When I was younger, my mom, a vibrant and creative single mother of three, had us save up for new bikes. It may seem strange to some of you, but after growing up to find out that the only thing tighter than our budgets was our love for each other. Therefore, dropping bug bucks on bikes for three girls all at once was not an immediate option. So saving served a practical need.
But through that process, I learned so much more than just how to actually save for something you want (which is a valuable trait in and of itself) but I also learned the value of every dollar. Everything I earned became one step closer to the things I wanted. Though that season of saving, I learned not only how to save, but the importance of it. And that bike in the end meant so much more than a few fun rides, it meant an accomplishment I earned through these lessons.
Now I am in no way a financial coach or guru, but life has taught me a thing or two about making money work for me. Most of what I learned sprung from that one experience and has been compounded as I grew up. Here are the best pieces of financial advice I have ever got:
Create a Budget and Stick To It
We have talked budgets here before. Budgets are a vital tool to see where your finances are going, how much you can save, and how much you can spend. They key is sticking with the budget. No point in sitting to create a budget you have no intention on sticking to, after all. Be disciplined with your money and it will be good to you, especially when you need it.
However, make sure you Create Margins
Within your budget, there should be a little wiggle room for what I like to call fun fun. This is that little extra cash you take out to do something for you. But this margin isn't just for that new beauty product you want to try, treating yourself to a new dress, but its also in case of a minor emergency or if something comes up. Planning this way allows you to have some cash on hand should anything minor arises.
Use Creative Ways to Save
As you can see, I have plenty of ways that I save cash. Whether its that I don't ever spend change, instead choosing to fill cups of it to save for later on or automatic savings in a high yield savings account, there are tons of ways to take even small portions of money and saving it for a rainy day in your finances or a sunny day on a vacation.
Think of your purchases in time spent Earning
This has to be the best piece of advice I have ever received. Why? Because it reframes the way I think about my money almost instantly. Money is an easier commodity to come by than time. Money is a tool that will always replenish itself. Time cannot be replenished. Once its gone, it is gone, and whatever you did with it is all you have left, even if it is a nice paycheck.
Let's say there is a bag I like (I don't need it, but it is pretty cool), and the bag is $150. Nothing major. I have it to do. But before I even think about laying down that kind of cash on something I don't need and I'm not really in love with, I have to think, I had to work X amount of hours to afford this bag. More than likely, I end up putting the thing back.
Those are mine. What are some great money lessons you learned. Comment below!