One of the frustrating parts of adulting, is managing your finances, at least for me- it’s definitely NOT the sexy part and for the most part as a single parent, I find it frustrating to not have as much expendable cash at the end of each month to “make it rain” with. So, during lockdown, I decided to take McGill’s Personal Finance course- as a means to remove the daunting feeling when it comes to money matters. I also set some financial goals for myself and in doing so, I am attempting to hold myself accountable; within that process it got me thinking about some of the things I wish I had known sooner when it comes to money. So, this week on the blog, I share some of the gems shared with me, but also what I wished I had known much, much, much sooner when it comes to money. Have a read and get to saving!
Don’t think of saving money as a punishment. Think of saving money as a lifestyle change and a means to freedom.Emily G. Stroud
Money, money, money- it’s what makes the world go around, it’s what we literally need to survive in this capitalist society, but when it comes down to it, knowing how to use your money intelligently and making smart, long lasting decisions with your money- it’s not something that comes easily, let alone naturally to most people. It’s definitely knowledge I wished was given to me at a much younger age, when I had more time to apply it. If I will speak for myself, I have always felt daunted by the idea of money. And because numbers and number crunching give me low key anxiety, it’s been something I have avoided. In turn, I never really made any foundational, long term money decisions. It’s not necessarily a regret of some sort, but I do wish I had laid the groundwork sooner and it would feel like I was doing less catching up. That being said, there is no time like the present and especially since we can’t change the past and sulking about it won’t make it happen either! I don’t think I need to say this, but I will- I am not an expert and I do not profess to be; but what I do know is what I have experienced personally or tips I wished I had been brave enough to explore. That being said I am also trying to share the idea that it’s not as scary or overwhelming as we might think it to be to take big adulting steps towards being more financially stable, after all, we can take those shaky steps together.
If you’re saving, you’re succeeding.Steve Burkholder
- It’s never too late to start: This is literally one of the top ones for myself, I spent a lot of time avoiding and in some ways due to my lack of knowledge when it comes to finances. I tend to do that when I am overwhelmed, I procratinate. But at the end of the day, if you begin today, you are still 1 day better off than you were yesterday. Avoiding isn’t going to help and at the end of the day, ANY step in the direction of saving, is a good decision. Putting what you can and putting it away consistently is where it makes the biggest impact. Like everything else, being consistent with any goal will get you much, much further. Simply put. Just begin, trust me.
- Pay yourself 1st: This advise was given to me by Bae, who is far more well versed when it comes to money things, but he raised a great point about putting money aside every pay cheque or every month for yourself. We pay bills, we pay for food, we pay for all of the things we need to survive ( rightly so ), but when the month comes to an end, we never pay ourselves. Even if you can only afford about $10, put it aside into an account or a means in which it will grow; be it through stocks or through compounding interest ( this may be the source of another blog post, because whew child! ), as time goes by that $10 will be MUCH more valuable and will have grown. In the interest of transparency, have I done this yet? I’m working on it, ok? From the areas I have read up about, it’s suggested to save at least 10% of your bi-weekly income every pay, which to me- doesn’t seem too daunting and that’s the route I will be taking.
- Find a way to make your money work for you: Touching on the previous point, making your money work for you is one of the smartest ways to use your dollar bills. Having the money invested, which ( hopefully ) continues to bring you some form of income, be it passive income through dividends, this allows you to have more than 1 income stream; which automatically removes the pressure and potentially the focus on solely your pay cheque. It may even be one of the means in which you “pay yourself first”, so it’s definitely a win-win. I can’t admit to doing this myself as of yet, as I am still looking into which company I’d like to begin this with and if I’m honest, I can’t quite figure it out, so I’m still researching- hold that thought.
It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits.
- Don’t be scared: There’s a lot of lingo and fluffy words people tend to use and that can make the whole task so much more daunting and overwhelming. Feeling like you don’t earn enough to be able to chip some aside in order to save to a point in which you cannot see right now. We all tend to want instant gratification and instant results and this tends to go against this whole process. Though it might be a lot to dive into, don’t be scared to do it. If you need a professional, get one. If you need to read more articles and blog posts, do it. Ask your family and friends, people you trust. Anything that will empower you, and allow you to take control of your finances and put you in the driving seat for your goals and the life you want to live. Having financial stability will give you a form of peace as well.
- Automate It: If you can and have the means, then one of the best ways to meet your financial goals or targets is to set up something where you no longer have to think about it. A bit-weekly withdrawal into a savings account, takes away you having to constantly remember, but also like magic, it’ll grow faster and more consistently, this helps when you’re building your cushion fund. Because I know for me, removing the option of having to remember yet another thing, is amazing. Lord knows my brain dies on an average Thursday evening, I can’t be left to look after numbers as well.
- Focus on your why: If I can be honest, at the end of every pay cheque when all the bills are paid and the fridge has been restocked, I sit back and look at my bank account and I have to admit- I am not happy with it. I know I am not alone, but I find it frustrating to be working so hard, paying it all and feeling like I can’t catch a break or catch my breath. When the feeling begins to feel overwhelming, I re-shift my focus, what I tell myself is that my bills are paid, my daughter is taken care of. We have a lot. We have come a long way. We are safe. I focus onto my why. Because I know for me, as a single parent my main focus is, financial liberty. I want to be able to take my daughter on adventures and not be counting cents. I want to be able to have a life that was lived and though there are targets and goals, in the now- I am happy. It doesn’t take away from reaching where I want to, but it allows me a cushion to feel proud of how far I have come.
Money goals are hard, even harder when you’re doing it alone. It can feel overwhelming when you look at all the expenditures vs the deposits and wonder just how you’ll work your magic, but if there’s one thing I can pass on- it’s to take small steps towards your goals. Small as they may be, they will have a great impact. But also, no matter what, recognize just how blessed you are to be in a position to even think about how you can save and invest in your future. Sometimes perspective if literally the only way forward. Don’t look at what you’d like and what you don’t have. Focus on what you do have, but also chisel away what you can. It’s something, even if it doesn’t seem like a big, sexy amount, a small amount over a long period of time- makes an impact. So, begin.