It is common knowledge that most people want to be rich or wealthy, but they do certain things which deny them from being just that. But by imitating the investing habits of those who have made it, it is most certain that you too can be financially matured and make your situation big. You can avoid costly mistakes by watching what the rich or wealthy people do, and perhaps more importantly, what they don’t do. Now consider the following:
They don’t spend more than they make
A recent global study found that fewer than half of those in the USA, especially, are spending less than they earn. This problem is compounded by high credit card interest rates. If you are finding it difficult to stick to a budget, try switching to cash as your currency. This will quickly stop the bleeding because once cash is gone the spending has to stop. In Ghana some Banks have started issuing credit cards, but be cautioned if you want to live within your means, or to stay on budget. DO NOT use credit cards and go on spending spree.
It must be pointed out that most South Africans live beyond their means and therefore almost always in debts, because of credit cards.
They don’t wait till the end of the month to see how their money is doing
They are constantly tracking where their monies go. In effect they have an eagle’s eye of how they spending their monies. In this digital age some, even, use expense tracking applications (or a pen and paper) to help them stay on top of their money.
They don’t pay for subscriptions they aren’t using
Magazine/Newspapers subscriptions, gym memberships, and season tickets to watch your favourite movies or to watch your favourite football teams are great – if you actually use them. Those that you do not use frequently should be cancelled, and chances are that, you won’t even miss them. A fixed-line telephone subscription, in your house that you aren’t using because of you having mobile phone(s) should be cancelled, to avoid mounting unnecessary telephone bills which payments become very “painful”.
They don’t overlook small expenses
“Don’t give small money a chance”, so the saying goes, and so should be mindful that small expenses add up. Look for opportunities to reduce them. Switch-off the air conditioner when you leave the house, turn off the lights in an empty room, use a refillable water bottle instead of buying a new case every week or better do with sachet(“pure”) water.
They don’t automatically spend “surprise money”
You will be lucky or fortunate to receive “dashes” on ordinary days or “gifts” on certain/special occasions; such free money SHOULD NOT have to be spent the day they are received. Put some in savings, or use it to pay off debt. It is, normally, the habit of some people to spend such money unnecessarily but be cautioned and use them wisely.
They don’t use shopping to help them feel better
DO NOT go on shopping spree, and do not let “impulse-buying” or “instant-buy” be your habit. Think carefully through before you make any purchase.
Have you ever examined an old purchase and wondered, “What was I thinking?” Financially mature people ask the right question: “Do I absolutely love or need this?” Skip this step, and you will find yourself selling or giving out, for free, the very item you bought yesterday.
Here is an idea: When heartbreak or frustration sends or beckons you to the mall or store or market, think of one item you actually need. Maybe it is a new pair of work shoes or a birthday gift for a friend. Set a “budget” for yourself and take only the CASH for that item. Then, enjoy a little shopping. Make sure that you don’t take more cash than is necessary, otherwise you will, definitely, come back home with NOTHING left.
They don’t gift shop or shop at the last minute
It happens to the best of us. We remember a birthday or anniversary with mere hours to spare; term it the “24th December Rush”, which is typically of the Ghanaian. Then we’re off the nearest store in search of a last-minute gift and in our panic, we buy something expensive to hide the fact that we don’t have a card and the gift isn’t wrapped. Gifts are given to express love and affection. Shopping a little sooner can help you find a thoughtful, less expensive gift that shows how much you care. Please, always avoid “last-minute” shopping so as not to buy items at “cut-throat” prices.
They don’t eat out every meal
A recent experiment conducted by an institution in the USA, the Boston Globe, found one home cooked meal cost half the price of a comparable restaurant meal. And in Ghana, a typical “house-wife” or the virtuous woman can attest to this.
They don’t waste leftovers
One of the easiest ways to make eating out more affordable is to simply save your leftovers. You can turn one meal into two. Make very good use of your refrigerator/deep freezer, and you will save more money, to use on other important items.
They don’t let purchased food expire
Throwing away food is throwing away money. If you struggle with stinky fridge syndrome, try making more frequent trips to the grocery store. Buy exactly what you’ll need for the next 2 or 3 days, instead of “stocking up” for the week or the month.
They don’t buy clothes they won’t wear regularly
Closet full of clothes yet “nothing to wear”? Save space and money by searching for versatile pieces you can’t wait to show off. Anyway, some clothes are meant for special occasions and should be reserved as such.
They don’t buy something just because it’s a discount
If you don’t need the item just DON’T buy it for the reason that it is being sold at a discount. Women, especially, are normally guilty of this, and should, therefore, watch this out and avoid it.
An old episode of The Lucy Show made fun at this common mistake. Lucy chided her friend, Comfort, for buying a 50lb bag of dog food. Comfort defended herself saying “that was half price.” To which Lucy teasingly or hilariously replied, “You don’t have a dog!” Comfort had actually wasted the money for the very thing (dog) she hadn’t got at that time. What a shame !!!
They don’t buy anything without asking the price
It is an old trick. Selling stuff without ever mentioning the price and it works, because we are often too embarrassed to ask how much something costs. We do not want anyone thinking we are poor, but we have it backwards. Poor is what you will be if you don’t ask the hard questions.
Some people are in the habit of just “jumping” into a taxi without asking for the fare being charge to their destination; and only to be handed a fee which they complain about. Please!!, wise up, and avoid the unnecessary confrontations with taxi drivers.
They don’t avoid expenses that save them trouble and money in the future
Getting the oil changed may be annoying, but it is cheaper than a new car. Getting your teeth cleaned may be uncomfortable, but would you rather have a root canal/toothache? When you are trying to cut back on spending, ‘trim from the fat’, not the essentials or necessities, for it is better to spend now than running into bigger trouble later on, when you least expect it.
They don’t buy into get rich quick schemes
When people really do strike proverbial gold, they probably don’t tell the world about it in a “business opportunity” seminar. Financially mature people know that wealth comes through hard work and good choices over time.
Recent happenings in Ghana’s Microfinancial sector are vivid examples. Avoid these ponzi or pyramid schemes; and remember how the old “R5s” and “Pyramids” (Pyram) illegal financial establishments, in the early and mid 1990s made clients poor; even to their deaths.
They don’t forget to set financial goals
Without a clear goal and a doable plan, people tend to stay right where they are. Good goals brighten the path between where you are and where you want to be. Yearly resolutions SHOULD be doable or practical oriented and people should have the interest and love to perform such undertakings or ventures.
They don’t let past mistakes keep them from improving
Peek at the statistics and you will quickly learn most of us are not very good with money. With practice, patience, and persistence, you can grow into financial maturity. And mind you ! the man on the top of the mountain didn’t fall there; it was by dint of hardwork and consistency that he found himself there.
You just have to get started. There is an old saying that: If you want a big “onyina” tree in your backyard, the best time to plant it was some years ago. The second best time? Right now. It is a fact that growth is painful, change is painful, but nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong. And that when someone tells you it can’t be done, it is more of their limitations, not yours. This will be your year so use these tips to start imitating the financially mature. Because let us face it, life is more fun and rosy when there is some money in the bank and in your pocket.
Author:Sam Bediako-Asante is the CEO of Sambed Consult, a Business/Investment Advisory firm. He is also a former Banker, Professional Administrator and also presently an accredited SA Specialist of the South African Tourism Board in Ghana.
Can be reached on 0277518634 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org