As I grew older, I felt that I have allowed myself to be available and generous for everyone but myself. As much as I highly treasured my friends and family, I have nothing to give myself but cutting words that hurts too deep. I spent so much time in making sure that I please everyone, but I failed to spend time making myself feel good. Ultimately, it brought me to a breaking point and I found myself lost and drained of life.
"Paying yourself first" means that when you receive your salaries, you allocate a certain percentage to your savings and investments first, and make sure that you do not use this money for any other expenses other than what you have saved it for -- your future self.
Let's say your goal in saving money is to have an Emergency Fund. Then one day, the latest iPhone 5 was launched and you wanted to buy one. However, you found yourself short of cash and you've used up all your credit card limit. Even if you are itching to touch your savings -- DON'T. Stop eyeing your savings and just put off buying that iPhone 5, until you have the money to buy one, because purchasing this latest gadget is not an emergency but a luxury. You have to remind yourself that the reason why you're saving is because you want to have a cushion for yourself for emergencies such as job loss or illness.
Ultimately, this is what paying yourself first means for me. You give priority to what you value most in your life. You invest in your needs first, not wants.
Moreover, paying ourselves first doesn't only benefit us but others as well. In my experience, paying myself first caused a paradigm shift in me that translates and affects my way of living. And I believe that this can also happen to those who practice paying themselves first.
Financial Security. Safety and security is the second basic needs of human beings, according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. When we have savings, we have something for rainy days. There is a sense of security that even if an unforeseen event strikes -- like losing a job or someone in your family needs medical care -- you know you have savings to fall back on. This sense of financial security lessens our anxiety and helps us have a more positive over-all feeling.
Abundance Mindset. As we see our savings grow, we have a concrete visual of abundance in our lives. As we are continually exposed to this financial abundance, our focus is being shifted from lack to abundance. The Law of the Universe says that "the more we focus on a particular idea or thought, then we will attract more of this idea or thought". This means that the more we focus on abundance, the more abundance we will attract in our lives -- not only financially but in all areas of our lives as well.
Natural Giving. When you pay yourself first, what you are really practicing is generosity. Although you are starting to be generous towards yourself at first, as this becomes a habit, you will find yourself being more generous towards other people as well. It's just the joy and the fulfillment in giving that will move us into becoming natural givers, I believe. And for me, this is the most rewarding of all because I am able to be a blessing for others as much as I am blessed.
These are just some of the paradigm shifts that I have experienced by practicing paying myself first. I'm sure there are others more. If you are already practicing this, I would love to hear how paying yourself first changed your life! =)
Praying for your happiness,