How to Actually be Good with Money
To be honest, staying good in terms of my finances is something that I am constantly working on.
I will have days when I save and days when all I do is spend. I am not perfect and though I have a whole lot of posts talking about money management, I still stumble in terms of owning my budget, committing on my financial goals and so on.
The idea of being good with money is a skill one will need to master.
As Christians, we have the term called Financial Stewardship that simply explains that God gave us the anointing to take care of the wealth that He had blessed us with. He is the one and only source of our prosperity and He gave us the ability to get wealthy.
We all have an innate ability to be good with money. All it takes is for us to act.
How to be Good with Money in 8 Easy Steps
Step 1. Become aware of your current financial status
Your current financial status is such an important metric. An integral part of one's journey to financial freedom is having a clear picture of his or her financial situation.
Knowing your current financial status is not that difficult. You only need to calculate your net worth. That's it.
The basic idea about the net worth is simple. Your net worth is the sum of your assets minus the sum of your liabilities. In mathematical terms:
Total Assets – Total Liabilities = Net Worth.
Once you know your net worth, you will have a better idea of your current financial status.
It's been years since I started tracking my net worth by the numbers. Using the formula Total Assets – Total Liabilities = Net Worth, I manage to come up with my current value.
This helped me make sound goals and decisions in life. It’s good to see where I am at financially versus where I’ve come from. How much my money have grown and where it went.
If there’s one activity I want you to do as soon as possible, it will be to calculate your net worth.
Why you should calculate your net worth? According to this post by Investor Junkie there are six reasons why you should bother calculating for your current net worth.
Reason #1. Net worth is the most accurate measure of wealth.
Do you want to know how rich you are? Calculating your net worth is not just the easiest but also the most accurate way you could measure your wealth.
Reason #2. It’s a way to track your financial progress
Net-worth gives you an idea how you’ve been doing financially. Are there debts you need to focus more? Are your savings enough for retirement?
Reason #3. Moving the financial focus beyond your income
At the end of the day you’ll realize it’s really not about how much money you earn but what you do with what you earn that matters.
Reason #4. Avoids the over-emphasis on asset value alone
When it comes to net worth, you are measuring not just the total asset you have but also the liabilities. This give you an understanding how credit card debts, personal loans and other liabilities can have negative impact on your overall wealth.
Reason #5. Puts your debt level in proper perspective
And whether for a new house or a new car, your net worth will be most often than not get asked. Knowing your net worth not only helps with the application but it also serve as a guide on up to how much loan can you really afford. Sometimes we forget how much debt we have. This hinders us to really work on our way of being debt-free. We need to have a clear number on how much we owe. This is the first step to getting free of debt for life.
Reason #6. Important in applying for a loan
If you’re getting a loan whether for a new house or a new car, your net worth will be most often than not get asked. Knowing your net worth not only helps with the application but it also serve as a guide on up to how much loan can you really afford.
Step 2. Assess where you are lacking discipline
One lesson I learned over the years of running a personal finance blog is the word “FINANCIAL DISCIPLINE”.
Each one of us should practice discipline in terms of our finances.
One main excuse why people don’t bother saving money is “eh wala na naming masi-save sa dami ng gastusin”.
I’ll tell you honestly today, that no matter how much your current expenses or debts is there will always be a tiny little amount of money that you could save. Change your lifestyle and think about the long term.
There will always be items in our life that we need to stop spending too much. Having the discipline to cut off on Alcohol, Cigarette Smoking, Newspaper, Coffee, Load and Fast Food/Snacks… will lead you saving more than how much you have expected.
You will be surprised how quitting your vices and unnecessary spending can boost your overall savings! Bad habits are extremely costly not just for your wallet but for your health too! If you begin saving the money that you would normally spent smoking, drinking or gambling, etc. the faster you can build an emergency fund!
My dad was a previous chain smoker but right after our bunso came, he quit. He mention how much he wanted to live a longer life to see our bunso grow old! Now he has been smoke-free for 16 years!
When you are encouraged to do something bad just think of the following:
- A cup of coffee from specialty shop costs 170 pesos
Multiply by 30 days, you could have saved 5100 pesos already.
- A pack of cigarette will cost you 80 pesos
Multiply by 10 packs, you could have saved 800 pesos already.
- A night of clubbing will cost you more or less 2000 pesos
Multiply by four Saturdays, you could have saved 8000 pesos already.
See how much of your money is wasted on your vices?
Discipline gives you the possibility to really create a bigger opportunity for savings.
Step 3. Save first and foremost before anything else
There’s no mistake that learning how to save money each month is one of the fundamental step towards financial freedom.
Your savings could affect how you live your life, achieve your goals and shape your future.
Everyone should save money each month. It’s a must, especially if you want to take charge of your finances one day.
Most confuse saving money from investing money.
Saving is income/money not spent. It is the act of preserving your money for future needs. You save money for emergencies (emergency fund), a needed vacation (travel fund) or forthcoming retire life (retirement fund).
When you invest your money, you are basically putting it at work. It is the act of spending your money on vehicles that may earn interest. You invest money to beat inflation, to grow your current net worth and to reach your financial bucket list faster.
Saving should come first before investing. You need a proper money cushion ready to use whenever you need it.
Invest only when you secured a proper savings. Why?
Because here’s the deal:
If you jump in the investment bandwagon without a saving bucket, you are endangering your finances. Investing comes with inevitable risk unlike saving.
Two Things Worth Sharing:
1. It’s a must that you save on a regular basis
Saving money should be more than just a task but a rather a habit for everyone. And you can never develop a habit if you are not doing it regularly. Once the paycheck comes automatically save a portion. Live with the rest for your everyday expenses. Again, treat it as a payment you will give to yourself. You deserve it because of your hard work. READ: 40 Financial Habits For Life
2. It’s a must to budget
I know, I know I sound too pushy in the whole budget thing here in SavingsPinay but it’s just how things work. You can never save without a budget. A spending plan is everything you need to have an idea whether you are over spending your money or to track down where your money goes.
Create a budget today if you want to grow up happy and still be able to live in the lifestyle you’ve wanted. If that’s the case then you need to start prioritizing your retirement savings.
The moment you had your first earning automatically SAVE.
Do not let savings become an option rather treat it is a priority.
What is the first thing you do when you get your paycheck? Isn’t it nice that you pay yourself first before allocating money on expenses and other stuff?
Saving Money is more than just having a reserve amount. It means prioritizing yourself! The essence of saving money is to pay yourself first.
Remember the formula Income minus Savings equals Expenses.
As soon as you get your paycheck transfer 500 pesos to your emergency fund! Then you can now pay your needs, your wants and your miscellaneous spending!
Step 4. Talk to Person who are also good with money
As the saying goes, “Tell me who your friends are and I tell you who you are”.
Now if you want to be good when it comes to money then make sure that you surrounding yourself with people who will help you and will encourage you to stay financially fit.
Find your own mentor or accountability partner.
Mentor vs. Accountability Partner
A mentor is someone who has way more knowledge and/or experience than you in a specific area and guides you.
An accountability partner works together with you.
He or she may not exactly be knowledgeable and/or experienced in the goal you are reaching for but he or she is more than willing to support you along the way.
Unlike mentorship where you are being coached on how you do what you do, partnership is more of working together.
You have a pact between each other on how you will do what you do and you are called to make sure that both are equally accountable.
Make sure you are surrounding yourself with successful people if you want to be successful yourself. The very people who can influence you to strive for the better.
Step 5. Track your progress
If you really want to be good in terms of how you manage your money then you might want to start tracking your progress.
How do you do this?! Secure a new or old notebook where you can record your monthly savings as well as your spending.
You may want to do this so that you have a vivid idea on the growth of your money.
Step 6. Set your Personal and Financial Goals
Goal setting is a great way one can start start the year, the month or any new day right. Once your goals are written down, it will be way easier for your to follow with action.
Goals are critical to financial success and learning how to set smart goals in life is one of the smart money moves you can do in your 20s. Craft a comprehensive financial goals which can act as a guide on how your finances will be the next days, months or years to come
First, you want to make sure that you make each of your goal as S-M-A-R-T as possible. What does this mean?
Specific – for a goal to work it should be focused and specific. “To be rich” is never a goal but a dream or a wish instead.
Measurable – Make sure that you can easily measure whether you have hit your target. Include words that will help you realize whether you have achieved the goal already.
Attainable – is your goal doable? Make a list of activities to support your overall goal.
Relevant – constant review will help you identify whether your goals are still smart or you are just wasting your time and effort. Keep your actions as relevant as possible to what you really want to achieve in the future.
Time-bound – set a deadline for your goals so you can commit to them better.
If you find setting goals hard then you might what to begin by asking the following questions;
- How do you want your finances to be at the end of 2017?
- What are your financial plans for the rest of the year?
- Where do you see yourself 3-5 years from now?
Step 7. Learn from your mistakes
If you are currently in debt then make sure that you are not dragging yourself more on bigger debt.
Treat the wound while it is still fresh so that it won’t leave a scar in your financial life. If in the past you have an investment gone wrong then learn from the mistake and take think better this time in how you will invest your money.
Step 8. Increase Your Cash Flow
If you really want to step up in your game when it comes to money management then learn to increase your cash flow.
Do not be happy with just one source of income instead step up your game and find other means for you to earn. Everyone needs a hobby, a side hustle or a passion for profit project to do to be able to stay balanced.
I have written blog post called 8 Reasons To Start a Side Hustle and I believe the post could help you better in life.
If you haven’t considered making extra money through working on the side here’s my challenge for you.
- Write down what you are passionate about. Is it taking photos? Writing online? Doing yours and others hair and makeup?
- Find resources from web to actual people who have pursued the same passion and learn how they did it.
- Just do it. You don’t need technical skills to start a blog. Read my post Guide on How To Start a Blog to know how. You don’t need to think a lot on what side business idea to start. Here’s a list you start with. Just do it. Start doing what you really enjoy.
Final Notes from SavingsPinay
I know that everyone wants to be good in terms of handling their money but just remember financial stewardship and you will surely realign everything. Let God give you the peace of mind that you need. Acknowledge Him on the good times and the bad times.
Izza of SavingsPinay helps Filipinos bridge the financial literacy gap one content at a time by providing insights and tips on budgeting, saving, investing, side hustle and growing your net worth. Aside from this blog she also writes at www.izzaglinofull.com, a beauty and lifestyle blog for frugal Pinays and manages, www.izzagevents.com, a wedding and event business since 2011. For inquiries, topic suggestions or future collaborations email her at firstname.lastname@example.org