Being smart with money is about more than understanding the simple math of spending less than you make if you want to save money and stay out of debt. The hard part is the mental and emotional hurdles that prevent most people from achieving their financial goals.

J.D. Roth says consider the following list a mental reset button on your financial psyche:

  1. There are no secrets. The basics of building wealth have been well - documented for centuries. There are no shortcuts, no secrets or get - rich schemes that really work over the long run. A tried and true principle such as spend less than you make, and then invest wisely still works today.
  2. Happiness comes from managing expectations. Working harder to buy more stuff won’t bring you peace of mind or contentment, because there is always something more to buy. You must learn to escape this trap. Learning to be content with what you have is the key. Paul taught this principle in Philippians 4:11-12
  3. You can have anything you want but not everything you want. Cut expenses ruthlessly on the things that don’t matter so you can spend lavishly on the things that do. Save in lesser areas so you can have the money to put into things that are really important to you or your family.*
  4. Perfect is the enemy of good enough. Too often we fail to act because we’re searching for the absolute, surefire way to invest or save. We do nothing instead. But action cures fear, and a decent or simply good outcome is always better than nothing.*
  5. Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame others or the economy for your financial situation. Your circumstances might not be entirely your fault, but they are your responsibility.*
  6. Don’t overspend and pay bills on time. Having a simple budget telling you what is coming in monthly and what is going out is an essential way to track your spending and not overspend. And when an unexpected expense does come up, if you haven’t overspent on a month to month basis, then you will have money set aside for that enviable “rainy day.”  

The other place where much money is wasted by either paying the minimum amount on credit cards or paying them late. Draw a hard line for yourself by declaring never to do either of these again!

Material here taken from J.D, Roth’s article “The Mental Game” in the December, 2013 edition of Entrepreneur Magazine. J.D. Roth is founder of the personal finance blog Getrichslowly.org author of our Money: The Missing Manuel.