The truth is, individuals are often afraid of the word discipline. Age does not matter. If you ask a child which teacher they fear the most, they will tell you – the teacher who expects the maximum amount of discipline from them and if you ask an adult what really frustrates them, they might say the gym because again it requires a huge commitment. But, what if we look at discipline in a different light altogether? What if discipline could be the very reason you are contented in life? People immediately presume they must follow a set of rules and are under the control of someone or something. While it is not necessarily wrong to think in this direction, it is wrong to let the discipline aspect drive you in the right direction in fear. Finance is a slippery slope, a hush-hush, under-the-radar conversation for most people. But it doesn’t have to be that way; talking about finances with your friends and family can help you figure out how to implement much-needed financial discipline. Here are some of the most important ways to discipline yourself financially.
- You should restrict your spending and not go bananas – In spite of being aware of one’s limitations, sometimes we go overboard. The very first step to financial discipline would be to curb your expenses. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, you can choose to cut back on your luxuries completely and let yourself enjoy them occasionally, or you could be a meticulous budget planner. What matters is the feeling of awareness, a simple thought that stops you from spending that one extra rupee. Financial freedom is your ultimate goal, and it is rightly said never to lose sight of the goal.
- Your BFF is your emergency fund – Most people assume an emergency fund means having money stocked away for a medical emergency, but that’s not it, it is so much more than that. It is having money saved up for absolutely anything that could put you in a tight spot- it could be a sudden relocation or an urgent requirement for the household or family. The rainy day could be next week or in the next year but be prepared for it will help you and the fund will turn out to be the best friend you ever had.
- Say goodbye to credit card debt- It’s all fun and games until your credit card bill mail turns up on your phone and your doorstep. It’s easy to lose track of these things in everyday life and keep ignoring them because there is a situation more pressing at the moment that probably requires you to use the credit card debt yet again. But, remember, the worst thing to happen is to not enjoy the privilege of having financial liberty. So, say goodbye to credit card debt. Pay off your bills, and automate them if you have to, but don’t let them hold you back or chain you to the ground.
- You should be aware and confident about your financial dreams and goals – Asking yourself a question like; “What is my financial goal?” can be too loaded and scary. But, thinking of it over days and jotting down thoughts and feelings can really help. The first step while doing this exercise would be to not judge yourself for the goals you come up with. The sky is your limit the first time, and then you can slowly use logic and reasoning to see what is truly achievable. Don’t forget to segregate your goals into- short-term, medium, and long-term. This could look like a new appliance, an upgraded version of a car, and your child’s marriage respectively. You can then work towards it. These very goals could be the reason why you wake up excitedly in the morning- to live the life of your dreams.
- Patience is always the answer – People find it difficult to wait for results; they want everything instantly, at the click of a button, at the snap of a finger, and this is often how they treat their money. Discipline, on the other hand, is something that takes years of patience and dedication to master. People who keep this in mind and remind themselves of it can live in peace and focus on the big picture. It’s easier said than done, but that’s when you remind yourself that Rome or the Taj Mahal were not built in a day or the time when you learned swimming or driving- it will all come together slowly.
Overall, financial discipline can be life-changing, and only you can decide which side of the table you want to be on, the one that is progressing or the one that is nearly in ruins. It may appear difficult, but all you have to do is try it once, just once, fearlessly. There is a world out there waiting for you to explore, and it can begin tomorrow. So, do this, for you.