We all like to feel in control. There’s something comforting about knowing that you are securely in the driver’s seat of your life. One of the aspects of our lives that sometimes we don’t feel totally in control of, though, can be our finances.

Sometimes, it feels as though our money is in charge of us, rather than the other way around. If you don’t feel as though you are in control of your finances, here are 4 things you can do to take charge:

1. Figure Out What You Want

Your first step is to decide what you want. Too often, your finances get out of control because you are living the life that you are “supposed” to live. Decide what you want out of life, and live that way.

Instead of looking at the neighbors, or your family, and thinking that you need to “keep up”, and that what they have is “normal”, figure out what works for you. From the idea that you have to keep trying to “upgrade” to a larger house, to the idea that you “need” a big screen TV, or that having a certain type of car is “normal”, it’s easy to get caught up in someone else’s idea of what is the “good” life.

Find your own definition, shut out the messages that don’t agree with your own preferences for your lifestyle, and then only spend on what’s important to you. You’ll be in charge of your finances, rather than finding yourself your surrounded by stuff you don’t need — and might not even want.

2. Give Your Money a Job

Now that you have priorities, give your money a job. Create a spending plan that lets you act as a director of financial resources. Look ahead to the most important things you want to spend your money on, and then plan it ahead of time. Have an idea of what is coming in, and where you are going to put that money. When you give your money a job, you are taking control, rather than just tracking the spending after the fact.

3. Pay Less Interest

If you have debt obligations, your money doesn’t really feel like your own. After all, you have to keep making payments — and a lot of the money goes to interest, which doesn’t really benefit you.

Think of ways that you can pay less interest. One of the best ways is to get rid of consumer debt. If you are paying on high interest credit cards, chances are that too much of your money is going to someone else. Put together a debt reduction plan, and stick to it. Over time, you’ll pay less in interest, and be able to use more of your money for what you want.

4. Start a Side Hustle

One of the best ways to make sure that you are in charge of your financial destiny is to start a side hustle. Your side hustle can provide you with income that doesn’t rely on an employer deciding to lay you off or cut your hours.

You don’t have to quit your job to be successful, but a side hustle can provide you with a little income diversity, and the chance to improve your situation, and protect you from the loss of a more traditional job.

Take control of your finances, and show your money who’s boss. You’ll be glad you did.



Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.