This article was written to help folks take better control of their money. It provides tips and disciplines to use in the course of one’s financial life. However, it should be taken with a grain of salt, as there is always something new to learn and utilize.
With that said, let’s begin:
Money is not Evil
The first, and most important, thing to know about money before taking any of this advice is to cleanse your soul of the idea that money is evil.
It is not.
Money is energy; a paper-ized entity of God’s presence.
Money is the unit of human labor that empowers us to get what we cannot otherwise do on our own.
Without money, one cannot buy food, an education, a home, a service, supplies, etc. Heck, without money, you can’t afford the luxuries of life that people give to the world to entertain yourself, or even make your life easier.
In short: You need money. You want to want money. Drawing ANY negative attention to it will only keep it away from you.
You Work for Your Money
The second most important thing to remember about money is that unless you have a wealthy background that got you there (inheritance, marrying into money, etc.), there’s no such thing as free money. Everyone since the dawn of man worked for the things they needed, or wanted. Cavemen hunted for their food, farmers tilled the land to grow food to eat, and IT specialists tinkered with computers to get some money. The logic is all the same, and even the Bible preaches it, that you work for what you want.
Even those who became stupendously rich worked for money to hold them up. Famous author of the “Harry Potter” series JK Rowling once worked as a waitress for money to hold her up. Over that time, she also worked hard to write her book, and worked hard to find the publisher. In return, she is now incredibly rich and made a huge influence in world culture, all because she worked for it.
Even Mother Nature shows this example. Animals go out of their way to forage (or hunt) for their food to stay alive. If animals sat down and did nothing, they’d starve to death. Instead, they act on getting what they need to care for themselves, or even their offspring.
With that said, “Get Rich Quick” schemes must leave your mental library. If you have a skill, talent, or trade that people are willing to pay for, whether you get hired or start your own service, work your absolute hardest to make it happen, and you will be paid, or rewarded.
Save your Money
There’s the old adage, “A penny saved is a penny earned”, or as per the work of the ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ series, “It’s not how much you make, but how much you keep”. And it’s true. The money you save is money you still have on hand, and the more you save, the more you have.
Think of a squirrel who harvests his acorns before winter. Instead of eating every individual one it found, it stores the acorns away, and only eating what is necessary to keep it full and healthy. When winter comes, the acorns harvested earlier are still there, and the squirrel can live on it, while the rest of the woodland is frozen over and nothing is growing.
Making more Money always Helps
While saving is always a great idea, how much of what you make can you exactly keep? If a person made $100 per week, how much of that can the person save after expenses, compared to someone making $1000 a week? and on the same expenses?
If you have a knack for multiple talents, trades, or skills, schedule yourself and use them. If you have spare time to work another job, go for it. If you know how to invest, go for it. Multiple streams for income never hurt to have.
Stay Cheap (or Free)
In a world where anyone can find things for cheaper, even free, it allows people to save their money and still contribute to the power of money. Use what you have, right where you are. If you need something and it costs money, get what you can afford, so you don’t have to pay anyone the base price, and then interest.
Here’s a great example:
Are you a smoker? So am I. But there’s a catch… I don’t smoke cigarettes (and even if I do, I don’t smoke them the way they’re supposed to). Here’s why:
- Cigarette prices keep on rising. It’s not worth the soaring prices for 20 sticks of tobacco, when you can get the same exact amount of tobacco sticks, in the form of ‘cigarillos’, which are small cigars in the form of brown-colored cigarettes. 20 of them, many different flavors, and for far, far cheaper than those junky cigarettes you get at a gas mart.
- I smoke, but I’m not an addict. I hardly smoke because my money constraints are far more important an issue than some pack of smokes. The money that I could be buying cigarettes actually helped me get gas to go to work, etc.
- In the long run, you could be paying a big bill for destroying your lungs (or mouth) from the smoking you do. Then looking back, the many, many dollars you spent on all of those packs could have been yours in your pocket.
- If you’re going to smoke, you’re better off using a pipe, without excess. The pipe is considered the cleanest (even healthiest) of the smokes, along with the hookah, so long as it is smoked responsibly. Overdoing it is obviously unhealthy, but pipes are said to relax the mind and keep one at ease, so I’m better off with pipes than quick smokes.
If you know what you’re doing with your money, you can always look into investing.
The idea of investing is to put your money into something that’s going to grow you more money in the course of a time period.
- CD (Certificate of Deposit) – You agree to let the bank have the money you put into this, and in return, after the term is up, they will give it back to you and the interest rate signed for.
- Savings Account – A plain savings account, a place to hold your money. Grows with interest because it is money that the bank uses.
- Money Market Account – Your money could be invested in safe areas by the bank and in return you will get some for it. Banks may be different, but the one I know is that they pay an interest rate quarterly, which is better than an interest rate for a full year.
- Bonds – You agree to let a government or a business have the money you buy for the bond, and in return, you will get money back, and some interest. This is much safer than stocks, because when the organization tanks, it pays the bondholders first.
- Stocks – The most common (and riskiest) investment, and in a nutshell, means actually purchasing a part of the business. Depending on how well the economy is viewed for each company, the value of a share of stock goes up and down.
- Commodities – The commodities people buy, like Gold, Oil, or Corn, fluctuate in value. Having these commodities when they are in high demand mean they are more valuable.
- There are a plethora of different investments to look into, such as, but not only, mutual funds, IRAs, starting a business, going back to school, etc.
Keep Track & Organize
Exactly how much money do you make? And how much of it goes to what over how long a period of time? Keep track of this, using something like a notebook or even a computer spreadsheet program. You would be surprised to see how much you spend and how much you make at the same time.
As well, you can always partition your paycheck like I do. See how much you make and partition it to what is most necessary, then to the things you can do, like saving money or keeping wallet money handy.
Keeping Buying Money Handy
Face it. You can save as much money as you make, but you’re still going to need to buy something, like food, gas, whatever. There’s nothing wrong with taking out a little money for your wallet to give yourself some buying power. After all, you worked for your money, you might as well use it.
Just remember to stay with that money, and add only bits to it. And while you’re at it, don’t go crazy buying stuff, even if you have enough. You never know when you need an extra $20 when it was already spent on a game you bought not too long ago since you last bought a game.
Buy What’s Important (and do so considerably)
It is never wrong to buy food you want. Even if it’s more expensive (even healthier), there is no wrong in buying food. You need it to live. Just watch not to buy too much food on the spot, because even Gluttony is a sin that hurts even in the world of finances.
Gas is a good thing to have handy too. Just remember to spend smartly. If you know a station that sells cheaper, go there. Instead of going full-tank, fill halfway and save. I know a certain gas station franchise that has two of them near me that sell the same gas at totally different prices, and obviously enough I go to the cheaper one.
The spine of America is its entrepreneurs. Without innovative minds to create inventions, systems, business, cultural contributions, and many more things that take the mind of a visionary, this country would be bland and dead. Create something and give it to the world. With the power of the internet, you have access to over 4 billion people who have access.
If it’s marketing you’re aiming for, go viral. In 2004-2005, internet sensation Gary Brolsna, famous for the video of him dancing and lip-synching to “Dragostea Din Tei” (which is widely recognized as the “Numa Numa” song). It was a mere video of him fooling around, but it had spread all over the world for how silly it was. Had that been a plan to sell something, he could have made a few bucks from those willing to spend it.
Also, remember that anyone will buy anything, as long as they know of its existence. You could make something that solves a world crisis, but if no one knows about it, how do you get the money? If a bunch of people know about it, they may want it and will buy it from you.
Also remember that anyone will buy anything, period. One convention I went to, they sold authentic tiger poop for $10 (which turned out to be a donation to save tigers), and sure enough people bought them. I once went to a dollar store which sold a pack of AA batteries for stupidly cheap, but apparently didn’t work right. Think of the people who spend so much money a month to play online roleplaying games, or for porn that chances are they can get for free.
The trick is to give something to the world (a skill, trade, craft, product, service, whatever) and make the world aware of its existence.
After all, how did you find out about Bukisa?
Unless you have a reason against it, or you can afford it somehow, I suggest avoiding any form of credit like the plague. The money you work for becomes the moneylender’s paycheck, instead of right in your bank where it serves far more useful a purpose.
I also suggest not using a credit card for the littlest things. You’re paying extra: the price of the item, and then the interest you pay the credit card company for its service.
In short: If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. If you can afford it, use what you have instead.
Time is Money
Ever heard of the saying, “Time is money”? Believe it or not, that’s right.
When you’re young, you have a span of time into your old age to amass the money you can be using to live comfortably. As if that wasn’t enough, compound interest is an effective tool in the course of time.
The money you save and keep saving and investing grows with compound interest. Suppose you invested $1000, and by the next year, it grew 1%, which is $10. So now you have $1010. The next year may be at 1% again, but instead of compound interest from $1000, it will grow from $1010, which is obviously slightly more. Over the course of years, it keeps growing. And all you have to do is keep saving.
I hope what I wrote here helps you out in the ever-going fight for everyone’s dream of financial freedom. Except for those who are cruel or slothful, no one deserves to struggle for a living, let alone one to be happy in, but the curse seems to happen to even the kindest of souls. I wrote this to help contribute for the better in this common battle for bucks.
Remember, $tay ¢ool.