From master to servant: how to take control of your money

Money can be both a master and a servant in our lives, depending on how we choose to approach it. As P.T. Barnum once said, “Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.” Let’s explore what this means and how we can ensure that money serves us rather than the other way around.

Money as a master can be a daunting prospect. It can feel like we are constantly at its mercy, always struggling to make ends meet and never feeling like we have enough. When money is our master, we may find ourselves paying late fees and overdraft charges, overspending, and feeling constant stress about money. It can be a never-ending cycle of worry and anxiety that leaves us feeling drained and overwhelmed.

On the other hand, when we view money as a servant or tool, we regain our control. We choose what we do with our money and how we feel about it. We are intentional about our spending and saving habits, balancing short-term enjoyment with long-term stability. We make decisions based on our values and goals rather than allowing money to dictate our choices. This can lead to a sense of peace and security around money, which can be incredibly freeing.

So how can we ensure that money serves us rather than becoming our master?

Define your values and goals: Understanding what is important to you and what you want to achieve can help you make intentional decisions about how you use your money. Take time to think about your values and how you want your life to look.

Create a budget: Whilst so many people try to avoid this, a budget can help you take control of your finances and ensure that you are living within your means. By tracking your income and expenses, you can make sure that you are spending money on the most important things to you.

Establish an emergency fund: An emergency fund provides a profound sense of security and peace of mind. This fund can help you cover unexpected expenses without going into debt or costing you your other financial goals.

It’s not a straight road ahead. There will be times when money stress creeps back in, even when we’ve put our plans in place. Life keeps us on our toes, so be kind to yourself if you find yourself slipping away from your budget, or losing sight of your deeper values. Simply knowing that you have a plan to align with, values to guide you and people around you to support and celebrate with empowers you to easily regain your focus so that your money serves you rather than the other way around.

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