No matter if you have a lot of money or only a modest income, it is really important to manage your available funds as well as possible. It’s been said that it takes a smart person to make money, but an even smarter person to hang on to it. You’ve probably heard the story of the person who won lotto or Powerball only to be broke again within 12 months.
How how do you know if you are actually good with money?
If the following 5 signs apply to you, it probably means that you are good with money.
You Have a Strong Budget
This means that you have made a list or spreadsheet of all your expenses on a weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis. After all, some expenses like rent, mortgage, electricity, car registration or holidays, do not fall due every week.
However, it is important to make provision for the annual expenses, and not panic when they fall due. Add up all your expenses and divide by 52. You now know what the maximum amount is that you can spend each week.
Don’t forget those expenses that only happen occasionally, such as car and house insurances. Also, you’ll need a car service and new car tyres every so often.
Compare the budget with your income. If your weekly or monthly income is greater than your expenses, then you are on good ground. If you expenses exceed your income, you will have to trim some of your expenses.
A good objective is to focus on paying yourself first, rather than paying everyone else first and then looking to see what’s left over for you. For most that’s usually nothing and then, frequently having to rely on credit cards when there’s more month than pay cheque.
You Avoid Waste
You buy only as much as you need. This applies to clothing as well as to food. If you throw food out on a regular basis or at all, you are wasting money. You take a shopping list with you to the supermarket and avoid buying specials unless you really need the item. You avoid fast food, and take a ‘doggy bag’ from restaurants if you could not finish your meal.
Try to condition yourself to think creatively before spending any money. Think, do I really need this item? Is there another alternative that could be used?
Multi-millionaire friends of ours from California on a trip to Australia many years ago wanted to find out how to make Sticky Date Pudding. This was before Google was around, so I suggested they go to the News Agents and look through the Family Circle and Women’s Weekly Magazines for the recipe.
About 5 days later they came back from a day at Manly Beach and excitingly said “Eureka, we found it, we found the recipe”!
I said, “That’s great which one did you buy?
“Buy”? He said. No, I didn’t need to buy anything, I read the recipe out and Linda (his wife) wrote it down.
There’s a lesson in there for all of us. We all seem to follow the least line of resistance and just readily pull the wallet out and part with our money. Instead, we should think twice, use a little brain power and consider if there’s an alternative.
You Pay All Your Bills by the Due Date
This includes your credit cards. You don’t only pay the minimum amount, since interest on credit cards is so high.
Try to avoid credit cards that have expensive annual fees. If you retain a balance on your credit card/’s at the end of each month, thens shop around and get a basic credit card that has the lowest interest rate you can find.
Some bills, apart from credit cards, attract interest if they are paid late. You always make your mortgage payments on time, since the interest rate increases, sometimes by as much as 4% per annum, on the arrears.
You Have a Dedicated Savings Account
You have set up a direct monthly transfer of a fixed amount into a savings account. This is for special purchases like furniture, a holiday or the deposit on your first home. It is really important to get into the habit of saving money as early as possible.
This is one of the key’s to creating a better quality of life. As soon as you get your pay, you transfer a predetermined amount into a savings account. Somewhere between 5-10% of your regular pay is a good place to start. The idea is, you pay yourself first and then manage the budget around what is left.
You Look Around for the Best Deal When You Need Something
Comparing products and services from one provider to another can save you lots of money, whether you are in the market for household appliances, baby furniture or car seats, credit cards or other financial services. Many similar products are available and you can make significant savings by doing some research before you commit yourself.
If you have a mortgage or a credit card balance, have you done a health check on these financial products lately? For credit cards, get on the internet and do some comparison shopping. If you have a mortgage, why not have your mortgage broker give you a health check. They’ll be happy to do that for you free of charge.
Sally Wolcott writes for creditcard.com.au , she worked for over 30 years in the areas of both corporate and personal insolvencies, advising numerous clients facing bankruptcy, as well as acting for financial institutions in the area of debt recovery. For the last 20 years she operated her own legal practice in North Sydney and is now retired.
Okay, How About a Bit of Fun!
A wealthy, dying gentleman, laying upon his deathbed, requested that his priest, his bank manager and his lawyer come and join him at his bedside.
He told all of them that he wanted to be entombed, when he eventually passed, along with all of his cash. He then provided them with two hundred and fifty thousand pounds each and told them to toss the cash onto the top of his coffin, after it had been lowered into the burial plot, right after he had died.
A short time afterwards the old gentleman kicked the bucket and was laid to rest inside of a week.
Afterwards at the wake, the 3 men were having a chat during which, the vicar was all of a sudden weighed down with a sense of guilt. He then felt compelled to confess to the other pair he had in fact, only tossed one half of the cash on top of the coffin, given that the church required critical maintenance to the roof structure.
This got to the bank manager who thought, ‘What the heck if we’re going to have a confession,’ he then admitted to the other two that he also had only tossed half of the money he had in, given that the ‘Credit Crunch’ was now starting to hit hard and he really needed some extra funds for his bank in order to stop it from going under. The lawyer then jumped in and sternly told the other two, ‘This is an absolutely pathetic, shameful thing that has been done by both of you. I put a cheque in for the total sum!”
About About Dave Fleming
Dave is enthusiastic and fascinated by the digital and social media worlds. He is passionate and enjoys entrepreneurial pursuits, wealth creation financial strategies, health, fitness as well as cooking. Dave is the webmaster at www.mastermortgagebrokersydney.com.au, which is an information website pertaining to loans. He has a deep commitment towards writing about and helping people understand the basics of how the financial world works.