Get Fiscally Fit

Everyday Cheapskate

Everyday Cheapskate 47

We all know about getting physically fit:
Participate in aerobic exercise; do some weight training; walk whenever you can.
But how much do you know about getting fiscally fit?
It’s not difficult, but it does require a plan.

RECORD YOUR SPENDING. Sounds like a silly instruction, especially if you feel overwhelmed and under-deposited. Nonetheless, if you begin keeping a written record of every expenditure, I can promise you a couple of things: 1) You’ll hesitate before making silly, impulsive purchases. 2) You’ll start taking back control once you see where all of your money goes.

GIVE BACK. I know. You’re broke. You have mountains of debt and some idiot is suggesting you give money away. That’s right (except for the “idiot” part). Giving is a mysterious, miraculous activity that, when practiced regularly, will transform your life. Giving away part of what you have is the antidote for that wretched trend toward excess and self-indulgence.

PAY YOURSELF. Ideally, you should pay yourself 10 percent of what you earn. If you can’t do 10 percent, start with something. Even if it’s a dollar a week, start saving. Even if you are heavily in debt, start saving. Saving money is a great attitude-booster. If you’re discouraged and down in the dumps, start saving money.

DON’T SPEND WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE. There are only two ways to spend what you don’t have: Steal or borrow. If too much of the latter has landed you in financial bondage, there is a way to get out.

STOP DEBTING. Just stop. Determine from this moment on you will not go one more dollar into debt. You may need to part with some credit cards and even shed a few tears, but you can stop. No one can force you any further into debt.

REDUCE EXPENSES. If your income is less than your outgo, reduce the outgo. There’s no better way to make money than to cut expenses. The results are immediate, and the proceeds are tax-free.

RAPIDLY REPAY DEBT. If you continue paying your creditors according to their payment schedule, you may never get out of “perma-debt.” Prepaying principal and incurring no new debt are the keys to rapid debt reduction.
See Rapid Debt-Repayment Plan at

SELL ASSETS. With careful consideration, selling assets to raise funds to get out of debt may be a wise choice. If you own things of value that aren’t useful to you, or that could be replaced at a later date, selling them could ease your financial situation.

SEEK SOLVENCY. Solvency means being content with the money you have. It’s that confident feeling of being prepared for any circumstance, of having joy and peace—of living beneath your means.

If you are approaching the future determined to get rich quick so you can fix your situation, I have bad news for you: Unless you are destitute and below the poverty line, more money is not going to fix anything. Until you learn how to control and care for the money you have already, more money will only exacerbate the problem. Just as you have in the past, you will see more money as the down payment on what you feel entitled to have.

There you go: a foolproof financial fitness formula that you can take to the bank!

Would you like more information? Log on to, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of Debt-Proof Living, released in 2014.

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