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While there are some Yakezie members that started financial websites to talk about good money habits and become a resource for readers, I was not in that group.  I was (and still am) more about the whole “On the ground” portion of the finances, as I’m still struggling forming good habits and getting out of debt.

Some started out with good financial habits, and I started out my adult life ignoring the good financial habits that I was taught.  I guess I’m one of the people that always has to learn the hard way.  Since I was always in debt but reading about others who were able to right the ship, my habits have gotten a lot better.

Putting Your Cash Flow To Work

All of the sites that I had read stressed cash flow (just to be clear, cash flow is what is left over after you subtract your necessary expenses and bills from your income), and for a while I couldn’t figure out why.  I had enough to pay my bills with some left over, so what was the big deal?  Sure, you’d have more cash to do stuff with, but what difference did that make?  After I started earning money and had finished school, I realized that all that extra cash could be used to pay down debt – which is something that I really liked.  With a lot of focus and a lot of hard work (and a break from mother nature), I was able to reduce my debt load by half, along with doubling my income in that same time.  Now, I’ve got a lot more cash than I need to pay my bills, and I understand the importance of cash flow.  Here’s how it helped me.

If you follow along on my blog or my twitter account, you know that I was all over the country this year.  I had weddings to go to, bachelor parties to go to, I took a trip to Alaska and went to the financial bloggers conference.  I went to Iowa, Missouri, Alaska, Virginia, West Virginia, Colorado and Illinois.  Obviously, I didn’t have to go on all of these trips, but I really wanted to see some of these new places.  Of course, I also wanted to support my friends during one of the happiest days of their lives at the weddings as well.  Both of those made it very tough to say no – so I said yes.

Reaping The Rewards

Unfortunately, this kind of put my debt repayment on hold while I traveled, purchased flights and other things, attended bachelor parties and generally had a good time.  Yet I was able to do all of these things because I had increased my cash flow dramatically when paying down debt.  I was able to pay for all of these trips with cash, which is something that I would never have been able to do before I expanded my cash flow.  I would then have been left with two options: say no, or go deeper into debt – neither of which I would have been too keen on.

Getting out of debt, increasing your cash flow and saving more aren’t pie-in-the-sky things that only some people can do.  Sacrificing for a while allowed me to be there for my friends and take a great trip to Alaska, neither of which I would have been able to do otherwise.  Use your finances as a way to pay for what you really value, and make this even easier by keeping your other expenses low.  Even though you’ll still be spending money, you won’t have to worry about where the money is coming from, and you can’t pay for peace of mind like that.

Readers: Do you believe that having higher cash flow will help out in life?  Do you save for a lot of the trips you take, or do you just travel with low expenses and take the cost out of your cash flow?