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money management

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5 Tips for Saving More and Worrying Less

 

Money, or a lack thereof, is often the source of much stress and trepidation. There are so many things that you want to do, but they all require the one thing you don't have in abundance: money. Many of us often find ourselves living from pay cheque to pay cheque. Fans of the hit AMC show, Breaking Bad, know the conundrum that the show's leading character, Walter White, found himself in. As a humble Chemistry teacher with a disabled son, his funds were very limited. So, when he discovered that he had cancer, desperation struck. Eventually, he became the leading producer of high quality crystal meth. As the story unfolds, Walter becomes obsessed with money and power and eventually meets his demise.

I'm not saying that we should all aspire to enter the illegal drug trade and dominate the world like Walter. Instead, I am suggesting that there is more that you can do so that you can better manage your money and find other legal income generating opportunities. The following tips center on developing shrewd money management skills and reducing your worrisome nature.

Tip #1: Always Pay Yourself First

This is a principle that I learnt almost 12 years ago when I read Robert Kiyosaki's best selling book "Rich Dad Poor Dad". Regardless of your income and financial obligations, always ensure that the first thing that you do when you get paid is save. Ideally, your savings each month should be about 20% of your net income. This may be difficult for some people, but this percentage should never fall to less than 10%. 

A strategy that I use to ensure that I save is to transfer that 20% to a USD account as soon as I get paid. That account is dubbed the "untouchable account". Other people I know have asked their banks to create a standing order. So, the bank would take the amount stipulated and place it in another account on the client's behalf. If you are not an extremely disciplined person, creating a standing order may be the best option for you.

Tip #2: Save Those Coins

This is one of the areas that I tend to falter on. Most times when you shop you will get a few coins as change. Instead of using them to make another purchase, place them in a savings jar at home. One of my coworkers has two coin jars: one for $10 coins and the other for $20 (we live in Jamaica). He has disciplined himself to avoid using the money in those jars. In less than 6 months, when he took the jars to the bank, he had saved 200USD (25000JMD). So, this small saving plan made a huge difference.

Tip #3: Ask Yourself the Important Question

Each of us has our weak spot when it comes to spending. There are certain things that we won't think twice about splurging on. For some women it may be a gorgeous handbag. For some men it may be the latest technological gadget. Whatever your weak spot is, think before you buy. Do you really need that new hand bag when you have 10 more in your closet? Do you really need the new Samsung Galaxy S7 when your S5 is working perfectly well? Always ask if you really need the item before buying it.

Tip #4: Stop Worrying About Things You Can't Control

Although not directly related to money management, this is an important point. Instead of beating yourself up about a situation and wallowing in self-pity, take action and find a solution. If there is no solution, leave it be. Things have a funny way of working out in ways we least expect them to.

Tip #5: Start Freelancing

The internet offers a plethora of income generating opportunities. It's quite intriguing that with just a few clicks of a button, you are able to interact with clients from all over the world in the comfort of your home. There are several freelancing websites available. Before you set up a freelancing account, however, think about the skills you bring to the table. I realized that I have a passion for content writing. So, I offer content writing services through Upwork, Fiverr and my website cemwritingservices.com. I find Fiverr to be the best site in terms of finding work. Do some research and find a freelancing website that fits your skills. Feel free to contact me for free advice if you're a bit unsure or just need a bit more guidance.

 

Becoming a shrewd manager of your income is something within your reach. Follow these tips and you would be surprised by the positive direction your life takes.

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Oops...I'm Broke!

Easy-ways-to-make-money-online1 So you've gotten your pay cheque and you can finally get out of the state of your "end of month blues". It's time to celebrate right? Or probably it's time to pay off all the bills and take out a loan for that car you've been eyeing. So you put your plans in place and meet all of your obligations then when the end of the second week in the month comes around you begin to wonder...where did all the money go?

One of the relationships that we neglect the most is the relationship we have with the money we earn. Very few people learn the art of making money their friend and instead become a slave to it. When I was about 14 years old my uncle gave me this book called "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" written by Robert Kiyosaki. That book has changed my life and the way I view money. I firmly believe that regardless of how much you earn, it is possible for you to live a debt free and comfortable life instead of living from pay cheque to pay cheque. This is one of the reasons why I want to become a financial consultant so that I can help people better manage their finances.

Throughout my short time on this earth, I have learnt quite a bit about how to control money instead of having it control you. I have observed people, read that life changing book I mentioned earlier, and made a few mistakes of my own. These are the few words of wisdom that I would like to share with you:

1. Learn to Gauge Your Spending

One would think that the first thing I would say is "prepare a budget". I have tried that on many occasions and I have never been able to stick to it. However, in my mind I always have what I like to call a "mental budget". I always know the amount of money that is in my accounts and try my best to determine what I can really afford to spend on. Granted, when I am hungry and feel for a pizza I end up spending money that I don't want to spend but I'll talk more about this later. Neverthless, this is a very good habit to adopt because you will force yourself not to spend unnecessarily.

2. ALWAYS Pay Yourself First

One of the key principles from "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" that I will never forget is the fact that you should always put your savings away first. Most people pay their bills first and buy groceries then worry about saving. That's not the way to do it. Always set aside a set portion of your income each month first, regardless of your expenses, and put it in an INVESTMENT account. Once that money is in that account it should no longer exist in your mind in order to prevent you from withdrawing from it when little "emergencies" arise. Saving in this way will result in you accumulating money overtime that can be used for major emergencies later down the road or to invest in profitable ventures.

3. INVEST, INVEST, INVEST

As a child I, of course, did not have alot of money and didn't have a job. However, I made it my point of duty to look for companies that offered investment products with attractive interest rates. LONG TERM INVESTMENTS are the best because they provide you with higher returns over a long period of time and do not require a large amount of capital to begin with (although the more you invest is the greater the returns). Stocks, though risky, are a form of long term investment. Bonds, purchasing company shares, and government papers are also long term investment options. Also, when you put your money in a long term investment account you know that it will not be beneficial for you to withdraw money from the account until the period of investment has elapsed since your returns will be far less. I had to withdraw money from my long term investment account to help pay my boarding expenses while on hall and it really messed up my returns.

One of my hopes is that I will be able to save enough money to one day invest in some company shares or to invest in a company. That is my way of making my money work for me. Always look for ways to make your money do some real work instead of just sitting in a bank account earning a measly yearly interest.

4. Don't "Binge Spend"

I have a problem. When I know that I have enough money in my account I will buy things unnecessarily just because I like them. I have never really had a lot of money so I don't really have a lot of those unnecessary things but the point is that I have them. I also buy a lot of pizza (*covers face*) and pizza a'int cheap out here so you know what happens to my pocket by the end of the month.

5. Minimise Your Expenses...Increase Your Assets

Your expenses should never be more than half of your income. When that happens you end up borrowing money and that leads you into debt. Conserve as much as you can so that your utility bills are not that high. DON'T GET MARRIED UNTIL YOU CAN SUFFICEINTLY SUPPORT YOURSELF. Don't buy a car unless it is absolutely necessary for your job. I know in America people have to have cars in order to get to and from work, but in Jamaica our transportation system is good enough that we can survive without one and paying for a car out here causes people to incur ridiculous expenses. DON'T HAVE CHILDREN UNTIL YOU CAN AFFORD THEM (try to avoid situations where accidents can happen too). Instead, use what you earn now to invest and build your asset pool.

6. Plan Your Entertainment Properly

I like going out with my friends and my taste is such that i like to go to places like the movies, OMG, Cuddyz, Tracks and Records, Devon House etc. These places are not cheap. I therefore know that I have to tailor my lifestyle to suit my pay cheque. This means that I can't go and watch a movie every week (unless I am going on the two for one night and the other person splits the cost) and I most certainly can't go to my favourite hang out spots every weekend. Since I like going out, I have learnt the hard way that I need to tone it down to probably 2 to 3 outings per month and keep my spending at these places at a minimum.

7. Know your skills and market them

When you know what you are capable of, you can market yourself to people and therefore earn a little extra cash on the side. Paying yourself FIRST applies here in the same way that it applies to your regular pay cheque. Therefore, all of your extra cash shouldn't be spent splurging on something you've always wanted. Ensure that you put a portion away in your investment account.

8. Minimise your risk

Some people are high risk and know how to make great profits from risky situations. I am risk adverse and will therefore not pretend that I am comfortable in high stakes. For instance, I will not embark on major projects unless I see the funding that is available to make the project work. I have learnt that from at least one experience in my life. Although risk is good, I wouldn't suggest that you make huge risks when it comes to your money.

9. DO NOT get a credit card

Credit cards make you think that you have money that you really don't have. The bank charges associated with their usage are enough to drive anyone crazy and are a quick launch into a sea of debt. Instead, get a Visa Debit card. Visa Debit cards use the money that YOU put into the bank instead of the money the bank gives you. You are also able to use them online to make purchases. In Jamaica, there are two banks that offer Visa Debit cards: Scotiabank and First Caribbean International bank. You can look at what they offer and then make your decision.

I am still in the learning phase of good money management and some of the things I have listed are things that I need to employ myself. Nevertheless, I hope this post helps you to view your money differently and take you out of whatever financial crisis you may be in.

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