Unless your major field of study in University has to do with finances and your parents have taught you early about it, chances are you just learned along the way how to handle your finances.
My own experience of working and earning my own salary did not automatically translate on me being wise in handling my own finance. It was like trial and error. And 20 years back, unlike today, you do not really hear of financial management seminars being held for working professionals or for families. In fact, the first one I attended was organized by my husband and his group of friends, upon the encouragement of a businessman friend of theirs to help families who struggle in handling their finances.
On my part, apart from that seminar, here are 3 lessons I’ve learned in handling my finances through the years:
- Set apart an amount for savings each payday. I have to say that this is one lesson that I did not learn early. My idea of saving when I began working is to only save an amount during special and yearend bonuses or when there is something extra from my salary. I learned that this does not work, it would always turn out that there is also a need when such bonuses come and so in the end, nothing or a very minimal amount is really saved. And most times, there is no extra amount from my salary as everything goes to paying bills, doing groceries, etc. But when I decided to save even a small amount every payday and do it every time, I find out that my savings do accumulate over time. You and I can save for our dream purchases as well as for an emergency fund.
- Be wise in using your credit card. If you choose to have a credit card, be wise in using it. Learn all the interests you must pay. As much as possible, do not make a cash advance. This was my major mistake early on when I got one, when I just got a new job back then. The interests were accumulating and several months onward the amount I took out as a cash advance had ballooned into almost 7 times more that the original amount I got. If you must use your credit card, use it for purchases, not cash advances and make sure that you can pay off the amount as soon as possible. If it has been your habit to make credit card cash advances, make this a year of change.
- If you do get into troublesome debt, seek advice and help from others. Confer with people who know how to handle their finance well. I have learned to ask about money matters from friends who run successful and ethical businesses. You can also go ahead and inquire from Nationwide Debt Reduction Services. Know that you do not need to solve your debt problems alone. There are people who can help you. Some can in fact explain to you and help you about debt reductions.
I think that the earlier we become wiser in handling our finances, the better we are in leading our families and in helping others in need.