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Put Yourself Above Money: Part 1


Bills. Debt. Expenses.
I never liked those words.
Sure there are things like good debt, but the majority that rules this world is never welcomed. Don’t worry about the world for now. Worry about what is around you.

How are you doing with your finances?

Is it uncomfortable for you to answer that question? It’s alright, it’s the same for me too. I’ve had times where my money would be thinking for me. The (lack of) notes in my wallet made my decisions instead. It’s not a pretty sight.
Maybe you’ve experienced it too: not having enough money to hang out with your friends so often. Having trouble paying the bills.
Paying back the big D. That’s debt, in case anyone was thinking something else.
With a bit of planning and executing, I’ve organized my finances and I’m on my way to greater things. Money didn’t make my decisions, I did. It feels damn good.
I’m buying back my independence. Here’s how I am dealing with that.

Evaluate your expenses.

Why is your wallet so thin?
Rude question to ask, I know. If you could tell me where you’ve spent all your money the past month down to the last cent, I’d be very impressed.
If you can track where are you spending all that hard-earned cash from, you can start planning how to cut costs efficiently. We all like the sound of extra money, don’t we? It’s not exactly a sound per se (cha-ching!), but having more in your pockets is always a nice feeling.

What were your biggest expenses? Is it the loans you have to pay?

What were your biggest expenses? Is it that new phone that you just bought? Did you buy 5 rounds of drinks for everyone at the bar?
It’s great to have fun, but all things in moderation. We all need a little control in our lives.

Are they commitments?

There are some expenses that you just can’t control. These are commitments – you HAVE to pay them, no matter what. Food for the table, electricity bills, internet, etc. you had decided to go ahead with them as they had felt necessary.
Some are more important than others. Groceries help fill the house with food, that’s a given. Your internet, do you use all of it?

How would you cut/reduce/eliminate?

Can you afford to have less in the house for more in your pocket? You have to understand – the more buying power we have, the greater the responsibility in controlling it.
Having more buying power doesn’t mean that you SHOULD buy more. It means you CAN: what sets apart the rich from the poor, however, is their ability to live below their means with happiness.

Evaluate your earnings

9-5 plus overtime.
You have 3 meetings with clients, a business presentation and a project to finish by the end of next week.
You can imagine how much time and effort it would take to prepare for all this.
You start your preparation. You finished planning.
You blink. It’s next week.
Pitched went well, the clients are happy, and your project is completed. Everyone smiles. All this, at the cost of your health, more time spent at the office & more money spent on coffee to survive.
Was it worth it?
Were you happy doing it that way?
I’m not trying to dismiss working hard, we always need to put food on our table after all. But, for the amount of money you earn in suffering through all this, this question comes up quite often.
If you want to be above your money, you need to evaluate your income.

Your income was meant to serve your livelihood, not become it.

It sounds like something Obi-Wan would say, doesn’t it?
Ask yourself: was it worth it? The answer you’re most comfortable with, say it out loud. Not the answer your friends and family want to hear, YOUR answer.
Chances are, it’s the right one.

What’s your income goal?

Ever thought about measuring your time in dollars?
Overtime may not be worth it because you still get paid the same. If you’ve spent so many hours for the same amount of money, the only thing you’ve lost is time for yourself. To me, that isn’t healthy.

You can find other ways to support your livelihood on the side though. Another way to rephrase this question is: Should you diversify?
I was thinking of putting a hard yes and end it there. I value my time over my money. It’s better if you come to a decision yourself though. Instead, it’s better to just explain to you why yes is a viable answer (I’m biased like that).
Money is always going to be a problem. We work our asses off not to be rich, but to make sure it isn’t a problem anymore. That is success.
One of the ways to make this problem smaller is to not just earn more from the same job. It is to increase the ways at which you earn money. That, is diversifying.
The best part is that you can find ways to make money while you’re not doing anything. You just need to prep for it.
Here’s something to think about.
The richest in this world are rich because they’ve learned how to earn their living passively. They make the decisions, and they let the world do the work for them.
Get to it.

Evaluate your time

I wish we had Productivity classes in Highschool. Organizing, scheduling, work ethics. These help us express ourselves better. No one ever tells you the things you really need to know. You have to experience it yourself in the real world.
Enough of my rants, what have you been up to today? Facebook? Messenger? Saaame.
Another shooting? Terrible. Why you subject yourself to such horror, I still wonder until now.
Now, the question is:

What are you doing with your time?

I grew up wanting to be many things: An actor. A stuntman. A film-maker. A scientist. A polyglot. A competitive eater. I wanted to be everything.
I probably could reach for these now.
The difference is that now that I have a salary, and that I can gain my time back, I end up wasting it. Absorbing all the negativity in the world, drowning myself in social media feeds. It felt sickening. I had to control myself.
I ended up having more time to myself after carving out my daily dose of time-wasting. It felt good.
So, what are you doing with your time?
Wake up at 8AM? Write it down.
Breakfast or no breakfast? Write it down.
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram all daevery dayay? Write, it down.
You’ll see just how many seconds you’ve thrown away when it’s all on paper. It’s horrifying.

What is it that you could spend the time on instead?

I touched on dollars/hour above. It’s a framework that you can use to add more value to your time, if you so value it. A simpler version would be: What is it that you could spend your time on instead of messing around?
Have a goal? Go for it. Haven’t started? Plan for it.
Don’t have one? Don’t worry, your goal in life is to find it.

You will get there. It all starts with putting the phone down.
When you spend your time online, there is some sort of financial cost. There’s the concept of opportunity cost: that is, what you could have been doing and what are the financial implications of not pursuing it. Yes, it’s mostly related to money (and you know I talk a lot about money), but it can be applied to time too.

Your time is a currency, and you should be wary of it. Invest in your time.

When the time you’ve spent is more fulfilling, you will feel better about yourself. Money won’t control you.
When your time is more fulfilling, it’s not the money that set the direction for you: your happiness and contentment does.
Part II can be found here .
Meanwhile, you can take your time wondering why we are slaves to money here.