“Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this.” ~Dave Ramsey
This is part 4 of a 5 part series: Reshape your Thinking, Visualize and Plan, start a business, SAVE YOUR MONEY, Invest in your future.
I know…saving your money seems like an unobtainable goal when you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, the bills are barely getting paid and by the end of your loooong 40hr work week [2X], you don’t have enough money to even treat yourself to something on the dollar menu. I get it! Been there, done that and wrote the book on it. Now I’m writing the book on how to make your money work for you. Like I always say, “It isn’t how much you earn but how you spend it.
Fact: Blacks are the number one consumer is the United States of America. What this says is that we have MORE than enough money to set to the side for a rainy day, a sunny day, a spring day, etc…. Black people are not broke, we just spend our money on frivolous items. I heard someone say the other day that Black people tend to spend their money on what they want and beg for what they need. Rarely, do we sacrifice for the things that we need and because of this attitude we are behind financially.
I wanted to put together an easy-to-follow plan to help you save your money, even though you feel like it’s impossible. I follow these steps faithfully and even put a few of my co-workers on a similar plan. As a result, we are all little richer 😉
1. Analyze your spending habits: The number one problem to “brokenness” is what we spend our money on. Most of us swipe our debit cards without a second thought and before we know it we only have $1.85 left in out bank account [true story] and can’t figure out where the money has gone. To analyze your spending habits, look through the last 90 days of your bank statements. Add up every purchase that wasn’t a necessity and no, daily mocha latte’s do not count as a necessary purchase, and see what it totals. When I did this exercise I recognized that I was spending $300 a month on junk from the Dollar Tree, fast food, cosmetics at CVS and more. $300!
2. Pay yourself first: I was watching Oprah and Robert Kiyosaki (author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series) was guest. This was the first time I’d heard of him and right away his story sparked an interest in me. I was inspired by his story and I follow Kiyosaki’s career to this day. Although he offered some great advice on the show, most of what he said had been said before. However, one thing stood out and that one thing has stayed with me all these years. “Pay yourself first,” he said, even before your creditors. Sure, this sounds crazy and it’s easy to say when you don’t have creditor’s blowing up your cell-phone. I know because I thought the same thing.As this episode was airing, I was a twenty-something, young lady, who made some very poor financial choices and I was dodging those creditors he was telling me not to pay. And as he continued to explain his theory, the more I realized if I was going to dodge my creditors I might as well benefit from it. [***side note: I am in no way saying disregard your responsibilities. However, if you have a plan to increase your income, you will eventually be stable enough to satisfy your debt.]
The idea of paying yourself first is setting aside an emergency fund (6months to 1 year of monthly expense) but most importantly you want to set aside money to build wealth. I started by putting away $10-20 dollars from each check. This amount isn’t going to purchase you a brand new home but it helps you develop good spending and saving habits and you can begin to increase what you save as your income increases.
3. Reduce bills: Reducing your bills is self-explanatory. Analyze your bills and see where adjustments can be made. For example: I went from Sprint to Boost Mobile (saving $70 monthly), premium cable to basic (saving $40 monthly), and debt consolidation (saving $100 monthly). I shaved by bills by $210 a month on expense, plus the $300 I was spending a month on what-not’s. See, I wasn’t so broke after all. And since I was already use to spending that money it was easy for me to save.
4. Look for ways to increase your income: The blog article I wrote last month was about starting your own business. Your business can be small and structured to fulfill one or multiple needs. For example, start a business that brings in a few hundred dollars a month. That $300 might not seem like a lot but it can pay your car note, insurance, cable. You can use that money to get your hair done, nails done or whatever else makes you happy. I added the link to last month’s article so you can get some ideas on starting your very own business.
I hope these simple, easy to follow, tips were helpful
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” ~Maya Angelou
Photo Source Credits
Ebony.(2013).the 6 Biggest Money Mistakes Black People Make. Retrieved on December 10, 2015 from http://www.ebony.com/career-finance/the-6-money-mistakes-black-people-make-660#axzz3tyfiv7vz