Always Pay Yourself First, Even If You “Can’t”

Many spiritual practices strongly urge their followers to tithe, or give 10% of their income to the church. You can do the same for yourself. Pay yourself first, and you will increase your wealth significantly.

Easier said than done, isn’t it, when you’re in financial distress!

If you’re in financial distress, the concept of paying yourself first might seem like an impossibility. If there’s nothing left over after paying the bills – assuming that there “is” enough to pay the bills – doesn’t leave much for paying yourself. However, paying yourself first is one of the pillars of personal finance, and it’s essential in helping you get out of your MENTAL financial rut, which is the real cause of your experiential financial rut.

You do not have to think in terms of percentages, unless you can currently afford to do so. After all, 10% of “nothing left over” is still “nothing left over.”

Here are some easy and sustainable ways to pay yourself first, no matter your financial situation. These work – I’ve practiced them on myself, back when I had “nothing” and I was in debt. In fact, these practices helped me get out of my own lack mentality and into a joyful abundance mentality, and my finances have followed suit!

1. Create a budget, and highlight anything that is not essential. See if there are cheaper alternatives and use those; and learn to live without.

  • Satellite TV is nice, but trust me, you do not need it. The Internet has tons of free ways to watch movies and TV shows, so right there, you’ve saved a minimum of $20/month and in most cases, much more. Pay that same amount to yourself – every month, instead of paying for that service, pay yourself. Free money!

  • Having a coffee shop latte on your way to work is a treat, but you can save $5 without even trying if you make yourself coffee at home. Every day, instead of paying for someone to make your coffee, make it yourself. Free money!

  • Do you “need” that cute outfit? Really? Enjoy the heck out of window shopping, but tell yourself that you’ll get it “next time” (tell yourself that every time you see that thing). You can truly wean yourself off ALL unnecessary shopping.

  • Cut up your credit cards. I’ve lived without a credit card for over 5 years, problem-free (yes, I travel, rent cars, and buy nice things). Debit or cash only. Pay yourself any interest rates you currently pay to the credit card companies!

Think about any “extras” you can do without, and gradually eliminate them. It might be a little tough at first, but you’ll see that life goes on, and quite nicely thank you, without these luxuries. And remember – pay yourself first, with the money you save. This is ESSENTIAL. Don’t pay anybody else with it. It’s better to work out sustainable payment options with your creditors, and pay yourself first, because you need this feeling of abundance in order to create an abundance mindset!

Now… while these tips may seem like they’re still fear-based and lack-based, they are in effect helping you train yourself to be happy with less. You don’t need a lot of the things and experiences you believe you need, in order to be happy. You don’t have to live like a pauper, but you can do without a lot of what society deems important. As you become happy with less, you become less stressed about having more (thus avoiding the debt trap), and you become much more appreciative of what you have… which leads to an ABUNDANCE mindset that naturally attracts more.

Psychologically, even if you save $5 a month, and you’re super disciplined and never ever touch it, you are on the abundance track. $5 now will add up to a lot more later as you continue to pare down to the essentials.

2. As you pare down to the essentials, never do it from a space of need, but rather a space of joy. You see, every “thing” you own, required your time and energy to bring into your life (work = money = spending) and as long as you own it, it STILL demands energy of you (you have to have a place to store it, you have to insure it, maintain it, repair it, etc.) – less is truly more! So as you release the need for so much stuff, you become able to live on less, and with less, and that frees you up in the most amazing ways to enjoy life! No more spending precious time that you can’t ever get back, working so you can afford all that stuff. Talk about paying yourself, right? There’s no better payoff than having time to spend doing what you love, instead of working a job you don’t like so you can make money to buy more things.

Gradually you’ll retrain yourself to desire less, be happy with more, and it will become simpler to pay yourself first. Having this will give you peace of mind and a nice emergency cushion – AND it will transition you into an abundance mindset – and then, prepare to be amazed at how quickly and easily your income will grow! When it does, remember, keep paying yourself first!

Linah Cathy