7 Habits that will help you take control of your life.

If you are tired of living week to week, of having your phone regularly cut off or having to make excuses to skip dinners with your friends if the money has run out before the end of the month then you can use the seven habits of highly effective people to take control of your money situation and live a more frugal lifestyle, and a happier one.

Habit One: Be Proactive
Being proactive means understanding that you are in control of the direction your life takes and in control of your day to day interactions. The language you use is an effective indication of how you see yourself and if you use proactive language such as ‘I can’ or ‘I will’ you are starting with a more positive attitude than a reactive person who uses language like ‘I can’t’ or ‘I have to’ or ‘if only…’ Take the first step.
You cannot take control of your finances until you make the commitment to do so because the more you ignore the situation the worse it will get. Instead take a long hard look at your finances and your budget, your debts, income and expenses and understand where your money is going and where you can budget better.

Habit Two: Begin with the End in Mind
Those who are effective in achieving their goals are able to envisage their end result despite the obstacles. Define your goal. E.g Do you want to be debt free, do you want to build a savings account balance of a certain value or do you want to be able to live on one income in a two income household? Then decide you are going to get there.

Habit Three: Put First Things First
Ask yourself which are the things you find most valuable and worthy to you? When you put these things first you will be organizing and managing your time around your personal priorities to make them a reality. Just say no. It is easy to spend more than your budgeted amount each month when you are worried about missing out on a dinner with friends. However if you recognize that you don’t have to take on everything and that it is okay to say no then you will find you are more in control of your spending and your budget.

Habit Four: Think Win-Win
Thinking in a win-win mindset allows you to see mutual benefits from all of your interactions and as a result, you will see that when you share the pie it tastes even better. If you are able to approach conflicts and problems with a win-win attitude then by showing integrity and standing up for your true feelings and values allows you to express your ideas and feelings with courage while having consideration for the feelings and ideas of others.

Habit Five: Communication
You are not the only person in your life. Chances are you are married, in a relationship, have children or all of the above. As a result you are not the only person being affected by your decision to live a more frugal lifestyle and to be effective in your goal of frugality you need to be able to listen to and understand the goals and behaviors of the other people in your life. Understand the goals and needs of others.

Habit Six: Synergize
Interactions and teamwork are some of the most important ways you can learn new skills and more effective behaviors. To synergize is the habit of creative cooperation where you work as a team to find new solutions to existing problems. In a society which has become so good at consumerism you have probably already realized that you need to find new ways of doing just about everything to be frugal. It is easy to buy your lunch every day but it is more frugal to take a packed lunch.
Habit Seven: Sharpen the Saw
You are the greatest asset you have on your journey to achieving the lifestyle you want and so you need to look after yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
• Physically, exercising keeps you fit and healthy and it doesn’t cost you anything to go for a walk or bike ride or even skip rope in the backyard. To rest your body you don’t need to go to a day spa you can simply slide into the tub at home and relax.
• Emotionally. Interacting socially with others allows you to make meaningful connections and this can come back to a conversation with the woman at the op shop or even scheduling in coffee and a chat with your mum once a week.
• Spiritually. Spending time close to nature to expand your spiritual self through meditation, music, art or prayer can be done frugally by taking a quiet moment to center yourself and empty your mind before you go to bed or going for a bush walk and being grateful for the beauty of nature surrounding you.

Frugality is something you want to develop and maintain for the long-term and with these seven habits you can be a highly frugal person.