To be quite honest, my financial background has been one of struggle. A journey that I am thankful for because it made me learn and grow as a person. While my children were still very young, I became tired of always being so challenged to make ends meet, and often, those ends not meeting at all. Even working multiple jobs and lots of overtime didn’t do the trick. The cost of living and raising a family was just so high. So I began diving into every book I could get my hands on that had to do with personal and family finances, and getting things in order. I’m not going to lie, it didn’t come together overnight. But I did begin to see progress very quickly. And the work has been so incredibly worth all of the effort. Sometimes, the hardest part is just getting started. Knowing where to begin can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. I am breaking down, what I feel, are the 4 best ways to take off and running. 1) Know your WHY!! Taking the time to get very clear on the WHY of this journey is huge. It will give you the motivation you need to stick to your spending plan when temptation tries to get the better of you. And it will. As for me, my why was wanting a better life with better opportunities for myself and my children. 2) Set very clear goals. This goes hand in hand with your why. But this step includes writing them down. Write them down somewhere you will be able to see them clearly and often. Write them down in multiple places, the bathroom mirror, to remind you first thing every morning of your intentions, the refrigerator door, the kitchen is a place in the house where a lot of time is spent, and attached to your wallet, to help you stay clear and focused every time you are about to spend money. These are just ideas that might be good to start with. I also used a whiteboard hanging in my dining room. This takes us to the next step. 3) Include the family. This may not always be ideal at the very beginning. But the sooner the better. When I began my research, it took some time to learn what I needed to know, and then some time for me to practice, before getting everyone involved. But once I did, I found out that having common goals to shoot for, and the support and encouragement of each other, helps tremendously in many ways. 4) Create and implement that spending plan. Keep it very simple at first. Don’t allow complicating it to slow you down or stop the progress before you even get started. Take a pencil, paper and calculator or do a simple spreadsheet on Excel. Whatever works for you is best. The important part is getting started. Get your financial paperwork organized so that you can list all of your income and expenses. Track your spending with the intensity of a mother lion protecting her cubs for dear life. This will enable you to do some evaluating and see where adjustments can be made to save money. Then follow through with the plan. Make sure that your spending is on the most critical needs first. I have raised my children in the same manner and they have grown into mature and responsible adults who work, pay their bills, grow savings accounts and manage a spending plan very well. Not that anyone is perfect and doesn’t stray from the beaten path every now and then. But having a good foundation helps get back in place much quicker and easier. Having the finances in order effects a persons life overall, their health, their relationships, their well being. I would love to hear from you, and to know of any ins and outs and ups and downs that you don’t mind sharing along the path of your journeys!! Wishing you all the best!! You and your family are worth the effort!! And you can do it!!