One of my best friends from college is staying with her family at one of the National Parks right now. They aren’t camping for fun. They are temporarily homeless until they find a landlord who will let them rent using a voucher from public housing.
Some experts say the average American family is just a few paychecks away from being in the same situation as my girlfriend.
How do you develop a survival instinct if you are living paycheck to paycheck or barely surviving on public assistance?
How do you take that survival instinct and use it to build wealth, especially when you are not “money motivated?”
I used to live pay check to paycheck, but discovered a more comfortable way to live. Here’s what I did to motivate myself to make money even though I’m not money motivated:
Find a big enough reason why
I was watching a reality diet television show the other day. The woman featured lost a mere two pounds in four months. She said she just couldn’t find her “why.” To make money, you need a big enough reason why. I am more motivated to make money for my family members than I am to buy material things.
Use your credit card as bait
For people who hate owing money to people or credit card companies, you can use your credit card to your advantage. When I make a credit card purchase between $500 and $1,000, I am extremely motivated to earn more money to pay it off in full that month. Use caution and make sure you still have money in savings as a backup plan since having debt is not a survival technique.
Think about a better life
Instead of dwelling on how your life would be if you were laid off or homeless like my college friend, fantasize about a better life than the one you have now. When you picture clearly a life of prosperity, you will be motivated to improve your current situation.
Live on half your income
Another trick for developing a survival instinct is to live on half your income. Most people have to be rather frugal to make it. When we tried this trick, I actually felt more relaxed about our situation. We were able to work harder to build wealth, but with less stress because we knew we could make it on less.
Pretend you won the lottery
Another way to get motivated to make more money is to pretend you just won the lottery. Write down who you would want to help with the money. Research your favorite charity causes. Think about relatives or friends who need financial help. Write down what you would buy for yourself and others. Cut out pictures of where you would want to live and what you would have. Use the “dream board” as a motivation each day to keep you going.
One of my own personal dreams is to one day own a rental property that I could lease to my friend from college so she does not have to be homeless ever again. Some people have the mentality that money is bad, but there are many good things that can be done with money. Turn your survival instinct into a motivation to build wealth and you can do more to help others.
More from this contributor:
Five money clich©s reinvented
Debt snowball worked for me
Learning to take financial responsibility