Are you a spendthrift or a miser?
I looked up the synonyms for these two words and I find some of them really insulting, lol!
Spendthrift ( Also squanderer, waster, prodigal, big spender, profligate, thriftless, philanthropist, wasteful)
Miser ( Also thrifty, miserly, skinflint, hoarder, saver, pinchpenny, squirrel, cheap skate. collector)
When you look at these two words, which one describes you best? Does its synonym tickle you like it does me? I am tickled, honestly, even though neither wholly describes me. I tend to think that I can be both- It just depends on my circumstances.
I go to the gym, not always ( That’s another struggle). My gym happens to be in the same building as my favourite shoe store, in fact, I have to walk past the shoe store to get to the gym. You can imagine the struggle, especially when I have some money at hand and am feeling rich. There are days when I will gladly get a pair for myself, without thinking twice and there are days when I know I have more important things to spend the money on and when I can’t get a pair, I always walk past the store very fast, like Flash, the superhero series character…because they have shoes that call people by their names (true story). Anyway, It all comes down to how I manage my expenses.
How well can you balance your income and expenditure? How do you ensure that at the end of the day, you are not living beyond your means? How do you fight the urge to buy something that you know too well you don’t need but you want to buy it anyway. How do you ensure that you only borrow money that you are able to pay up? Do you prefer getting something that is a liability on borrowed money or earned money? How do you tell the difference between a liability and an asset?
I think these are things that almost everybody grapples with in life. I am no financial adviser, but I can only share some things that can help you make sound financial decisions, I’ll do this in layman’s terms, which is what I can also understand.
Saving before anything else/ Growing your money
When I was young ( am growing younger by the way) I got myself a savings account with one of the many companies that offer financial solutions..no, it’s not a bank. The conditions were that I don’t touch the money at all until it reaches a certain maturity date and every month I have to make a deposit. If, I choose to withdraw the money before its maturity date , I lose almost all of it. Tough! With it earning interest, I am motivated and if I have an objective to fulfill in the long-term, even better. I also got myself a long-term investment product, my patience ran out with this one though, the growth was super slow. I think it’s also good to look at firms that offer good interest rates on investments. I know a company in Kenya right now with competitive interest rates, better than the market average and with major investments. I honestly think it’s one of the best companies to invest in, if not the best. Am not mentioning this company unless they ask me to. Isn’t it widely known though?
Spending on the most important things first (primary needs)
I believe it’s common sense to know your primary needs. Bills like school fees, rent, health insurance, food, diapers, salaries, satisfy primary needs…These should be things that would give you headaches and sleepless nights when unavailable. They should be obvious, yeah?
Spending on stuff, last (secondary needs)
When you have settled up all the bills on primary needs, you can now spend your money however it pleases you..as long as you have enough money for it. Never borrow money to spend on stuff. I repeat, do not borrow money to spend on stuff. I must admit, I find myself buying stuff all the time. Storage is always a problem and somehow my interest in them is always short-lived. Stuff is invented every other minute, to make you bankrupt.
Financial discipline is not easy to come by, sometimes, it’s very difficult to be disciplined when you have loads of money. This is where your circle comes to your rescue, your friends and family ought to keep you in check. They will call you a squanderer when they see you spending your money on silly things or call you a squirrel when you refuse to enjoy your hard-earned cash even after paying all your bills. Much as you want to spend your money wisely, love yourself enough to also enjoy the money, otherwise there would be no point of having it.
These stores generally sell merchandise at low prices. If you have a chance at bargaining, do so by all means. Whenever I want to purchase something that doesn’t have a fixed price on it, I always ask “bei ya mwisho ni gani, ya mwisho kabisa?” (What’s your best price?). You can be surprised at how low the price can go.
Discounted items and clearance sales
From these two you can get what you need at the best shopping value. You just have to look out for them.
On borrowing: ” would borrow money to spend on a liability or would you rather borrow to spend it on an asset?. You only choose the one that works best for you.
A friend of mine always says “Apply the same energy and enthusiasm in paying up money that you borrowed, like you did when you borrowed it”
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