Did you start your own business and find you’re left with a lot less in your pocket than you anticipated? Stressed over finances? You’re not alone.

The total debt of American non-financial corporations as a percentage of GDP has reached a record high of 73.3%. The Economist

The trend trickles down into households. Americans have racked up another astounding spending record.

For the 28th month in a row, ZeroHedge reports Americans continue to spend more than they make.

The reality? “One in 4 Americans does not have any emergency savings,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst. “Talk about living paycheck to paycheck.”

MONEY IN. MONEY OUT.

I think of money the same way I do about calories. Calories in. Calories out. A healthy balance keeps me on my game.
But, if I choose to binge with a spending spree, a domino effect comes into play. It sets off my entire budget requiring me to “exercise” my financial muscle to get back on track.
Like a diet, my team helps our clients stay on course with a guided budget.
I recently blogged about how I keep organized during the week. With a family of seven, and a business to run, finances certainly factor into those plans.

WHY AMERICANS SPEND MORE THAN THEY MAKE

Did you know that donated clothing usually gets tossed in landfills racking up $12.8 million tons of American textile waste? “We need to slow things down and become more aware of the negative impacts of our actions. That does not mean taking the fun out of buying clothes. It just means becoming less impulsive in our shopping habits and thinking twice before paying $4.99 for another cheap top to add to our already cluttered closets.”

Credit cards. Auto debt. Student loans. The debt crisis is a ballooning problem.

Financial Samurai suspects the reason Americans waste so much money is multi-faceted. Self-esteem. Desire. Keeping up with others. Lack of knowledge. And easy credit.

“In short: Americans have a YOLO [you only live once] problem. Our obsession with the immediate clouds our judgment of the future, allowing us to justify irrational expenditures by ignoring their long-term impact.” Mel Magazine

CREATING YOUR FUTURE BY CHANGING YOUR PRESENT

I ask my clients, “Where do you want to be in five, ten, twenty years from now?” If you see yourself financially stable, even retired, then take a look at what you presently value.
  • How much do you make each month?
  • How much do you spend each month?
  • Do you have unnecessary debt?
“Most people don’t track their expenses. But if they did, they’d be shocked at how much money they waste on stuff like eating out.” Inc.com
I really like the idea of bartering with collaborating businesses when possible. From lowering your office space costs to switching to the cloud for business computing, The Balance – Small Business has another 10 great tips. “Some people find it embarrassing to ask for discounts. Don’t be – many businesses will offer discounts on products and services to other businesses. Just remember that you may need to reciprocate at some point!”

JAMIE’S TWO CENTS

You have complete control over the choices you make. If you’re spending money to fill a void or impress others, stop. You CAN say “no” to anything wasting your time and money.
The overall solution is NOT to spend more. Don’t add to your debt. Just STOP doing the things stealing your paycheck… and future dreams.
We know just saying stop doesn’t solve the problem. This can be a tough obstacle to tackle. If you can’t do this alone, get help! It can be done with intentional effort and the right resources.