back “then, in the early 15th century, those who carried money, carried them in their pouches. Traders and explorers would not carry all their money with them; they would carry enough for their trading objectives. Thus, budgeting was a manner of allocation. It wasn’t meant to shackle the money carrier, but rather to provide money to trade and oversight over the amount of money they were carrying for food, lodging, and travel needs.

Budgeting is merely allocating your money to various places. You already know you can spend it. But what else needs to be done with money to make it a healthy tool?
• You must allocate money to saving. Save it for short (another “toy” you want,) mid (maintenance or obligations) or long term (upgrades or emergencies.)
• You must allocate it to investing such as real estate, the stock market, your business or your own growth.
• You must allocate money to donating to causes, organizations, institutions or those you know could benefit from your donation.
• You must earn money whether it’s by merit, entitlement or production. You must have access to money.

So budgeting means allocating your money resources to these areas: save, invest, donate, earn and spend.

Just like the early flossers thought it was inconvenient to floss, those who stuck with it learned that doing so not only saved their teeth, it also improved the health of their heart. It is the same with budgeting your money. Remember, the origin of the word budget is pouch, the carrying case for money. You wouldn’t travel with all your money. Budgeting is merely allocating.

Those who take the time to set up the system to make budgeting/allocating work for them find that they not only live more satisfying lives with their money, but learn how to become stewards of, authors to, and masters of their money.

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