BEING FINANCIALLY FAITHFUL IN 2021
In challenging times, I cannot stress the need for financial awareness and literacy. For most, the tools to improve your financial situation are already in your possession. In fact, living within your means can be reality. It all starts with sacrifice. Ask yourself these questions?
Do you have a budget?
When discussing financial issues with people, I have realized that most people do not have a budget. They have no method of keeping track of what comes in and what goes out. Without my monthly budget sheet, I would be totally lost. I know that in any given month I will be only be paid twice, and I know what expenses need to be covered from each of those paychecks. This simple tracking allows me to understand what limits I have on my spending. It also leads the way to putting that occasional third paycheck directly into the savings account. If you have no clue what amounts should be in your budget for groceries or extras like grooming the dog or getting your nails done, track your habits for a month or two. Budgets are not made to create restrictions; they are just a guide, so you can achieve financial balance and reduce stress. A happy purse makes a happy person.
What time of year causes the most stress on your budget?
When kids were introduced into my life, the holidays became a major challenge financially. You want them to have everything you did not have as a child, so the Christmas tree had to have lots of gifts for each. Do you know that you are the worst enemy to your budget during Christmas? Kids honestly just want to enjoy your time and attention. You can give them the joy of opening presents and still stay within your budget. But when you know you are going to overspend, have a plan! My plan is my cash back bonus. Review my earnings below:
So basically, I made $482 to spend at Christmas without lifting a finger. How does it work? Whether you have credit card balances or not, you can designate one card that offers a cash back as your payoff card. This means that for the normal expenses that will you pay for in cash monthly, use the card instead and pay it off each month. I'm blessed to be in a position to have only one card, so I use my credit card just like a debit card - for almost everything and I pay it off by the first of each month. In addition to earning cash back on everything, I also can track my balance and be aware of my spending. If I go over, I just carry a small balance into the next month and pay it off before the 28-day grace period to avoid interest. I love this plan and the extra cash at Christmas is the icing on the cake! I use my credit card to make money instead of getting in the interest trap - been there and done that!
What can you do?
Again, I cannot stress how difficult this year has been. Money stresses can affect your health and relationships. Take some time this month to consider ways you can save money or create a plan for saving money. Financial awareness and literacy involve being proactive about your choices. There are some very creative ways that people have come up with to make sure they have the money need to keep afloat. I remember someone sharing with me years ago that they would always round up when writing amounts in their check register (like if they spent $6.07 they would subtract $7 in their log) and ended up with $500 extra in the bank. That may not work today with online banking, but never underestimate the power of creating a strategy and seeing it through. With that said, I hope you have an awesomely Blessed and totally rewarding 2021. Hugs, Carla