After I finished from secondary school, I worked for my father for one year and in that year, he taught me things about money that would have taken a very long time to learn on my own. These money habits helped me graduate from university with over £12,000 in my savings account and which became very helpful when the job search took longer than expected.
These habits are honestly pretty simple and if you are consistent you will reap the rewards soon enough.
KNOW THE STATE OF YOUR ACCOUNTS
Do you know that a lot people that go bankrupt do so by losing track of their finances and spendings. Surely if you know what was going in and coming out every month you will be able to make simple adjustments. In the Bible, Proverbs 27:23 in the King James version says “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds’’ I believe the writer was talking about money and the key is being diligent.
My father used to call me up at random times and ask me for financial updates (I hated that), he expected me to know how much was in the house, the average of what was going out in a month and to keep an eye on investment returns coming in. I was ‘flipping’ 16 and wanted to watch TV but I had to do this consistently and over time, it became a habit. I now have realised that the months I did not keep track of my accounts I tend to overspend. Thanks to online banking this is so much easier, you can set a reminder in your phone to remind you to check your balance and outgoings once a month. This a good habit that will help you in the long run.
LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS
This is a habit that takes some getting used to, especially in a world that seems to reward people with fame for showing off and living large. Let’s play a little game of “Do you know” for a minute.
- Do you know that most musicians/celebrities take out huge loans to finance their lifestyle and tours to impress you. (Watch Toni Braxton’s Interview with Oprah after going bankrupt)
- Do you know the average American adult is the target of over 3000 commercial ads in a single day and now that people are getting immune to ads they are using your favourite YouTuber, blogger or Instagrammer to sell you things you don’t need. (New York Times)
- Do you know that a lot of YouTubers/ Instagrammers return most of the clothes they show you in their haul videos AND a lot of makeup and beauty products were given to them for free.
- Do you know that thanks to social media the pressure to keep up with the Jones has intensified even though most of what they have is on credit And the average 20-30 something year old woman will be in debt for 20 years longer than their parents.
Living below your means is the first step to building wealth as it releases funds that can be invested and that you can build on. To do this, you need to be aware of your incomings and outgoing which takes us back to the first point. When you figure this out, you slowly reduce your outgoings.
GET A FUN FUND
A ‘fun fund’ is money set aside to have fun with, you know to have your YOLO moments with. When my husband and I first got married we decided to create a direct debit to put aside £1 a day to used for night outs, meals, cinema etc. I know this sounds so unromantic but it has saved us a lot of money and money-related arguments. Don’t get me wrong we do things, treats and presents for each other outside the fun fund but for the everyday couple things like Friday night takeaway or cinema it is the fun fund that decides. So if we have money in the account we can do something or if we are running low we can eat what is in the fridge. This will really help you cut back if you are a spur of the moment kind of person and will stop you dipping into your saving just to satisfy a pizza craving :)!
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR BANK
Call your bank and book a meeting with an account manager, anyone can do this and you don’t have to have a lot of money to do this. When you go to your bank ask for the best possible offers available for you and do not be afraid to negotiate percentages offered, for example, Lloyds Bank UK offer their customers Gourmet membership cards, cinema tickets, cash back in a lot of shops and interest on your account balance. I have a few friends with Lloyds that don’t know, don’t ask and don’t get!
You can also take advantage of having an interest free cash ISA.I used to meet with an account manager every 3-6months when I was a student and ended up graduating with over £12,000 in my saving and my bank once paid for a business class ticket when I had to take a trip back to home. I will tell you more about how I did that in another post. The point here is to have a good relationship with your banker it will save you and make you money.
With this habit, it is important to follow your conscience. I want to say that I do not know it all but what I want to share is what I have experienced. I am a Christian and I believe in tithing and giving but the last thing I want to do is put my convictions on you. For those that do not know what tithing is, it is giving 1/10 of your income to God through your local church. Over the years I have found tithing to have a great benefit in my finances and I personally do believe that what the Bible said about rebuking the devourer works( Malachi 3:11). I have found the little in my account lasts a lot longer when I tithe. If you don’t agree with me or share my beliefs about tithing, giving to a local charity or giving towards a cause you’re passionate about makes a lot of difference to your finances.