You can meet your financial obligations, be a resource for people and causes you care about, and still have fun by expanding your financial vocabulary to include three little words—Save, Share, and Spend. Whatever your income, your money can be a tool rather than an obstacle to achieving your goals when you apply these three little words to your personal budget.
The saving process is practically painless: brown-bag your lunch twice a week or swap your sodas for ice water, for example, and set that money aside. By saving just $10 a week, at the end of the year you’ll have a balance of $520—plus interest, if you’ve put your money in the bank. As a buffer against unexpected expenses or as a means of achieving larger goals, saving money makes cents.
Even small donations can combine to make a big difference to organizations or individuals. Donate to your local crisis center or Hospice program; give generously to public radio and television stations; support your local lemonade stand or bake sale. You can share with someone you know or have never met, someone who lives on your street or the other side of the world. Share your time by volunteering at a local school or animal shelter, or spend an afternoon with a nursing home resident. Remember, by extending yourself to others you’re paying it forward; you never know when you may be the one in need.
Learning to live within your means is a valuable lesson that some people learn only after painful experience with debt. Credit cards and lines of credit suggest unlimited funds, and the temptation to live large is strong. Use the tools available to you to moderate and prioritize your spending. Online financial management programs work for some, others prefer to budget using a ledger book, while mason jars and envelopes help some people to distinguish between discretionary income and designated funds. Whatever method you choose, make sure your wants and needs are clearly differentiated, and then spend accordingly.
By establishing goals and parameters for spending, saving, and sharing, you can control your income instead of being managed by your money. If time is money, live well and spend wisely!
Tell us other ways you live well and spend wisely, we’d love to hear them in the comment box below.