On Wednesday the 10th of September, my wife’s salary was transferred to our bank account. In the first 9 months of 2015, we earned more than in the whole 2014. To be accurate 6.6% more.
I attribute it all to the 60 dollars I saved in September 2012.
I bet you are a bit disoriented by that statement. I am still a bit stunned by how just 60 dollars could multiply into thousands of dollars.
This $60 made a breech in my money mindset. I came from a humble background. The communist Poland was a tough place to thrive in the first place and I came from a family of 8. My mother took care of the household and my father was the sole provider for the family. Money was never in abundance.
I was raised among factory workers. I met a successful businessman for the first time in my life during the Amway convention when I was 17. I tried MLM and failed; it was an additional nail to my money mindset coffin.
Abundance and I have never been in the same room since that time. At least not within the rooms in my head.
Change your thinking
It’s impossible to think about money differently from what your social environment taught you. You have no other points of reference. Your rescue may be some online relationships with wealthy people. You absorb ideas and attitudes by osmosis, and interacting with other people; that’s how people are created.
But one book, one seminar or one online program, is usually not enough to transform your mindset. It’s just a tiny trickle of data input and you have the ocean of data inputs around you which chant: “poverty, poverty, poverty!” When your neighbor is struggling to make ends meet, as well as your children’s teacher and your supervisor at work, you are overwhelmed by inputs that say that struggle is a default option. Abundance cannot even put its foot in your mind.
Personal philosophy about money
Your social environment shaped your philosophy about money. Your philosophy shaped your beliefs. Your beliefs shaped your actions. Your actions shaped your results. Your results reinforced your philosophy. The circle has closed. You are sentenced to struggle with money till your last breath.
Unless of course you don’t change something. The easiest way to change is changing your actions. Social environment changes in human life are only as a result of big personal or historical events. Personal philosophy or beliefs are extremely hard to change without some training and/ or appropriate experience. They are part of you and you usually don’t even realize the need to change them.
Bad money habits
My saving habits were the result of a scarcity mindset instilled in me during my childhood. When I got my salary, I protected it like an eagle protecting its nest. I scrutinized every dollar coming out of my pocket very carefully. I argued with my wife about every expense. It was hopeless. “Carnivores”—tax office, groceries, clothes, bills and mortgage—unavoidably ate my eggs one by one. If I was lucky at the end of the month one or two eggs (a hundred or two hundred dollars) were left. Only then did I transfer those precious resources to a saving account (and prepare for another money battle next month).
It was of course a sensible thing to do. We needed to eat. We had to pay our bills and credits. Those expenditures couldn’t wait. I couldn’t just print the money when some pressing need had materialized.
The story of the $60
Then I read “Start Over, Finish Rich” by David Bach. He argued for the ‘pay yourself first’ method of saving. Ridiculous. If I would have done that, how would I have paid the mortgage installment 20 days later? What a stupid idea.
However, this book’s message was a trickle of different input that temporary affected my money mindset. I decided to try it with less than 2.5% of our income. Just $60 dollars. It wasn’t the best time for experiments. In that month my wife lost her job. She had a long notice period, but we were going to be deprived of 25% of our income from January. We were a bit scared.
Results -> Philosophy
The act of saving this $60 changed my results. At the end of the month, I had $60 more on my saving accounts. We didn’t starve. All bills were paid. It worked. This result affected my money philosophy and beliefs about saving. I decided to push it a bit further.
In October I saved $180 and I put aside a bit more for recurring expenses, like the quarterly or yearly bills and taxes. In November, I saved $132. The small amount of $60 forever changed my attitude towards money. Since then I was the master and it was a slave. In 2013, the least monthly saving I put away was $162. My wife found a new job in July. For the first 3 months, she got just the minimal wage. Nevertheless we saved over $7,000 that year.
The change of attitude didn’t restrict itself just towards savings. I began to believe I could earn more, and that I am in charge of my value and my life. In 2013, I started a new career on the side and earned my first dollar online. In 2013, I was in the red; but by 2015, 26% of our income was generated through royalties from my books.
Many more positive things happened with our finances, but the point is, it all started with the meager $60.
If you don’t have relevant experience you need to start small, observe the results and let them affect your philosophy and money beliefs. If you are no entrepreneur and have no better idea than trading hours for dollars, coming up with a way to generate additional income is just beyond you. It doesn’t fit into your worldview. Starting a business in such circumstances is asking for a death kiss.
But you can save a part of your salary. Do it immediately after it comes to your bank account. If you spend everything every month or have only leftovers at the end of it, don’t go crazy about it. Use a tiny part of it: 1, 2, or 3%, don’t try to put away half of your salary.
Then just sit and watch
You won’t starve. Your bills will still be paid. You will have additional funds available.
Let it sink in and affect your mind. Let this skew your beliefs a bit. You will be ready for bolder actions and better results in the coming months.