Can you feel rich when you are unable make ends meet? It takes more than stretching the monthly paycheck; it takes a stretch of the imagination to expand your wealth attitude.
Before they were famous, many truly influential men and women started by serving their country in the US military or grew up in military families.

The American Economy: Is Frugality the New Black?

By: Rhonda Uretzky, Military Hub Commentator
Posted:

Americans are known for pushing our limits. The latest testament is our U.S. economy.

During the 1990s, when the US experienced an economic boom characterized by extreme and what some called irresponsible consumer spending, we counted on the rising value of our homes, our collectibles and our economy, not questioning any deeper values. Bigger homes. More luxurious cars. Earliest adapter technologies.

At the edge of the abyss in 2008, the stock market began its unprecedented pullback. After so many years of positive expansion, corporations imploded leaving many jobless and alone with hyper-extended credit cards and no way to pay them back.

As corporations vanished, so did retirement plans; money people counted on for their golden years turned out to be smoke and mirrors rather than real gold. Real estate values vaporized leaving many with overextended second mortgages, first-mortgage interest rates that reset to unaffordable levels, and finally, foreclosure.

As military, you never need to worry about losing military jobs : serving your country will always be in demand. Military retirement plans also remain solid in any economy. And if you have a VA home loan, you have access to streamline refinancing, or VA agencies that help veterans successfully avoid foreclosure.

Still, military and civilians alike are reevaluating the U.S. economy. Is the pullback a stopover on the road to more extreme spending, or is cash conservation our final destination?

BOOM, BUST, AND WHAT I BOUGHT

There are hundred of websites and blogs dedicated to tightening your belt. Clipping internet coupons has become a national pastime. From eating in to "staycations" instead of vacations - entertaining yourself and your family on home base - living on less is in vogue. There is new status in finding the lowest prices. Call it Nouveau Pennywise.

Yet in 2010, there was still abundant evidence that Americans like to spend, spend, spend. Both Apple and Starbucks reported record sales. The waiting list for the iPhone was miles long. While most automakers reported lower sales in July, sales surged to 142% over the year before at GM's higher-ticket Cadillac division.

PENNY-PACKING POWER

Being smart with money is valuable no matter where you fall within the tax bracket. Rockefeller famously experimented with less rivets in his company's oil cans until he found the minimum needed to keep oil from spilling out, and then uniformly cut back to that magic number. In effect he saved countless millions by not allowing the pennies to leak out.

It's not so much what you do with money, as how you feel about what you are doing. Rockefeller never felt poor or cheap; he felt smart and rich. And so can you, no matter what your bank account reads. Hand a poor man $10,000 and he will instantly feel rich; tell a millionaire he has $100,000 in his account and he will despair his poverty.

Whether you feel powerful in saving money smart in splurging, it's your attitude that pays off. Some people crow about creating the best deals for every purchase, defining themselves as Money Manager Magnates. Others revel in purchasing the new iPad at full price plus a premium, and revel in their roles as technologically wealthy.
Your attitude is your greatest asset.

IT'S CRUNCH TIME

Which financial position is really pound-wise?

Can you feel rich when you are unable make ends meet? It takes more than stretching the monthly paycheck; it takes a stretch of the imagination to expand your wealth attitude.

As military, you know there's never any better time than crunch time and to develop new muscle. How to begin the exercise after years of lazy financial behavior? I recommend the Jar System,the brainchild of T. Harve Ecker's Millionaire Mind Training.

Take 6 jars and mark them as follows: Financial Freedom, Play, Long Term Savings for Spending, Necessities, Give, Education. Each time you receive money, put some amount into each jar; even a single dollar bill will do. At the end of a certain time period - I recommend a month for everything except Long Term Savings and Financial Freedom - spend the money on something relevant to the category.

Spend your jar money no matter what. Take your cash in the Give Jar and donate to a charity. Take the dollar bills in your Play Jar and get a luxurious massage. Take the coins in your Education Jar and buy a book, attend a lecture, take an online course.

You can build up your cash in Financial Freedom and Long Term Savings For Spending, but always with an idea of what you're saving for; saving money for a rainy day does not qualify. Save for something that makes you feel prosperous.

You may find yourself putting the bulk of your military pay into the Necessities Jar. That's fine. It's not the amount that counts; it's the action of using the jars to expand your mindset about money.
It's not easy to break old habits, especially habits fueled by an emotion as powerful as fear. If your current money habits are at either extreme - Scrooge-like scrounging or total-disregard splurging - they are costing you too much.

If you worry about money, find new ways to feel abundant. Use the Jars to spread your wealth.

Transform your money-mind with logic; the mind loves an iron-clad argument. Giving to charity is something a wealthy person does, so if you do it...you must be wealthy. Walk yourself through the logic each time.

AMERICAN FINANCIAL FREEDOM

Money is a tool and like all good power tools, you must learn how to operate it or it will mow you down. Financial security isn't a natural result of money, and it doesn't automatically grow from money; you grow from learning to handle money.

While the uses for money are many, the common underlying purpose of money is freedom. You can't achieve freedom by feeling trapped. This, the Buddhists says, is like trying to grow a rose garden from lemon seeds.

Whether our US economy recovers and surpasses our past prosperity or continues to sputter, stall and double-dip downward, your get-out-of-jail-free card to control your own financial momentum is to get military minded about money management. Lead yourself, and the money will follow.



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