A few years ago I realized that it doesn’t matter how much you earn, if you don’t have healthy money habits, regardless of how much you have or you earn every month, you will always end up with zero balance. And I will explain to you what I mean by saying zero balance.
There were times I was even scared to carry money with me because I was afraid I was going to be tempted to spend it. For a while I didn’t know my problems; how come I can leave home with fifty dollars for instance in my wallet in the morning, but then return back home in the evening with an empty wallet. This was not like a onetime thing, it was a regular thing. It’s not like I wanted to spend it, for somehow I didn’t discipline myself enough to say ‘no’ to temptations. But there were also other reasons that I found out were the cause of my money relationship problems. It’s not like I didn’t value money, it’s just I had poor money habits period.
The minute I had it on my hand, I would spend it. And I would spend it on the things I didn’t really need, things that were not necessary and I can live without, things that didn’t really matter, some of them I did not even use or I only used once and never touched them again. Oh how I wish I could have bought or accumulated assets instead, or spent on the things that was going to generating me more money even today, or invested on myself to improve myself and my life situations. Yes, I have my regrets, so I have learned my lessons, maybe not all, but most of them.
There are money habits that we can adopt to help us maintain our relationships with money. If you ask me, I think we all value money. We all value money for the fact that money is one of the main tools we use in exchange to get the things we want. Money in all its currencies is the common medium exchange we use to trade, buy or sell of goods between two parties, people, or businesses.
Remember that a good approach to money is one of the requirements if you are seeking financial freedom. If you are in place that you are controlled by poor money habits, it’s never too late to change. We can adopt new money healthy habits today and change our money situations. We can start small, and take one step at a time to develop healthy money habits for ourselves.
- Create your own budgets and stick to them
This is crucial and game changer. And I have found out creating a budget is an easy part, but sticking to your budget that is where you need to discipline yourself, that’s where the challenge is.
Creating a budget has been made easy; we can Google online, we can learn how to create our budgets. Vertex42.com for instance has personal budget spread sheets with an already built in formula you can download for free. You can also go to Smartsheet.com, they have all kinds of budget spread sheets with already built in formulas. Both of these sites have all kinds of spreadsheets budgets such as a Project Budget, Business Budget, Holiday Shopping Budget, and et cetera.
But creating budgets without knowing where our money is really going on daily, weekly, even monthly basis, is creating a budget that is not going to work. Before you make a guess on how much you should estimate for each your budgets, you need to do a research first. If it’s a personal spending budget, then you need to track your expenses first. Experts say do it for a month, but I think you need more than that, you need at least three months to monitor and track your money spending. After three months you will know how much you are spending on what, where you need to cut your spending, and so on.
There are super cool and efficient budget trackers or budget managers mobile phone apps you can use to track your money spending. These money budgets apps make it so easy to track our spending on day-to-day money management. A few of them they will even let you review your spending reports.
You need to do this before you create a budget for yourself. You have got to find out where it’s broken first before you try to fix the problem. And it’s amazing what you will find. You will be surprised on how much money you spend on unnecessary stuff. I found out I spent more than half on what I earned each month. It’s not a good situation when your expenses are more than what you are earning or your income.
So once you get realistic on your spending habits, then you will be able to figure out how you can fix your money management problems. If you find out the problem is you need to earn more than you have been earning currently, at least you know the issue is. But if the problem is not an income issue, maybe it is, but if you can reduce your spending it will not be an issue, therefore you now know what you need is to create a budget that can accommodate your income and then stick to it.
- Minimize your splurging and be money savvy
We all have few items on our wish lists that we would like to splurge on our selves. And usually some of the items end up being collectible that we don’t even use. Other end up being non-collectible, you know what I mean, and fill up the space. How many of you have bought something before that was a little bit out of your budget, but yet refuse to use it or wear it because it was too fancy?
We do not need to splurge on things we do not need. We definitely do not need to splurge on ourselves every month especially when we know we cannot afford, or it’s going to put us in debt that we may be able to avoid.
I understand there will be times we will have desires to splurge on ourselves. We have worked hard, we have taken care most of our responsibilities, so we need to treat ourselves because we deserve a little bit of pampering. There is nothing wrong with that as long as we can afford it, and even if we can’t, I think we all deserve once a while some kind of splurging on our selves. If you ask me, splurging is a good thing. When I splurge on myself I somehow feel good emotionally, but I don’t want to do it too much to break my bank account or keep me on more debt.
Healthy money habits require us to think smart when it comes to managing our money. We can find creative ways to be money savvy. If it works for you to carry cash only instead of your debit or credit cards so that you can take control of your spending, then go for it. Some people like to use their cards so that they can keep track exactly how much they are spending including the cents. Some people rather pay with cash instead and collect the receipts at the end of each day and record daily what they have spent on their budget spreadsheets. This helps them to stay current on their money situations, therefore they don’t have to wait until it’s deducted from their bank accounts to know how much balance they have left.
Another thing can be instead of joining a gym and pay for yearly membership, you can choose to pay as you use the gym. If you have a job that may require you to travel every month, this means yearly membership will be no use for you because most of the time you won’t be around anyway to use the gym. You can be creative with your workout routines. For instance you can go to the gym once a week, and the rest of the days you can choose to run outside, or workout at home using recorded workout programs, or buy your own fitness and exercising equipments.
Another thing you can avoid is to eat out a lot. If cooking and staying in the kitchen is not your specialty like me, then it means lots of sandwiches and salads for us. You can save a lot of money just by not eating out on regular basis. Even though there are a few regions in Tanzania where they have four seasons weather, it’s usually summer year long here in Dar es Salaam city. If you are living in a tropical area and you have time and energy, you can have your own garden on your backyard where you can grow tomatoes, and all kinds of greens.
I also used to spend more money to get my hair done. I preferred to go to the saloon and have them put my hair extensions on because it was too much work for me. But the minute I found out you can do your own hair extensions at home using clip-in hair extensions, I said thank You Jesus.
Everybody has their own standards. Some people will lower their standards on other things, but keep high standards on other things. Some people would rather wait for items to go on sale and use coupons in order to shop so that they can also use or own quality and luxurious items. Some people do not mind to shop at second hand shops for example. It’s a matter of perspective, choices, and personal preferences.
It’s time for us to adopt a good approach to money. We can adopt these healthy money habits. We can improve our money management skills.
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