Becoming Financially Savvy
There are a few things that life has taught me in my short existence on the earth. This is one of those things. At no point in my life have I ever felt that the money I was earning was enough. Can anyone else relate? Why is that? I was earning good money as a single woman with minimal bills and I was earning good money when I got married to my husband. We even had two sets of income and no children at this point. So why did I still feel that the money that I had in my possession was not enough? Realistically we should have been rolling in it, so to speak.
When we had our first child, for medical reasons I had to stop working so my income was literally slashed in to half. Guess what? I felt our income was not enough but we managed to stretch ourselves and life went on. Along came baby number 2 when I was just about to go back to work to earn some extra money, but being pregnant again meant that I had to quit my job. No extra income for me!
We managed financially but I felt that the money we had was not enough. We stretched ourselves financially even more. Baby number 3 then came along. We were now managing with 3 children, mum and dad all living on one salary. What a huge difference in contrast to the beginning when we had two salaries and no children. We were still coping financially but I felt the money was not enough.
Fast forward to today and now we have moved to Ghana in the hopes of a living a better quality of life. We have had some adapting and some financial remapping to do along the way but the change has been good and caused us to rethink our finances. Surprise! Baby number 4 comes along and guess what? I now understand. I now understand that the issue all those years ago was not about not having enough money per-say, it was more about becoming better at financially managing what we did have.
There were things that we were doing and spending money on that was not necessary. We needed to better plan our meals during the week so that we were utalising our left overers and not wasting them. We needed to stop spending money on gym memberships that we were never using and we needed to stop sporadically eating out. In life we always feel that we don’t have enough money until something happens and we have to financially stretch ourselves, more and more and more.
What if we were to stretch ourselves on a regular basis as a matter of discipline? It would make for a much better tomorrow.
There are little things we can do today to ensure a more financially stable tomorrow.
1. Clear any debts that you already have, especially credit cards. If you have savings and you also have credit card debt it is advisable to use your savings to clear off your credit cards. The interest accumulated from having the debt will be much higher than that of any interest you gain from savings.
2. If you get a salary increase at work, instead of spending more money each month try to live as though you didn’t get the increase and put the extra money away.
3. A great thing I did a few years back when we were living in the UK was to collect £2 coins. Every time I went shopping and got change I would keep the £2 coins and save them. It was difficult at first because I really wanted to spend the money but over time it became a habit and eventually I had saved 100’s of pounds.
4. Cut out that quick coffee that you usually stop to buy each morning. Make it at home and save the money. (You will be amazed at how much you save)
5. Budget, budget, budget and stick to it! I am a budget FREAK!!! If it’s not in the budget and we haven’t saved for it, we can’t have it. This has helped me immensely in the past and even today. TIP: Don’t forget to have a miscellaneous column for any financial surprises that might pop up along the way!
6. A great piece of advise I got from a friend some years back was “don’t try to keep up with the Jones'” What a great piece of advice! If you can’t afford to do something your friends can, say so, don’t just try to swallow the cost in the hope that it will work itself out.
7. Take lunch to work a few times a week instead of eating at the local cafeteria each day.
8. Use public transport as much as possible instead of taking taxis and uber.
If you can begin to implement these small disciplines into your life this year you will reap some great rewards because of it later on.
Remember just because you can afford to buy something doesn’t mean that you should. ALWAYS look at the bigger picture. Make this year your savviest year yet!
If you have any other great saving tips, I would really love to hear them.