Tag Archives: budgeting

Make the Most of Financial Literacy Month

Come to find out, April is financial literacy month. Since the world has slowed down and we may have more time on our hands, we can spend some time becoming more financially literate. Knowledge is power as cliche as this is.

To me, financial literacy means learning about how to manage what I earn well. It means being intentional about my money by planning for it using a balanced and realistic budget. Financial literacy also involves learning about how to manage your money, to spend it wisely and also to save and invest it with discipline. Developing literacy of any kind requires sustained work, the building of good habits through practice and using what is learnt to strengthen this.

We prioritise literacy – the ability to read and write well, as well as, the knowledge to do this in different contexts. We should also do this with financial literacy. Parents should teach their kids and it should be taught in schools. We should also seek how materials to help us learn more and improve this knowledge.

How to Start on the Road to Developing Financial Literacy

Be inquisitive. Search on Google. Search on Twitter and YouTube as well as other platforms. We all know that once we search for something Google starts throwing it in our faces again and again. Use it in your favour.

Check the different platforms like Coursera where universities offer free courses. You might be able to learn about basic accounting or something to aid in your financial literacy. Come out of this time with knowledge to help better manage your money, so you can save and have a solid emergency fund for hard times to come. As we see now, hard times do come and like now may mean job loss, income stagnation or some other financial hardship. Learn how to plan well and give yourself any kind of buffer you can.

Why Financial Literacy is Important for All of Us

On my financial literacy journey, so far, I have learnt the importance of being disciplined and managing my money so I can save. There are all kinds of popular sayings to make us want to spend what we earn and more. We often hear to work hard and play hard. If you work for it, it’s yours to spend as you please and some even believe it’s normal to have debt.

Financial advisors exist for a reason. The good ones help to guide people to healthy financial lives. We may not all have one but we can seek out information and learn.

Financial literacy goes beyond being able to read and write. We aren’t all naturally able to manage our money, talents and resources. How do you know how to monetise your ideas, skills and the like? How do we know how to negotiate for a better salary, mortgages etc? We have to learn about specific industries that interests us, know how to read different financial reports to a degree and make necessary decisions intentionally.

At some stage we will all retire. How do we plan for this? A bit of financial literacy is important and goes a long way to helping us prepare and plan for this. It is a major key to enjoying retirement. We are never too young to start planning for retirement.

In this financial literacy month, start searching and developing knowledge. Become more financially literate and enrich your life in the process.

Try Doing a ‘No Buy’ Month to Save Money

Imagine buying nothing for a full month, that’s crazy right?

A ‘no buy month’ isn’t one where you neglect your bills and other necessities. A ‘no buy month’ is where a person intentionally chooses not to spend money on his or her wants so that he or she can save of save more. These would include the following: eating out, going to the movie, shopping for clothes that isn’t necessary, splurging on snacks, buying coffee or drinks and things of this nature.

Why do a ‘no buy month’?

I think this is a great thing to do in January after spending a lot in December. This will provide a psychological boost that can take one throughout the year. This means that you can put extra money towards different savings goals. Everyone has different wants and needs but withholding one want for a month can add up, so it’s worth trying and making it a challenge of sorts.

Do a ‘no buy month’ to develop fiscal discipline and start saving if you find yourself with no money after being paid. What fat can you trim? it may be as simple as taking a water bottle with you every day and not buying bottled water. It might involve cooking at home more and refusing to eat out at all or 50% less than is your normal habit.

A ‘no buy month’ is useful for everyone

Even if you are not hurting financially, you can choose to do one or more ‘no buy months’. Think about how often you buy a piece of clothing because it’s cheap or on sale. We can all be a bit more intentional about things we consume and the waste we create. Less is often more. We could donate what we save to those in need. There are always people around who we can bless from our abundance.

Try doing a ‘no buy month’ this year and it may just draw you into doing more. All the best with balancing what you earn with what you save. Always prepare for the rainy days.

Have a Budget for the Holidays and Stick to it

The holidays are just around the corner. We all know giving gifts, hosting parties and or attending get-togethers is apart of the fun and merriment. Cheers!

It is easy for so many of us to slip into debt and head into the new year with that dragging us down. Oh how freeing it is to enjoy the holidays debt free and head into the new year that way. This is not a piped dream. It is something we all can do, if we plan and resolve to let it be that way.

First off put together a budget for the holidays and develop the habit of funding it throughout the year. This means putting a set amount of money away for the festivities and gifts you know you will buy. Giving is fun but no one is happy to go broke doing this.

It’s already quite late in the year already, so you may not be able to budget for all you want to do and enjoy. You can have a bare bones budget for November and December to free up some cash. A bare bones budget is one where you cover the necessities and pool everything else towards a particular event or thing. It’s temporary and well worth the sacrifice if one has a desire to spend (heavily) during the holidays.

It is also ok to say no to events that crop up unexpectedly. If you don’t have room in your budget for it, learn to say no and let some things go by. Stick to your budget because adding debt is digging a whole that you will need to dig out of later.

Don’t let the holidays creep up on you and you are not prepared. Budget for it, stick to your budget and enter 2020 free of debt from the holiday. I think the holidays are far more enjoyable this way.

How to Budget, Organise your Money and a live a Financially Healthy Life

Change how you view and spend money

If we earn more than we need for the necessities we should be saving consistently. This is sometimes a struggle for some people because of the relationship they have fostered with their money.

It’s not enough to pay all the bills then spend what is left. Organising what is left after the bills are paid is a apart of living a financially healthy life. This is why having a budget and following it is important.

We are never too young to start saving for retirement.

We are never too healthy to save for illnesses.

We are never too securely employed to plan for rainy days.

Catch my drift? It often takes a mind shift to start budgeting, sticking to it and putting away money for the future (near and far). The money we earn is not merely to pay our bills and feed our temporary wants.

See what you earn as a necessary ingredient to help you attain different goals – debt free.

Organise your Budget in a way that gives you Freedom

Find what works for you.

Having a lean budget where all wants are not catered to does not work for many of us. It isn’t realistic.

Adjust savings targets for different goals as time passes or just because you want to.

Budget in your treats, the things that help you to live and enjoy yourself. A budget is not something to cause stress. For example, I budget for recreation every month because that is important to me. This may look like going out to eat with friends, doing so alone, going to an event and things of that nature.

Also put away something in the miscellaneous category because stuff comes up.

Reconcile your Budget as you Spend

Keep track of payments, all of them. Everything from gum to rent/mortgage. Line up all the items and check that what you plan for is what you are spending. This becomes habitual with time. I like to do this after paying each bill. I also use cash for things like groceries, lunch and utilities. I keep them in their own envelopes and return whatever is left after each transaction.

Using cash for some purchases may help to keep you on track. Some people use credit cards to get points I know. The goal should be to use it within the confines of what is budgeted and pay the sum off each month.

Develop the Habit of Saving

You truly pay yourself from what you earn by putting aside some money into savings. Each amount you add to your savings, helps you to develop this healthy habit of saving. This habit contributes to a financially healthy life. As I said in the opening, if you earn more money than you need to cover the necessities, savings should be a priority. Budget for savings.

At first it might be frustrating and if you are a spender you may be tempted to just use it all. A good way to motivate yourself is to have a list of short term and long term goals. Write down a desired amount to save over a period of time. Make it something like a challenge for yourself. You can put this on a poster or app and have countdown each pay period. I believe that once you start meeting different gaols you will become addicted to this practice.

Budgeting is something to talk about with families, friends and others. Share the value of this habit and help others to live financially healthy lives.

It Takes Money to Save Money

It takes earning a certain amount of money to be able to save money. We can budget from now until the cows come home, but if we earn just enough to meet our basic needs or less, saving is terribly hard.

I know, I have been there. When I just started working and had to pay student loans and live, the ends had a hard time meeting. I was able to get some side hustles but not everyone can do the same.

There maybe a time in your life where you just need to fight it through and keep applying for a job that pays more. Don’t settle or give up.

Since it takes earning more than you need, to save, this may not be a priority when you are struggling to make ends meet. I don’t know who needs to hear this. Don’t give up, don’t stop dreaming and keep seeking out better opportunities and stay knocking on doors. Also surround yourself with others who understand and encourage you.

These are my few cents on this.

It’s Important to Teach Children how to Manage Money

Managing money well is an effective skill that is of utmost importance.

How many children are actively taught how to budget and manage money? How many parents talk about how much they pay for bills with their teenagers? How many parents explain how they budget for different purchases to their kids?

Many schools do not teach students how to budget well and manage their finances.

How do we as people learn how to manage our money when we start to work? Many never learn and some do only after getting into debt and researching how to dig their way out.

I am passionate about budgeting and as a teacher I give mini lessons to my high schoolers on this important practice. I also explain why it is important.

We teach kids about all kinds of dangers in life. We however allow them to grow up and unknowingly fall into the abyss of debt when they could have easily circumvented this. Sadly, many adults do not practice good money management so kids see what they do and repeat it.

Isn’t a debt free lifestyle a wonderful legacy for everyone? By taking the time to research and teach kids about money management we are helping them to get ahead in life.

One easy way to do this is to talk to kids about budgeting their allowances. We can sit with them and help them decide how much they will spend and save. I know some parents may not be able to give their kids money regularly but this can be done from time to time. A mindset to save is important. This can be developed through practice and careful guidance by adults.

Another thing that adults in charge of kids can do, is to help them save up for significant purchases over a period of months. This is essential training, so that when they become adults, they know the value of saving to buy what they want and not jumping to take on debt.

Money management is relevant to children once they are aware of the value of money. We should show them step by step how to use money they get wisely. We ought to help them get into the habit of planning how they will use the money and let them know how important it is to save something.

If we really want to effectively equip children to do well, we have to teach them how to manage money early in life and continue to do so as they grow. There is no magic knowledge that drops into one’s head on how to budget well once they start working. The automatic response for many is to spend all their money and not save anything.

Children are smart and can soak up what we share about managing their money. We also should practice what we preach and demonstrate this in action for them.