Scrunting or Balling: Wait til I get my Money Right
“Cash, Rules, Everything, Around, Me
Get the money
Dollar, dollar bill y’all”
– Wu Tang Clan
People may make the world go ‘round, but money keeps them motivated. That’s why one of the most depressing moments of the month is when you go to the ATM, punch in your pin, click account balance enquiry, and shake your head because you’ve only got $19.58 in your account. Thing is… you knew, even before punching in those numbers, that your account was empty. Why? Read on.
Some of us are guilty of raking in a decent salary every month, but we have no idea about how we spent that money. And if we were to recollect every cent we happily spent, it would add up to a sizeable chunk. That’s the funny thing about money. We complain that we don’t have enough of it (and no matter how rich you get, you’ll always want more), but sometimes we spend much more than we need to.
And as human beings are prone to do, we blame everything/everyone else but ourselves when we can’t afford certain things, or we’re broke before the middle of the month arrives. Granted, there are some people who really have a mountain of expenses. They have a mortgage, children to feed, car instalments to pay, insurance, utility bills, groceries, and the list goes on. And yes, there is that limiting factor of our salary range. But some of us can’t blame our money worries on anything but ourselves, and our inability to manage the little that we do have.
The good thing is that being broke is a more a state of mind than a state of wealth. So here are some ways we can figure out how to get our money right.
Get financially naked
What do you earn? What do you spend monthly? What do you owe? What do you own? What would your credit record look like, if a bank were to run a credit check on you?
These are the five, important pieces of financial information that all couples should know about each other, according to Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar, authors of “Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey”. But I think that we can all apply this to ourselves, as individuals too.
Fact is… Singing 50 Cent’s “I get money” and Kanye’s “Wait ‘til I get my money right” won’t help us to figure out what we’re really worth financially… though that hasn’t stopped me from having Diddy’s “All about the Benjamins” as my ringtone. What we have to do is stare deeply at our bank statements and unnecessarily huge cell phone bills, and acknowledge just how promiscuous we are with our money.
Figure out your money personality
Facing reality takes more than one step. Getting financially naked was the rational side of it. Now, here’s the emotional side of the coin.
Some of us hoard money. Some of us think money was made to be spent. Some us of us make huge purchases when we’re uber happy or super depressed. Some of us take risks, and make investments we don’t know much about (though that could also be classed as stupidity). And some of us live ‘budgetlessly’, spending money all willy nilly, because que sera sera.
Knowing your money personality will help you to be crystal clear about why you spend like you do, why you’re always broke, and help you to determine how to break that cycle and improve your financial position.
And even if you think you already know your money personality, for a week or two, jot down everything you buy, consider what you splurge on, and consider whether tweaking your budget will actually free up more cash for you to spend… and save.
Go on a money fast
Last month, I realised how ‘loose’ I am with money. And it suddenly hit me one day when I realised just how much money I’d spent at the grocery, drugstore and Pennywise in one week.
I don’t make huge purchases. I’m not a shopper per se, and I buy clothes on a need-to-have basis only. So how do I still waste money? I tend to shop on the go a lot, and a small item here and there three times a week starts to add up.
It’s also how amazing that adding a few guilty pleasures to your trolley in the grocery also increase your tab. Every time I go to the grocery, I stop by the ice cream freezer, gape – and I mean literally gape at Häagen-Dazs, salivate, and then attempt to convince myself to not reach for coffee, rum and raisin, or chocolate – my favourite flavours. In the last week, I’ve spent just over $100 in ice cream. I could have saved that, and the effort it takes to burn those calories.
So my new mission is to go on a money fast, and spend only what’s necessary. Until I’m sure of my approach to keeping a tight reign on funds, I’ve got to say goodbye to those items that have been ‘burning my eye’ on Amazon.
Financial discipline is hard fuh so. So I’ve got to be realistic. I’ve acknowledged my behaviour. I’ve determined my personality. And now I’m on that fast of mine.
Not all of us are going to end up on the Forbes list of richest people, but we can surely find a way to keep ourselves off of the broke list. Hopefully, these practical steps will get some of us on the right track to get our money right.
Check out the rest of this week’s issue (3/10/11; Issue 75):
- Blurring the Lines: Friending your Child by Onika Pascal.
- Sex, Stories, and Music: The Hunt Backstage by Mystie Thongs.
- Upgrading your Man or Woman: Worth the Gamble? by Katyan Roach.
- Supporting Charity in T&T: Beyond the Facebook Status by Joshua Ramirez-Wharwood.
- Landlord Adventures: Toilets, Baybays and Excuses by Keisha Stephen-Gittens.
Look out for a new issue of Outlish.com every Monday!