Making the right money choices for you
By Cinse Bonino
We all wish we had more cash. People with no money wish they had at least a little, people with a little wish they had more, and people with heaps of cash never seem to think they have enough. How can you handle the money you DO have so that it makes you the happiest? No, I'm NOT saying money can make you happy. Rather, I'm saying that certain things you choose to do with your money can bring you more happiness than other things you might decide to do with it.
First things first: Are you a spender or a saver?
For some people this question is easy. They have no doubt. "I'm a spender." "I'm a saver." Other people don't want to admit what they are or just aren't in touch with it. Here's an easy test:
The Situation: You get $100 as a present from some really cool Aunt.
The Question: What do you do with it?
- Spend it all = you're a SPENDER
- Save it all = you're a SAVER
- Save half or less = sorry, you're still a SPENDER
- Save more than half = okay, you're a SAVER
- Save any part of it and wish you didn't or yank it back out to spend later = definitely a SPENDER
If you are a saver; I'm sorry, I'm just not that worried about you. You' re probably very happy with yourself and smug about your bank balance. You'll never have huge credit card debt, and you'll always save enough to buy those expensive items you're dreaming of. The only advice I have for you is to allow yourself a little crazy pleasure once in awhile. It's good for the soul. Go ahead get a copy of your favorite magazine to laze around with and enjoy even though the library has a perfectly good copy. Or treat yourself to a latte on a rainy day for no good reason other than it's fun and it tastes so good. Meanwhile, back to the folks who could use a little advice...
Okay, if you are a spender, you have to satisfy your nature. This doesn't mean you have to spend every last dollar that comes to you, but if you don't give in to your urges to a certain degree, you'll never be happy.
Tips For Surviving Being A Spender With Limited Funds
Make a realistic budget... We're not talking a complicated budget here. No this much cash for clothes, this much for entertainment, this much for make-up and like that. No. No. No! WAY too complicated for most spenders. You only need two categories All of the money you bring in each month from allowance and or jobs should be divided into: Save and Spend. The spend category can be spent any way you want. When it's gone it's gone though. NO CHEATING!!! If you do this for awhile, you'll get the hang of making sure you have enough spare cash for doing stuff with your friends and for buying lipstick or tennis balls. If you have trouble making your money last for the whole month (or the whole week) keep a running total of what you are spending and keep subtracting it from your available funds. You might go a little extra crazy at the beginning of the month, but you'll chill right out as you see your funds disappear. If you're too embarrassed to keep a running total in front of your friends, keep your sales slips and do it when you get home. If you write down any upcoming dates when you know you'll need cash (like a planned trip to the mall or an amusement park), you can make sure to have some when that day comes.
You might want to consider having more than one savings accounts... The money in your Save category needs to cover long-range and short-range goals. Maybe you want to save up for a car, college, or another such someday expense. Money for this should be in a separate account so that you aren't tempted to touch it for other things AND so you can see how much of your savings really is going for this big important goal (B. I. G.). Another account (or your piggy bank) could hold cash that you're saving to do something next month or so. And finally, it's nice to always have a little emergency or bonanza cash. Money you didn't think you'd need, like cash to pay for something you broke by accident or money to take advantage of a sale or a fun day trip with friends. If you have this extra cash you'll be able to do special things and handle unexpected expenses without dipping into the B. I. G. funds.
Keep thinking... Remember how sad you are when there's no money to spend; s-t-r-e-t-c-h your funds and make them last until you get more so that you never have to experience the horror of not being able to shop. And, make sure you really want what you are planning to hand over your precious cash for. Put it down. Walk around the store. Walk out of the store. Do you still want it? Will you still want it tomorrow? How often will you use it? How much will you enjoy it? Don't let things rule your life. Make sure what you buy doesn't end up thrown out or given away in a year or less. Fewer things that you really love will make you happier than tons of junk. Find ways to spend, save, and be comfortable with your money decisions. It'll change your life. You can bank on it!