Cash (Flow) Is King

As the saying goes, cash is king in so many ways. When you have cash available, it’s easier to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, you can get discounts on the products or services you buy, and you’re less dependent on the fickle winds of fate.

This cash doesn’t have to literally be money you can hold in your hand. It’s usually money that you have available in a bank account for daily expenses, future needs (both planned and unplanned), and desires.

Right about now you might be thinking, “Sure, it’d be nice to pay cash for everything. But let’s get real. Sometimes you have to borrow money to get ahead.”

Well, you can make sure that you have enough cash for the things you want and need without borrowing money. Sometimes what you have to be is patient and committed. I don’t buy things any longer unless I have the money available already. It took a while to get to this stage, but I did get here.

There are three keys to doing so: spending less than you earn, planning ahead for expenses, and keeping a sharp eye on your cash flow.

You see, it’s really having a positive cash FLOW that’s king. On an individual level, cash flow is essentially the movement of money in and out of your bank account. When you have more coming in than going out, you have a positive cash flow.

When you have a positive cash flow (and some good insurance), you don’t find yourself falling deeper and deeper into debt. Instead, you find more and more opportunities opening up for you. Getting to that positive cash flow takes planning and the ability to say things like “no”, “not right now”, and “how can I do this for less without sacrificing quality?”.

Before you can get to positive cash flow, you’ll need to see what you’re spending your money on, when you typically need to have it available to spend, and how much income you have coming in when. Remember to take things like taxes and other irregular expenses into account as well.

At first it will be hard to juggle things, because expenses rarely line up conveniently with income. To combat this, you can do things like changing the due dates for your expenses (where possible) and building up a cushion of cash that acts like an operating account.

Sometimes people have feast or famine type income, which was pretty common for me until a few years ago. In that situation, it’s important to remember that the famine is coming while you’re enjoying some of the feast. Setting aside more than enough for the future is critical when you’re flush so that you can slowly dole it out when you’re not.

Of course, increasing your income while maintaining or lowering your expenses makes it even easier to reach a positive cash flow. You can do this through side jobs, selling things you no longer need, asking for a raise, switching jobs, starting a new business, etc.

The beginning stages are usually the hardest part, but once you get through them things get easier and easier because you have more and more money available as time goes on. Then you can step up and take advantage of opportunities that folks who are cash strapped can’t. Cash (and cash flow) really is king.

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6 comments

  • Jackie,

    I definitely have a positive cash flow and try to save a certain amound each month. It never seems enough, maybe because I’m scared of falling flat and having no money left…?

    Good advice!

  • Our emergency fund was the best financial decision we ever made. The second best was building up enough padding that we are pretty much operating one month in advance of our expenses. Between those two things, we feel secure and can handle financial potholes along the way. Yay cash flow!

  • Ted

    I am so excited to get to a point where this can be our life. I even have investment ideas that are about having enough cash on hand to (easily -ish) start a business, or invest in a business, and purchase everything larger for less (houses, cars, etc).

  • Ted, sounds like you have a lot of ideas!