Accountability: Stay Accountable and Don’t be Your own Banker!

There is a popular saying that goes like this: don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Similarly so, don’t go window shopping on payday. These sayings are lessons on self-control, accountability, and support systems. If you want to achieve financial literacy and long- term financial freedom then you need to learn accountably, and how to set yourself up for success! This article (as part of a five-part introductory master class) will introduce you to these concepts and give you some much needed financial fundamentals.

What to Expect

Before we get into this please understand that this article will NOT give you more self-control or make you more accountable to yourself or others. If you can’t stop yourself from doing things that fall in the face of your best interests, then financial freedom is not for you. The point of this article is to help and give people resources they can use in their journey. Part of helping is level setting people’s expectations so they can come into this the right way. I want to make sure that the information presented here is fair and honest given its financial nature.

Keep Count of Yourself

With that out of the way let’s get to the first tenet of accountability: keeping count of yourself. That means learning where you are, where you want to be, and figuring out how you can achieve things realistically for you. The key words are “realistically for you”; it doesn’t matter if you want to save 20,000 in 5 years if you know you love throwing away your check at the racetracks.

 The first thing we have to do is take stock of yourself. Where are you in all aspects of your life that you want to see change? Where do you think you could be more responsible in these aspects? And how important is it for you to change your ways to arrive where you want to be? These questions will help put things in perspective so you can create a starting point.

Now that we have an idea of where you are and where you want to be, you need to level set and make a plausible plan to achieve that. This step is going to require you to be brutally honest, so if you are not ready to answer the following questions with brutal honesty, then come back when you are. The following questions should feel familiar if you read the previous article about budgeting:

  • How much money do you make a month?
  • How much money do you spend on necessities a month? ( utilities, transportation, food, rent)
  • How much do you spend on pleasures that matter a month? (hobbies, relationships, investments)
  • How much money do you throw away on nonsense a month? ( random garbage, clutter, or fast food)
  • How much money do you spend on addictions? ( thing, activity, substance)
  • Do you have any money after these things to save in a stable, reliable fashion? Why, or Why not?
  • How much do you have in a savings account or investment portfolio?
  • Are you in debt? If so how much? Was it avoidable with better judgment?
  • Did you previously have financial goals? If so how successfully have you achieved them?
  • How far are you willing to cut your quality of life to achieve any new financial goals? Why or Why not?

These questions are designed so that you will quickly be able to see if the math of your life is correct, or if it needs some major readjustments. The latter questions are designed to get your brain working on solving any potential problems you may have encountered now that you have everything on pen and paper. The problem with a lot of people is that they go through life without considering how their money flows as a part of the greater whole. The questions help you break up that pattern so you can go in a new direction.

Don’t be Your Own Banker

Now that you have your plan to achieve success, it’s time for trial and error! Don’t be ashamed if you fail the first or second time, bad habits take a lot of will power to change. As long as you remind yourself of where you want to go, and constantly make adjustments to accommodate your plan for you, you’re bound for success. Remember, it is better to start saving 5 dollars every week for a year and then going up to 10, then cutting drastically for 2 months and blowing what you saved because you’re frustrated.

Just make sure you’re always being real with yourself, if you know you could be saving more without sweating it then slim your expenses. Part of being real with yourself is the second tenet of accountability: Don’t be your own banker! This tenet is about self-control, recognizing when your self-control is being tested, and what to do about it.

If you have ever been to a bank you know that they would love nothing more than to give you a loan. From credit cards to home loans, they would love nothing more than to hand you a little bit of money to leverage a big interest rate. Just like the banks, when you are confronted with the want to spend money you may be tempted to “borrow” from your savings and become your own banker. This is a BIG NO NO!!! Once you start this you will not only be backsliding on your conviction and accountability, but you will also leverage your emotional interest if you don’t pay yourself back.

The modern world is modeled to constantly bombard you with urge to consume. It is your job to recognize when this is happening to a negative degree and figuring out what you need to do when it happens. Here’s a list of places it will happen and what to do when you feel the urge to buy:

  • Grocery Store: Go in with a list, spend as little time there as possible, and focus on ingredients instead of processed food.
  • Mall: Keep Amazon on standby, if you know something might be cheaper online, go home and check, by then the urge should have left you.
  • Online: Give it 24-48 hours if you still want it, go look at the reviews, see if you can get it cheaper elsewhere, if you still want it then buy it.
  • Gambling: Focus on the probability. If you can’t actually visualize the odds as people in a room, walk away, it’s not worth it.

Understand that these methods are all about giving yourself time to breath and process the impulses as what they are, impulses. The modern world takes advantage of catching the consumer of guard be it with flashing lights of vibrant colors. As long as you recognize this and plan for it, you give yourself a much needed buffer that will keep you with more peace of mind and more money on your pocket.

Support your dreams by Getting Support

So you made a plan, and you’re executing it but you need more help. That’s understandable. Part of learning and growing, is learning your strengths, and growing to cover your weaknesses. No man or woman is an island, the third and final tenet of accountability is support.  If you feel like you need help, there are several places you can turn to depending on your finances and social norms.

  • Grab a close family or friend who you can run your purchases through
  • Have someone you really trust keep money for you in the form of a bill you pay them every month
  • Have someone you trust keep your credit cards from easy access
  • Join or make a finance group on Facebook or other socials where you can share your progress or fallbacks.
  • Hire a financial advisor
  • Create an account that pulls money from your check before it hits your account.

The most important part of these support systems is trust. Only construct these systems with someone you trust and keep a watchful eye as well. As long as those you choose are trust worthy they’ll be able to help you keep yourself accountable even when you slip.

Conclusion

        In conclusion, accountability is one of the most important things you can learn, and practice in your journey to financial freedom. Only by being brutally honest with yourself, setting realistic expectations, and creating systems to maintain control can you stay accountable day to day. Make sure to make adjustments to keep your plans tailored to your evolving needs and goals. And above all else make sure to not become your own banker!

Was this article helpful? Was it insightful or did it give you some new ideas? If it did please bookmark this page whenever you need a refresher and consider reading our other articles for more motivation, inspiration, and all the things in between! Also consider letting us know what you thought of the article on our socials Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Remember, Create Boldly…because you Matter!

Ready to continue? Please visit this next article to learn some dos and don’ts about debt, credit, and where to start!

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