I was having lunch with a girlfriend, and she was pretty down in the dumps. She runs her own clothing company, and she was upset because she had a client who hadn’t paid their last two invoices. The problem (although not being paid is problem numero uno) was that she had already spent the money she was to have been paid! She’d invested in inventory that the business totally needed to meet orders, but now she was screwed. Likewise, my sister is a real estate agent. Every time she gets close to a sale, I notice a certain gleam that she gets in her eyes. And I know she’s about to spend her commission check — that hasn’t come through yet.

I mention these particular stories because I know many of you out there are entrepreneurs or you’re following my suggestion of having a side hustle, and this kind of thing can happen to you.

But what about y’all other folk? The ones who work all day to earn a dollar just to spend twice or three-times that amount on new clothes, getting your hair did, and/or on bigger purchase items like a second car for your high school kid or getting into a time share. You’re spending this extra amount because you think a raise is coming, or that tax return is just around the corner, or you think, “I’ll just buy this now and save up next month” or “I’ll just throw this on the credit card because it’s a good deal and I don’t want to miss out.”

No matter your scenario, I’m gonna keep it to the point: STOP IT! I suffered from this malady for many years. And from time to time I will still have a recurring outbreak of “spending before cash is in hand” syndrome, if we’re keeping it real. But Lawdy, the angst it causes is soo not worth it. So I suffer from this malady less and less the older I get.

If you’re a business owner, don’t give people a chance to screw you over by helping them out during a crisis. This means you need to be on top of your books and your cash flow. If your invoices need to be Net 15 instead of Net 30, then do it. And on day 16, start calling. They will know you are on your stuff, and they won’t be able to pull that crap of not paying. Better yet, you’ll know by day 22 if they are able to pay, and you won’t provide service or product until you get paid.

If you’re buying stuff on demand but your bank account can’t meet that demand, you need to stop it! And I know, I know that’s easier said than done. But honey, you need to spend LESS than what you have. LESS! Not more. MORE is if you aren’t paying off your full credit card balance each and every month.  I said it last month. I’ll say it again: look at your bank statements and see what you’re spending. See what you’re bringing home. If what you’re spending is more than your take-home, you need to keep your butt home! When you have the $1500 in your hand to buy new sheets, then you can buy them. And guess what, nine times outta ten, when you have and see that money, you’re going to want to hold onto it because now it’s real … and yours.

Might it be time for plastic surgery? As in cutting up all of your credit cards, with the exception of just one that you keep for emergencies? And I learned the hard way that Nieman Marcus doesn’t count as an emergency card! Your roofer will not accept it as a form of payment for fixing your roof!

There is no reason to stress yourself and your pocket for unnecessary spending. Listen, no job is guaranteed. You could walk into your job tomorrow, and they could be like, “Wham bam, thank you maim,  we’re downsizing your department. Today. Buh-bye.” Do not get caught out there, especially when you have the control to not spend. Life is all about choices. And when you choose to spend money not yet in hand, you are choosing to live a life filled with stress and angst. Why would you want that for your best self?


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