It’s been a while since I last posted about #MoneyBliss. Well, financial life hasn’t been a bliss last year. As I admitted here on my blog, 2017 was an expensive year for me and my family. Thankfully, we’ve managed to weather the financial storms and we’re okay still. But, I’m not the type who gets contented with the word okay. I must improve, in some way. And, to improve is to identify what money strategies worked, where I made mistakes and how can I do better this year around.
First, let’s identify the money strategies that worked for me.
Keeping a record of our finances. Seeing our financial records motivate me to save and invest more. I feel good whenever I see where our hard-earned money goes to and that is to our children’s future and our retirement.
Reading about businesses and financial articles. They are not only inspirational. They are also rich sources of significant information and vast knowledge about personal or business finance. They somehow push me to unlearn obsolete techniques and mindsets and learn more relevant and useful ones. Sometimes I want to give up on my financial goals and whenever I lose my patience when it comes to reaching my goals, I read others’ success stories and I’m all fired up again. They help get me back on track.
Limiting my social media time. Because they lure me to spend more than what I should for my WANTS. I unsubscribed to more than a dozen of pages and online shops whose advertisements keep flashing on my feed, tirelessly tempting me to buy this and that or worse, hoard things I don’t really need or get to use.
Above are the things that worked for me that I suggest you do also. But, if there are things that worked, there were also others which didn’t. And, I vow to correct them this year.
Not having a budget.
I save around 20% of our income and the rest I spend any way we want to. I think it’s a big mistake because one, I think we could have saved more if I follow a monthly budget because even if I only spent 80% of our income, many things I bought were on the category of WANTS, not NEEDS. The second reason why I now firmly believe it’s a mistake not to follow a budget is because there were a couple of instances last year where I failed to save-up for some major huge expenses like insurance premium and real property taxes. I don’t like to be surprised by another huge pay-out this year so I plotted as early as December our major expenses for the coming year and the money we’re expecting to receive, so I can properly allocate budget as they become due. I will double the effort to save the double amount of these expenses, to be ready for 2019. Major expenses include health insurances, birthdays, summer vacations and tuition fees, among others.
Not tracking my expense.
In connection with my lack of a budget, I don’t (need) track my expenses either. That’s why when I was evaluating the past year, I can only think of estimates. I don’t exactly know where I overspent and underspent. Consequently, I cannot also tell how exactly to improve. Quite hard, right? Not having a budget and not tracking expenses means tons of missed opportunities to save, invest and earn money.
Failing to allot fund for FUN times.
Not allotting money for FUN times like couple dates, family bonding, vacations and holidays is unrealistic and unhealthy. From experience, deprivation leads to an impulsive splurge. It’s better if you financially plan for FUN times too. To do this I have to stick with the magic ratio of 1:10 for WANTS and NEEDS. This is my original ratio, by the way. Hehe. It only means that for every P10,000.00 I spend on our NEEDS, I can spend or keep a corresponding (10%) P1,000.00 for WANTS. That may seem big for some but, mind you, we’re a family of five.
The lack of specific purpose for my investments.
This one can be a disaster for your financial dreams. So, don’t be like me. I saved up, invested wisely but I was not committed or resolved on what exactly I’m saving for and how much I must save that I ended up in spending it for unplanned purchases (merely WANTS) or investment-hopping. Actually, I had a plan already plotted since 2016 but I failed to execute my financial plans properly. I was too lazy to go to banks to make deposits. Such a lame excuse, I know. Also, maybe because it was too complex, my plan. I had computations for my kids’ education, our retirement, our Asian Tour, our Euro Tour and a new house and lot. Haha. Too much! Just, too much! I want to simplify it this year. I will only invest for my kids’ education, retirement and travel fund. And, I will invest monthly, regularly. I’m excited to see our funds for each purpose grow!
Social media over books.
At night when I can’t sleep, I turn to my cellphone and browse my feeds. Sometimes reading informative articles. Most of the times just some trivial stuff. Other times, buy something online. With the new LED lamp from MINISO my sister gave me, err, sold me, I no longer have an excuse to not read my books. I must start reading books and expand my knowledge, all by myself, because I know that a formal study is not happening anytime soon. But, that must not stop me from gaining imperative financial knowledge. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “If you want to have something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”. Wise words, indeed!
How do you plan to improve your financial life this year? It’s never too late to make some changes. It’s never too late to put things back in order. It’s never too late to start now. Have a blissful weekend, guys!
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