Living Independently: How to Stop Being Cash Poor
I am here with a blog post about money because that's honestly one of my favourite things to write about, other than growth mentality and relationships.
If you've ever spoken to me, you will eventually realize I love talking about money, savings, earnings, and I believe that closing the gender wage gap starts by being informed by what others are making and how others are saving. It's not inappropriate to talk about money. When you live independently, getting your spending and saving to work for you is important, it's important at any point in your life. Having financial goals is smart and doesn't need to be overly complicated.
Money plays such an important roll in our lives that if you're being reckless with your money, you're being reckless with your life. This can be kind of fun at first, until you have a credit card you can't pay or you're wondering where all your money went.
Being cash poor doesn't mean you're broke. It means that you have assets, but it's hard to liquidate them, leaving you with not enough for monetary transactions. For example, you have a TFSA savings account and money in there, but your chequing account is always low.
I am also very aware that this will not work for everyone and some of you might be in high levels of debt that go beyond needing advice on not being cash poor.
1) Stop the Credit Card Cycle
Problem: you put everything on your credit card. Even if you can pay it off, you end up in a cycle of spending on your credit card and then paying it off and having less money in your chequing account. Then you start the cycle all over again when you realize you are cash poor and need to put something on your credit card. Now some people love paying everything on credit and paying it off. If that works for you, great, but it doesn't work for me because I want to be able to spend from my liquid money and not depend on my credit card. It's a preference that is different for everyone.
Solution: Try to spend what you actually have. Try going two weeks without using your credit card. If you end up needing the credit card, try to spend less than the previous two weeks. So if I use what is in my chequing and realize near the end, before my next pay that I need a little help, I try to only spend what I need. Then on the next pay, I have less to pay and more liquid money.
Naturally, there is almost always going to be something on your credit card (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.)
2) Stop Saving Recklessly
Problem: You are saving without a purpose. You just put money away every month and there is no plan for it. It doesn't seem like a problem, but when you are saving outside of your means, so over saving, you end up having no liquid funds.
Solution: Make some short-term (less than a year) and long-term (over a year) life goals for saving. Determine if you want to travel, buy a house, or pay off your debt and how long you need before you reach the goal. If you have goals for saving you can determine how much you need every two weeks for liquid funds and then you can determine how much you can save. This way you aren't putting yourself in the poor house to save. I highly recommend the book Worry Free Money by Shannon Lee Simmons. It has amazing insight on this topic.
Example 1: I want to travel in two years and want to spend no more than $4,000 on a trip (it's just an example, budget for yourself). 4,000/24 is $166 a month to the savings account. If $166 is reasonable, go for it. If $166 is going to put you in the poor house every month, consider saving for a longer period of time, or lowering your vacation budget.
Example 2: I want to pay off my $26,000 student loans (average rate) in five years. That's 60 months, so it would be $433 a month (I'm not including interest). If your salary allows you to pay off $433 a month and you have liquid funds and funds for rent/utilities, go for it. If you're like "wow that's too much", consider taking more time to pay it off. Then you might be able to save for something else. If you take 100 months to pay off $26k, it will cost about $260 a month. If you can pay $400 for savings, but take longer, you can take the $140 and use it to save for a vacation or house deposit.
It's all about determining what you actually need to save monthly and how it plays into your liquid funds and your other money for bills and rent.
3) Stop Buying Things you Don't Need
Problem: You buy stuff you want and don't have enough money to buy things you need. The term "treat yo self" is dangerous; it's a lot of fun, but can be problematic. Like when I used to treat myself to Sephora every month and forgot to save for Europe. Or when I spent my savings on yoga memberships and Beachbody instead of keeping it in my savings because I couldn't afford it.
Solution: This takes discipline, but can be done. Is there something you spend a lot of money on every month and then realize "wow, I would have an extra $100 a month if I didn't do that?". For me it's restaurants. I am very good at going to restaurants and since I love food, my bill is never small. Do I really want to spend $34 on delivery pizza? Do I need a $14 glass of wine?
I am not saying stop buying your daily coffee (probably not a huge stress on spending). I am saying look at your spending and is there something these that makes you uncomfortable/doesn't make you happy? Start there. Last year, I made a list of my biggest wastes of money and it was eye opening.
Determine your needs (rent, bills, groceries) and your savings, then you should have spending money. If you don't have spending money, you have to re-evaluate.
There you have it, three easily do-able tips to stop being cash poor all the time. It may not work for you, it may work for you. Determining what you want to spend your money on and how you spend it is important.
All my love,