For many, the prospect of hitting the casino is positive and enlivening. Strategies are carefully created for the projected hours of entertainment.
This type of thinking — planning for various scenarios based on specific outcomes — is a clear example of money management. The goal: to walk out with more than you walked in with! Sounds simple.
Reality check: It’s not as simple as you’d think.
The problem is, your odds of winning, at least with any level of meaningful consistency, is dismally small. You go through the steps: creating a mindset of budgeting, how much to bet, which game will provide the best odds or most enjoyment.
You consider and plan how you will handle your winnings or conserve your capital over the course of the evening.
It is pretty much an “if I do this/I can do that” or “if I make this/I can do that” or “if I am down by this amount/my strategy is to do X” or “if I am winning a certain amount/I can afford to pocket more play longer” strategic mentality that is aimed at achieving your goals.
Imagine what your life would look like if you created a strategic mindset around a more satisfying and successful money life. Consider what strategies you might employ to achieve your financial goals. Call it the Ultimate Win/Win!
What would it look like to fix a strategy that would increase your savings, pay off debt, create and fund a college savings plan, and build wealth for retirement? The kicker is, if you continue to game your finances and work to improve your strategies, your chance of failure is greatly reduced.
Create a mindset like you would if you were heading for a night at the casino. But in this case, if you do nothing, you are, at the very least going to break even.
If you approach the question with the idea of strategy creation, you can develop some very compelling and positive steps that bring you closer to living your values.
For example, eliminate or reduce one expense that you do not value highly. Automatically shift that amount towards a money goal. You wind up increasing your wealth. It’s like moving money from your left pocket to your right.
In order to employ a workable strategy, first consider the goals you care most about. Write them down. Are you trying to pay off credit card debt, build your emergency fund, or accumulate savings for a down payment on a home? Be clear and set your goals as to the amount and the time frame in which you must reach the delineate prize.
Then, begin with your non-fixed expenses.
Prioritize your discretionary spending — consider what you value and what you can eliminate or reduce without too much pain.
If the goals are big, vital and meaningful, making alterations to your current lifestyle or spending habits won’t feel like you’re giving up much.
Chart your winnings. Create a tally sheet for every dollar you gain from making a choice to “do this, instead of that.” The key to the win is to assign each dollar to a specific place or account immediately.
Don’t let your “wins” accumulate in your checking account. Funnel each dollar to the debt, the savings, or the investment account that is the focal point of your goals.
Determine the milestones. Create benchmarks for your wins and celebrate your successes.
Recognizing your efforts and those of other stakeholders is a MUST! It doesn’t have to be a blow out affair; make it a cup of specialty coffee, amazing dessert, or a hike on a mountain.
Let your action be a celebration of your success. You will start to look forward to these milestones the more you hit them and the more small celebrations you have.
Chances are, your wins will continue to mount and you will find different ways of increasing your successes. It is vital to understand that your odds of winning are vastly better than a game of Let it Ride or Texas Hold ‘Em.
I would love to hear your ideas and stories about creative ways to game your money life. Feel free to email me or drop a comment below and share your wins!