The man with $1,000.00 could be richer than the man with $10,000. Which man are you?
I am sure we all have touched a plethora of money at some point in our lives. Tax season, inheritance maybe, college refund checks (yall often forget those are LOANS, that aint yo’ money to keep), or even bonuses at work . Much of these funds can be anticipated while others may come as a sweet surprise. The feeling of having funds in your bank account with a few more zeros than that you are typically used to seeing when logging into your mobile bank app can be rather exciting and overwhelming to say the least. It’s like an itch we have to scratch to buy nice things, go on impromptu trips, and stand in line waiting to purchase items we wouldn’t even pick up typically. We then ease the financial responsibility with the idea of “Treat yo self” and “You deserve it. “ Do not get me wrong, we all deserve to treat ourselves to nice things, but the idea of delayed gratification fades in the background when extra coins are at our expense. You deserve nice things. You deserve beautiful trips to excoitc locations. You deserve expensive dinners that involve the appetizer down to the desert and the drinks in between, but most importantly, you deserve to learn and possess money management skills that provide a longevity of enjoyment for these pleasures of life. Money management is what makes that man with $100, potentially richer than that man with $10,000 as stated before. Money management and budgeting create long term benefits and life altering financial freedom. Without conscious attention and dedication to budgeting properly , we become a bit “stuck” on the money tree, remaining in the same financial bracket for years to come.
Money management is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard! With a little planning and a lot of commitment, you could take control of your finances and take yourself from one branch of the money tree to the next . Here are 10 money management tips that could really do you justice. Financial freedom isn’t as far away as you think!
1.Write out your paychecks
Physically write out or type up your paychecks and business income every time payday is approaching. It only takes a few moments out of your day. Time that you typically use scrolling up and down Facebook, make it valuable time instead. Not only this, but coincide which bills go into that particular paycheck, even down to the Netflix autodraft. Write it all down! This eliminates any surprises and also gets you on track to paying your bills ON TIME. Once you are behind, it is hard playing “catch up”. Not to mention the late fees that could have been extra dollar’s in the pocket. For most of us, the first check of the month is rent. If withdrawing and writing a money order for such a big amount discourages you from reaching financial freedom, maybe transition into breaking it down into 2 paychecks. If rent is $800, take $400 from one check, and the other half from the next. Find ways of making your money and payments work for you to encourage you to save more and pay bills on time. Remember to write out your paychecks and the bills you have for that check so that you can physically see where your money needs to go and get a better handle on things ahead of time.
2.Meal planning/ prep.
As a functioning adults with working jobs/careers, running businesses and platforms, raising children (which is a whole other umbrella in itself, i mean there is homework, getting school clothes together, spending QT, baths, doing hair/hair cuts, house chores, extra curricular activities, and the list goes on. I need a redbull just thinking about it. Geez), and other every day, time consuming yet necessary activities, cooking and dinner gets a roll of the eyes sometimes. It is so convenient to grab something quick on the way from the girls dance practice, or order pizza on the longer days. I mean, I get it. However, those quick stops to chick-fil-a add up every a while. My girls and I spend roughly 20-25$ every time we pull up in the drive through. (Don’t judge me. Need I remind you, Zaxby’s wings and things don’t even come with a drink! An automatic add on.) That could get pretty pricey in a month’s time span. How discouraging to look at my bank statements (another tip, LOOK AT YOUR STATEMENTS, know where the money flows!) and more than half of the transactions are food related (Again, don’t judge me.)
An easy week to week tip I have utilized to budget and save a few coins is to plan. A lot of times I would use the sweet relief of an excuse that “Ah man, I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer” as a reason for me to pick up the phone and call papa johns. Every Week, pick a day to write out your meal for the week, even get creative and put it on a dry erase white board on your fridge. That way you know, Monday we are having chicken alfredo, Tuesday is baked fish, and so on. This allows not only for you to be ready mentally, but it definitely cuts back on your grocery bill adn all of the impulse buying of things that typically go bad because we never needed it to begin with. Make a plan for the week, and stick to it. You know you need to take that hamburger out for tomorrow’s dinner! Don’t play!
3.“Self” Credit builder
For me, this was an easy way to not only build my credit, but also put a few coins away for myself. In an easier way to explain it, “self” can be looked at as a personal savings account that also builds your credit! Soo wait, I can save my money, AND it goes on my credit? Exactly. Every month, “X” amount is auto-drafted from my account and out into my self account. I Can withdraw it after a few months, or leave it there and let it keep building. Another cool thing about “Self” is that individuals with little to no credit are eligible and it isn’t a hard inquiry on your report to check it out. For me information, check out www.self.inc.
4. Pay YOU, FIRST
We all want to save, it’s always in the plans. However, a lot of us are saving backwards. WHen I inquired about saving techniques with friends, family, and other cohorts, I found that majority of individuals pay bills, buy whatever they wanted to buy for that check, handle other financials, and THEN save a few bucks from whatever is left after a weekend of spending and “treatin’ yo self”. I have found that it is much more effective to take out whatever you are saving FIRST. Look at it as a bill, a mandatory payment that HAS to be made with every bit of income you receive. As soon as I get paid, I take out “X” amount for savings FIRST rather than LAST. This has helped me save me effectively and more consistently.Pay YOU, FIRST, You deserve it.
5.Create a REALISTIC budget.
I am sure a good number of us try to budget our dollars. Whether it be keeping up with receipts or using a notepad in your phone, somehow we have the intent of budgeting. However, budgeting is not really effective when it isn’t realistic to your lifestyle and your income. You may have the intent to save 500$ per payment. That’s awesome! However, once you factor in groceries, bills, gas, car notes, insurance, childcare, and other finances that hit your bank account, you can really only afford to save 100 bucks instead and that’s totally okay. I have found that when you budget appropriately, it is easier and more likely for you to keep that budget. Do not make it hard on yourself by creating numbers that look great on paper, but do not coincide with your real life. You will be more than likely to forget all about the plan you created for yourself.
6. “Acorn” Accounts
This has been one of the easiest and coolest tools I have found for saving over a long period of time. “Acorn” account is a company that utilizes the spare change from transactions you make and puts it into a savings account for you. I met a guy who has racked up $500 over the course of the last few months all from spare change from his transactions. How it works is, let’s say your groceries come up to $39.40. Your Acorn Account (which is linked to your bank account) will take the remaining .60 cent and put it into savings. Pretty cool and super simple. Just think, if you download the app in January, by Christmas you have a few coins to put in for shopping. For more information, check out www.acorns.com.
7. 401K retirement matching
Diving into adulthood should mean looking seriously into things such as life insurance, college funds for children, and 401K retirement plans. Thankfully, many of the companies we work for have 401K options available for you. If you are unsure, contact your employer for more information. Upon doing my research, there are options available that give you the option to up your retirement savings bucket. Let’s say you put in a dollar, some companies may match that dollar by .50. If you’re lucky, you may get matched by every dollar you put in. It may not seem like much, but after you have worked for decades with a great company, those dollar matching add up!
8.Give your dollars a “destination”
When you don’t know where your money is going, you tend to spend more of it. Give your money a “place” down to the last dollar! Where is it going? What is it being used for? Breakdown your finances to the last cent if you can to be more concise and intentional about your spending. If you are a visual person, go to the extreme of creating a budget book or envelopes for your bills and placing physical bills in them. An envelope for groceries, an envelope for Christmas savings, and so on. A grocery store trip could go from intending to spend 100$ to spending $200. However, when you have a plan and place for your money, you know that you really will stick to 100 bucks in the grocery store because that other 100$ is planned to go towards your car insurance. GIve your dollars a destination!
9. Plan ahead!
Okay, I’ll tell on myself and say that I am one of the crazy people running around 2 days before christmas, shopping for my whole family, frustrated with everyone because the shelfs are half empty. Like it’s their fault I wanted until the last minute to get things done. FUnny thing is, Christmas is the same day every single year. Your best friend’s birthday is the same day every single year. You knew 6 months beforehand your cousin was going to college, and babies take 9 months in the oven to finish baking, so you knew for almost a year your nephew was on the way and a baby shower was approaching. Plan ahead! I found that when I planned ahead for birthdays, anniversaires, baby showers, and other things that require a chip out of my finances, that not only was I ready and not running around the day before like a chicken with no head, but I actually spent LESS money. There is something about the anxiety of Christmas being in a week that just prompts me to start grabbing stuff. Not even sure who I have already gotten something for and who I haven’t, I don’t know! All I know is, I need to fill this cart and head to the register. We have all done it. THe power of planning ahead eliminates the head. If possible, create a furnace calendar and hang it up. A month ahead you can be reminded of your friends wedding day. 2 weeks in advance you can grab your niece a birthday gift, and it also gives you some time to shop around a bit and have time to catch a sale or two.
10. Self Control and Discipline
All of these ideas and tips are impossible without self control and discpline! One thing I can guarantee you, there will be another sale at that department store! DO not try to buy the whole section because of the daunting thought of “i’ll miss this sale! It will never be marked this low again!” Yes it will. I promise you. Self control is important in every area of your life, but imperative in your finances, it’s absolutely needed. This is one of the “not so easy” tips on the list because it is so easy for us to tell ourselves we deserve it, which we do. However as stated before, you also deserve financial security rather than spur of the moment satisfaction purchasing a $100 shirt that you probably will wear once. As my Nana used to say, “Girl that money burning a whole through your pocket!” Control your spending urges! Holes in pockets leave them empty!
THE CHALLENGE IS ON
CHALLENGE: This is one of my favorite money challenges, so I leave this one for you too, to try out. The “One and Five’s” Money Challenge is pretty easy and though it may not seem like much, you would be surprised at how much you rack up over the course of a few months. Every cash transaction you make, save the one’s and five’s you get back. If you can’t afford to save all of the 5’s that’s totally understandable! Save a few here and there. However, hold yourself accountable for saving every single dollar bill you get back. I threw mine in a shoe box! After a while, you would be surprised at how quickly those bills add up. Watching the box get full also motivates me to keep throwing more dollars in. Sometimes I may even toss a 10 in! How much can you save by the top of the year? By Valentine’s day? By next Christmas!? Are you up for the challenge? It will definitely pay off. LITERALLY.