Take the Reins on Your Finances in 2019
Take the Reins on Your Finances: How to Be Better With Money in 2019
Everyone has the dream of financial independence. As children we wish for our own money to buy toys and games. As teenagers we want money to buy clothes, accessories, video games and all the new technology available to us. And the need grows exponentially with our age and our growing wants and responsibilities. Unfortunately, not everyone reaches the level of financial freedom we want. In fact, most people do not, including many of the celebrities and personalities we see ‘flossing’ and showing off the expensive items on television, magazines and newspapers.
In reality, many of us spend our lives stuck in a financial rat race of wants, needs, owed, borrowed and bought. Many of us spend our working careers paying off debt we made at an early age or at later stages in life. Now there aren’t any claims being made of financial genius or wizardry. However, with some level of guidance you will see some improvement in your relative finances. And with the beginning of the new month looming; an opportunity has presented itself to start afresh.
5 Steps To Taking Control Of Your Finances in 2019:
1. Start Where You Are
The first and possibly the most important step is to assess your current financial status. Similar to my advice of making a list of persons you are planning to gift in my post, 5 Ways to Save Money during Christmas , writing down your current financial status is an important step in beginning your financial journey. Look at your means of attaining money and look at your spending patterns and habits. Are you spending more than you are bringing in? Are you an impulsive spender? Do you love to splurge on a specific item or set of items more than anything else? Carefully and objectively examine yourself and note any trends you see in your behaviour and habits.
2. Make a Plan
After you’ve made your initial assessment; the next step is to make a plan of action. Write a list of your ultimate financial goals for this stage in your life or it may just be an item that you truly love and would like to buy for yourself, or a current goal you want to achieve. From the goals, make a plan as to how you are going to achieve them.
3. Exercise Some Self-control
Now comes the hard part, exercising a decent level of self control. As a teen, it is easy to be tempted by things we see and want or what is the major fad. However, it is important to determine what is a want and what is a need. Whenever you feel the urge to buy and item think to yourself ‘Do I really need this or do I just want it?’ If the answer is just want, then you should put it back and move on. Think of how much money you’ll save in the long run. Remember the popular Jamaican proverbs: ‘Every mikkle mek a mukkle’ and ‘One one cocoa full basket’.
4. Check out your options
If you’ve managed to maintain your self control and have reduced or stopped buying the unnecessary items; then it’s fair to assume that you would have some extra money lying around. Now it’s to decide what to do with it. Remember it is never too early to open a savings account. Go to the respected banks or credit unions and find out about all the savings options available to you and choose one that best suits your needs. Once you have an account or if you already had an account, then you could make it a personal goal that every month you place a specific amount of money in your account. You may think it’s not much, but it adds up in the end. Another option is to look at investing, however, this is quite risky and you could end up losing some of your earnings so you should do some amount of research before you do so.
5. Track your expenses and savings
You should try to keep a record of how you spend, save and invest your money and see how much progress you’ve made since you began. This can help you identify any shortcomings or positive developments in your spending habits. You can also note prices and see if you can get better value for money elsewhere for certain items. You may need to think about getting a side hustle or a secondary source of income to supplement any financial shortcomings.
These are only some basic ways to get you started on the right track. They are simple but effective steps, that if correctly implemented and followed will help you on your path to financial success. Ideally, one truly aims to generate their own income for their true financial freedom. But until we can get to true financial independence, let’s aim to be financially responsible.