Managing money is a skill and not a knowledge people are usually born with. This type of assumption is misleading, giving the false belief that money management is a gift rather than a skill anyone can learn.
Yes, our early childhood indeed influences our financial decisions and understanding of what money is used for. However, the financial choices our parents, carers or adults in our lives made when we couldn’t make any decisions don’t have to hunt us, and surely we don’t have to follow in their footsteps.
Early childhood programming is powerful and often influences our adult decisions. Luckily, one of the advantages of being an adult is making independent decisions and choosing what you do with your free time.
Personally, I love learning new skills and investing time in learning about finances, money management.
Learning for free from financial bloggers (you don’t have to pay thousands of $, £ or EUROS) is a fantastic way of kickstarting your financial journey.
Since the end of WWII, our society has been programmed to value money more than anything else and judge each other by the cover/appearances. In theory, the more money you have/earn, the more expansive your lifestyle should look for the outside world.
Unfortunately, that kind of thinking is harmful to individuals, society and of course, the environment. Not having any money isn’t a solution either. I’m not talking in here about circumstances out of our control, such as becoming a war refuge or climate refuge. But not having money because of your own choices, triggered by excessive spending’s, and lack of money management skills is all on that person.
Learning how to manage finances and I’m not even mentioning investing here, just managing daily spending’s and budgeting is an important life skill and should be treated as such. Nowadays, there is no excuse not to learn how to manage your finances as long as you are willing to invest time, track your expenses and learn from others who followed the same path before you.
If from an early age children are taught how to manage money, how to pay their bills and how to live a happy life without debts, that would be a great accomplishment for our education system and the environment in the process.
At the end of the day, if we are to preserve human life on Earth, overconsumption needs to stop NOW.
Teaching young humans that excessive stuff can make us happy only feeds the corporations, who work hard at making most of us believe that we aren’t enough, which is all they need to shift their products.
To be empowered, children should learn financial management alongside reading, writing and counting. Money management should be perceived as an essential survival skill.
If you struggle with managing your own money, maybe the following list could kick start you on your money management learning path. (I’m not mentioning credit cards debts or personal loans here, which goes without saying that we should all avoid both and pay our credit cards off every month.):
- Are you paying monthly or weekly for subscriptions you don’t use or find useful? If so, cancel those. There is only so much time we all have in a day. If any of the subscriptions aren’t used, there is no point in having them.
- What are the absolute minimum costs that must go out of your account weekly/monthly, such as your bills, kids’ tutorials, programmes you use for work, rent, mortgage payment etc.? Knowing exactly how much you spend on necessities weekly or monthly will allow you to see how much money goes out of your account before you even buy your groceries or invest. While making and keeping a list of those vital payments, you might notice that your phone bill is too high for your needs and switch to a different provider. This kind of tracking will help you see where you can trim your expenses almost instantly.
- Have a weekly/monthly allowance you can spend on whatever you feel like without feeling guilty or judging yourself. I would encourage you to make sure that the amount you decide to allocate for your allowance is the cash you already have on your account, not something you put on your credit cards and pay for some time into the future.
- I add up my monthly expenses and deduct them from my paycheck, which leaves me with a sum I divide between my savings account, investment account, and the remaining disposable cash.
- I have trained myself not to get tempted by pretty small items that have no practical use in my household but create a tone of clutter in the house. If I want something pretty, sweet or cute, I make something myself or bake a cake.
- I have adopted an eco-minimalistic outlook on life, which helps with my shopping decisions and is incredibly healthy for my bank balance: fewer temptations – smaller spending’s.
- Keeping a budget is vital in learning how to manage your money. Budgeting has allowed my family to see where our money is going and the areas we need to improve to become more officiant in our spending and savings.
- Spending money on statues items is a choice. Personally, I’m against that because those items aren’t only expensive but are most likely unsustainable for the planet and draining for our personal finances in the process. Statues items aren’t going to make you a confident person; they will make you feel slightly better for a few days until something else comes out that will need your ultimate financial attention. In reality, if on the inside you feel insecure, no amount of statues items will help you change that feeling. That is something you need to work on from within.
- Prioritise what it is you are happy to spend money on. I’m happy to spend money on education, travel and sustainable swaps. I know how much I can spend on all those things a month, and I’m happy with that knowledge, and most importantly, I don’t feel guilty about that.
- Going out just “to look” at the shops is never a good idea. The beautiful displays will tempt us. I get tempted just like everyone else. Only the other day, I stupidly got tempted to buy a coffee in the independent shop. I spent £3,5 on that coffee, and the barrister put his finger inside my coffee cup. I’m soooo not going back to that place again.
Learning to manage money is a long process, so give yourself time and learn bits every day or every week.
Without having a solid understanding of your finances and money management, the odds of relapsing if you cut cold your spending’s are high. And as with all other relapses that might lead to a higher spending’s spread.
The earlier in life we learn how to manage money, the less bumpy the ride will be. However, don’t beat yourself up if you are late in the game (I was very late to the party). There is still time to learn and improve your finances.
In my case, learning how to manage money led me to adopt a new eco-minimalistic lifestyle, which makes me truly happy. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I focus on how lucky I am to choose. I often decided not to buy something because I knew this money would appreciate nicely on my Vanguard account.