Why is it that everyone expects you to have your financial game on point; savings, mortgage, bills paid on time and no overdraft? But nobody ever teaches you how to become financially independent! As a teenager, most of us grow up in this cocoon of our parents financial backing and then wham, your 16 with your first job and nobody to tell you how to spend it. My version wasn’t even that glorious.
I had to learn the hard way and I’m more fortunate today because that feeling of being broke, owing so much and pay day being 28 days a way, I do not miss that! I remember working with a good friend at the time; we would plan to meet on pay day, spend 75% of what took a month to earn and the next day would be spent comforting and reassuring each other that we were defiantly under paid. We wasn’t in case you wondered, just 16 and financially uneducated!
I remember not checking my bank account out of fear and I don’t want to be in that position again.
As a young person its hard to know when to stop; the pressures of trying to keep up with peers, trying to understand who you are and just enjoying life can be very expensive.
Through my experiences, I would like to share some tips which can help you to become more financially responsible and on the way to financial freedom.
LAY IT ALL OUT
Make a list of all your direct debits and don’t forget to record those which are not automatically withdrawn. You need to accept your outgoings, that way you can figure out where the money is being spent. The next step is to identify how much money you have coming in and only include what comes in consistently, i.e every month.
So now you have this figured out, you need to differentiate from what is necessary (dinner ingredients) and what is luxury (restaurant). Place the luxury items aside for now and minus the necessities from what you have coming in.
DEAD THE DEBT
Your debt will fall under the necessities but don’t let the minimum payments hold you prisoner. Contact each company, find out how much you owe and always try to pay more than your minimum.
OK, so lets put that luxury money to use;
Instead of just declining outings, take the money you would have spent and place it in a debt jar. At the end of the month, pick a debt, preferably the smaller one and use that money to minus the debt quicker. Can you imagine if you did this every month?
I AIN’T COMING OUT
Be honest with your friends, that way nobody starts to catch feelings. Explain your new financial mindset and let them know you are trying to be more responsible. Calculate what you can afford each month, maybe that is 1 or 2 dinners/outings and let them know if you have maxed out your social credit for that calendar month. I got called everything from boring to weird. I don’t remember the events I missed, but I remember the great feeling of paying off the things that were weighing me down. Your real friends will understand and know this is just temporary until you sort yourself out.
LABEL YOUR SAVINGS
For some people, its hard to just keep the money in the bank without any purpose. Use separate accounts to differentiate between your emergency funds, mortgage deposit and general life savings. Just because Ada and Kofi save £1000, understand that it is not your business to save the same. If you can only afford £200 then save £200, just make sure to increase your savings each month. Achieve YOUR financial goals.
I’m obviously going to add an interior aspect to this, so why not view your money growing. Take 3 jars and label them; holidays, leisure and clothing or whatever is specific to your financial goals. Don’t just throw money inside but be realistic, so if you spend £200 a month on leisure, cut it to £100 and once that money is gone, its gone for the month. Your holiday is obviously more expensive, so instead of slapping it on a credit card, divide it up, put away a sum each month until it takes you up to the date of purchasing your ticket or dropping your deposit.
GET PAID FOR YOUR TALENT/HOBBY
If you can make extra money with your skills, please do; whether its makeup, braiding, designing, sewing or fitness you can get paid for it. Invest a small amount on your business cards and set up a social media page for free, tell your colleague, tell your friend, use your skill to bring home the money.
The same way gossip spreads, is the same way a good product/service is carried.
I understand that most of the above is quite full on and restricting but it is for your future. This is something temporary that will benefit you in the future. Not only will you be able to grow more with your money, you will relieve yourself of financial stress. It is all about changing your mindset and clearing your baggage.
Let me know if any of these tips work for you, maybe you have a few suggestion you can share?