I know you really do not want to hear this; and especially not from me, but your parents were right: START SAVING NOW!
I know your parents were right about this, because mine were, and parents really are not that different from each other.
The chunk of us have parents who worked hard enough for their money, and want to ensure their offspring do much more than merely spend or waste it; accumulate and grow it.
I want to believe you have been listening.
If not to them, please do so to me, at least today.
Start saving now!
My friends all know I’ve always had a tendency to, well, never spend beyond my means, but spend my means: what I have.
I’ve always enjoyed the freedom of enjoy what I can enjoy, based on what I have (not what is given me or made available to me, mind you).
One thing I have never really grasped, however, is the culture of growing wealth.
Money has never sat in my account just for the sake of it. Everything was created on purpose and for a purpose, remember?
So why deny money its very own?
An unhealthy relationship with money.
Well, of recent, I have had to face the reality that the purpose of many-a-created-things is multifaceted.
That money is much more than a means to an end (food, clothes, goods, luxuries, bills), but a power in and of itself.
And no, please don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating a hunger and thirst, a desire, a love for money that will eventually result in power and/or influence here.
I merely seek to have you re-think your relationship to money.
Just two months ago I decided to start saving again. Having told myself I would not leave this continent for at least six months and consciously saving- rather than spending- what I usually did on travels instead, I was surprised to find just how much I could actually manage to put aside.
I realized that, once my mind and attitude towards money changed- I was able to cut down in places I hadn’t hitherto realized I should or even could. I realized that I actually really could live on just 50% of my income; and that I really did not have to eat-out or order-in every day.
I realized that the little monies dropped here or there actually amounted to a substantial amount when put together, and that I really did not always have to lend/give-out money.
I realized that my attitude alone had saved me unnecessary trips in the car (and thus fuel), and that my ability to control my spending had other (often overlooked) powerful effects on my character and life-style over-all.
Now, having started to save, I remembered my mother’s (not fathers, for he too lacks on this one) admonition to draw up a Budget!
Now that you are putting money aside (check), what do you do with the rest that you spend?!
Where does it go, and how much of it flows? How much it really should/must?
The article “Why you’ll never be rich” really did open my eyes to the fact that just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, most of us will not meet our financial goals through sheer luck or the hand of God. It takes planning, time, dedication. In most cases, anyway. So let’s be real.
Anyway.. before I do too much talking, here a few helpful tips I found on CNNMoney:
- Identify how you’re spending money now.
- Evaluate your current spending and set goals that take into account your long-term financial objectives.
- Track your spending to make sure it stays within those guidelines.
- Watch out for cash leakage!
- Understand that spending beyond your limit is dangerous.
- Beware of luxuries dressed up as necessities.
- CUTTING EXPENSES
After you have created a budget you can begin to see where expenses may need to be reduced in order to meet your financial goals. For people like me this really just means eating-out less and cooking more. Undertaking less short-trips and plan longer for a more enjoyable (longer) holiday once or twice a year. For others it might be to not by that extra car, pair of shoes, designer bag, and putting the money in a piggy bank. Whatever the case may be, everyone has an area or two where money can be saved by reducing some basic expenses
- MANAGING YOUR DEBT
Some of us have loans (ie student loans) or mortgages to pay off; not everyone has been fortunate enough to have important things/expenses covered for them or taken care of; and that’s okay. Some debt really is necessary. But that thing that might just get you into debt, or unnecessary stretch you financially, might not be. Learn to delay gratification!
Regardless of how huge or little your monthly income is, there is always something you can put aside – both for rainy days and future investments.
A lot of countries really support an unhealthy – yes, destructive- spending culture by offering low rates on credits and minimum returns on savings/investments- it’s the world we live in- and so you really are not too excited about stacking up that cash. However, I remember the savings accounts my parents opened for every single one of us upon our arrival in this earth: thus funding us from year one of university up until graduation.
It really is about discipline when it comes to saving. Here a little, there a little; line upon line, precept upon precept. That’s how you build a house, a life. With commitment and diligence.
It’s almost like tithing, really. You think you’ll start saving when you have/earn a little more? Well, no, really, you won’t. If you cannot give/put aside a hundred, believe me, you can and will not a thousand. It really all boils down to your attitude.
So, start putting something aside now! And as you grow in the habit of doing just that, push yourself a bit further. Be realistic about how much you can afford to put aside, and push yourself as you go and grow along.
- INVESTING I’m obviously no financial advisor, but I too know that investments yield returns. Whether you’re investing time into a friendship, a new relationship, or your finances into growing a business or a company, wherever you sow, you will reap. However, be careful to sow carefully! Once you’ve put aside a substantial amount that you can afford to “play with” and still meet your needs as well as cover basic expenses and provide shelter, warmth, clothing and feeding for your family, invest! Get in touch with a financial advisor that understands the market and can advice you appropriately. The phrase “don’t put all your eggs in once basket” probably holds more true here than it does anywhere else. Important note: do not gamble (with your savings!).
And last but certainly not least: always remember to give! Whether it be to a charity, donating to a worthy cause, to support your family/ a friend in need, or simply bless someone financially. Always remember that there are others who are worse off, in more need, perhaps looking for a saviour that will show up in no other form or shape than you!
Regardless of how little you have, or how much you are hoping to acquire, at the end of the day it all boils down to showing and sharing all you are and have: love. Nothing you ever had or will have was given to you to be solely spent on yourself. Remember that you are His hand, and extension of His, here to bless and give, rather than receive. Therein lies true wealth!
And finally, I found something really useful on Money Management that I’be printed out and you can download here too: Personal Finance Basics and the Time Value of Money.