We are a very fortunate nation, and lucky to wake up each morning in paradise! There is very little we do not have access to, or within reason, enough money to buy. Why are we not the happiest and most content place on earth?
A recent survey by Real Simple Magazine asked participants to indicate what worries them the most. Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority answered MONEY. However, there is a simple way to ensure we do not lie awake night after night worrying about our finances.
The solution goes back to a basic life lesson:
Never spend more money than you earn. Sounds simple enough, right? WRONG!
Sometimes living in the “Land of Plenty” has its drawbacks. We are bombarded daily with hundreds of advertisements telling us we need specific products to be happy. When the cash is unavailable, many people are enticed to use credit cards to buy the product. We often realize once we receive the bill that this item was not a need, but something we wanted at that moment.
In order to keep yourself financially on track, create a budget! A budget gives you a holistic view of your financial situation. Everyone should know the amount of money is coming in every month (income), taxes deducted, savings, fixed and variable expenses, and a clear understanding of their debt (balance, APR, minimum payments and due dates).
While budgeting may seem overwhelming at first, it is a skill that can easily be learned with plenty of benefits. Budgeting provides financial awareness which results in smarter financial decisions, goal setting, and debt management. Get of better sense of your financial situation and calculate how much you are spending.
There are even psychological benefits to spending less than we earn:
- Family members are happier and communicate better when less stressed about money.
- You can finally begin saving money for emergencies or that long awaited vacation.
- You take charge of your finances rather than the having the bills control you.
- You have a realistic spending plan that will reduce wasteful and impulse spending.
- You become a good role model for your children.
Hawaii State Federal Credit Unions wants our members to succeed! If you are new to budgeting, our financial education partner Money Management International (MMI) can assist in creating your first spending plan. MMI is a completely confidential resource available free of charge to our members and their immediate families. MMI is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit MMI’s website or call (800) 707-8428.
Want a little more help? Check out our eLearning BUDGETING TOOL.