This is a blog/tip/ sort of a resolution as a reminder to self on how to be better with money

Little bit of a background. I was a good saver. That is until i got married. What has marriage got to do with it you say? For starters i used most of my saving on our marriage and honeymoon. Secondly I became unemployed when i changed countries and became a "dependent". Thirdly i had married someone who couldn't care less about money unlike me who has always been careful about money. (Some would say i was borderline Mr. Scrooge.) Needles to say his habits rubbed on me.

All of this combined meant i started thinking that i have a backup system. Which in short meant i started spending like it was no one's business. Now, while it is true that I, by God's grace do have a backup system in my family and friends, I eventually did not want to be a burden ( for lack of a better word).

I was in a bad state emotionally , mentally and physically . Checking in on my personal investments was last in mind and as a result i ended up in a bad state financially. In all of this i remembered one thing which was - while i did let my money management slip up, i have actually been always wise when it comes to money matters in general & investment in particular.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

I started officially investing in the markets when I was 20 and over the past decade have been able to beat the market average by about 13% (not bad i say!). While the aim of this post is not to highlight how great of an "investor" I am , it is a healthy reminder that I can get back on the path on which I have done so well in the past. So below are a few points to help save and work towards a wealthier retirement that might be able to help you as well.

The mantra - Give some, Save some , Spend some

It is not good to live life in extremes. Not wise to donate all the hard earned money and live miserly. Similarly it would be foolish to think i can save all and be happy or spend all and achieve happiness from the things I buy. It has never worked for anyone in the past and wont in the future. Like all things in life it is good to have balance and that's where the spend, save and give dictum comes from.

Giving: Giving in my humble opinion should come first, mostly because it is so easy to fail in this department. I suggest giving a portion of your money to a cause that you most identify with. It could be to an NGO, religious organisation, one of the many programs run by UN, financially supporting a child, Red Cross...etc. 10% is a good number to start with but tweak it depending on your lifestyle, income, commitments and most importantly resolve. If you decide at 10% of your income to be donated every month don't let that slip to 2% the next month. One of the best ways to making sure you give consistently is by automation. Not only will you be changing someone's life (maybe your own future) but it is one of the simplest ways to achieve happiness.

(Now, is it morally correct to give for the sake of getting happiness in return?; is philosophical question for which i am not yet adept.)

Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash

Saving: Figure out the money you can realistically save after taking out all your fixed expenses (i. e. monthly bills, coffees', daily lunches, dinner take outs etc). My aim is to try and save about 40% of my income. This percentage will again depend on your lifestyle, place where you live, dependents, commitments, etc. This saving can go to clear out cc debt or pay above the minimum on a student loan/mortgage. Basically anything on which you wouldn't want to pay unnecessary interest. I also aim to cut back on eating out and watching movies in the theaters. These might appear small but believe me the expenses sneak up like this.

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

Another easy way to save is to keep your house clean. How does this help you ask? I know many people (me included) who have gone out shopping and brought yet another pair of black shoes, pants, expensive cutlery...etc only to realize that we already had it hiding in our homes. Out of sight out out of mind.

While doing any king of shopping try and stick to a list. Make sure you take regular inventory of your wardrobe , kitchen supplies...etc to ensure you don't end up buying double of what you already have or buy something you wont ultimately use and in turn reduce waste. Save your bank balance and save the environment - two stokes of luck?.

While cleaning out you may also like to sell or loan any dress/shoe/gadget that you are not currently using/don't intend to use and might be able to generate some small fee on it (Some apps that help in this matter are, FB marketplace, Depop, good old eBay...etc).

I need to get better on this front. Case in point our coffee machine. We are two drinkers with 3 coffee machines in the house and on top of that have now gone back to having instant coffee. (🙄)

Spending: I would like to spend the rest of the money towards travelling, building a small library and occasional luxury handbags (my vice). While i have mentioned spending on all material things above I want to make sure some of it goes towards building a better future. This means save and spend go hand in hand and any money saved can be "spent" in stock market, startups , money market funds, ETFs and insurance. I have specifically deterred from mentioning cash kept in normal saving accounts because of the dismal saving rates environment around.

If investing /trading is not your cup of tea or you simply cant be bothered by all the finance mumbo jumbo a one time good investment would be to get a financial planner to help map out where you can invest in/ how you can build wealth. There are some very good apps too that help you in this matter as well and automation can again be your friend here.

Here's to making sure that the rest of the days of my life are the best days of my life!