At one time, it was considered unladylike to deal with money matters. Rather than wasting
your time enumerating the facts of life let's just launch into the tips. A lady always appears to be on top of any
situation. This is why she is such a good choice as a leader. In most cases, this means remaining very quite until
you can size up the circumstances. Only then can you make appropriate steps.
How does yesterday's general comment relate to our topic of managing money? Because it relates
to everything including money. In order to manage anything you must invest the time to know what you must in order to
manage. Otherwise, you become a victim regardless of the topic. There is no better tool than a budget
for managing money.
3 This can be a very scary exercise because the two basic requirements are funds available and expenses.
Be prepared, the first effort rarely balances. But a lady deals very well with reality.
Generally, it is easier to break your budget into monthly budgets because so many expenses are charged on
a monthly basis. Examples are: rent or mortgage, car payments, credit cards, utilities and insurance premiums. You can
always expand your monthly budget into a year of twelve month budget.
Remember to budget your charitable contributions. A lady recognizes her responsibility to the community
and is very thoughtful about her contributions.
wise to research the options and make a deliberate decision to support something that you can feel passionate about but at
the same time you have the confidence that your a contributions will not be misused.
Be realistic about your financial ability and target something where they will make a difference.
Some people derive satisfaction out of giving a few dollars to many charities.
Consider, however, that you might want to select just one or two and make a more meaningful contribution.
You can make a donation in honor of someone you admire. Generally, the recipient will send the honoree
an acknowledgment of your donation. Now, stop to think how grand that will make them feel.
In addition to a financial budget, a lady must budget her time as well. Time is a resource
just like money and it has to be carefully managed.
is so easy to waste money and make impulse purchases. The messages are overwhelming. We have designed a culture
that defines a person's value by what they have. The latest trend determines our satisfaction. It is a pretty
shallow definition as the trends are designed to change as quickly as possible....not to mention those trends that never really
catch on. The tips over the next several days will be suggestions about how to avoid both. Avoid shopping when you are
depressed. It will cost you and won't accomplish the goal.
Plan you grocery shopping trips carefully and make a list based on what you need. Then
stick to the list. Avoid going to the grocery store when you are hungry.
Now, those valuable coupons are another gimmick to separate you from your money. Usually, coupons
encourage you to buy something that you wouldn't normally purchase or a quantity that is inappropriate for your needs.
Think carefully about whether this is a useful purchase.
CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSETS regularly. We have discussed this in previous months but this same tip applies
here in a different way. Clutter is expensive! If you can't find it or don't remember that you have it,
you will needlessly purchase replacements. Further, as we said earlier, time is a resource and spending time looking
through clutter is a waste of that precious resource.
closets regularly to get the out of season items out of the way. At the same time you can determine if something promises
to be sufficiently serviceable for the future to warrant the space to keep it. This is the only way you can readily find the
things you need.
Before going shopping for a
garment for a new season, be sure and review what you have for that season. In this way, you avoid making unnecessary
purchases when you have something perfectly suitable at home. Further, you can purchase something to update or add to
your wardrobe for the season.
Here is the fun reward to following
the previous tip. If you are very thoughtful and plan how you can use existing things in your closet, you can splurge
on something really trending. It will update your wardrobe in a very efficient way and you will have the fun of wearing
something that is right up to the minute knowing that it won't transcend the season. However, there is no guilt
because you knew what you were doing at the time and made a deliberate choice to extend what you already had in your closet.
Use good judgement when you select that trendy item. Not all trends are
flattering for everyone. The overriding factor will always be, "Does this look good on me?". Trendy
is no excuse for unflattering!
are naturally disciplined and money management comes naturally. Most of us, however, need to develop discipline and
reinforce it regularly. That is why a formal budget can be so helpful as it creates a structure.
A well developed budget also forces you to recognize realities. It is essential to plan
for upcoming expenses and also prepare for unexpected emergencies or opportunities.
A contingency fund can come in handy. For example you may need to replace a hot water heater.
This event is surprisingly predictable as it will come at the worst possible time. If you have funds set aside for such contingencies,
finding the money doesn't add to the emergency.
On the more positive side, the contingency fund may provide the funds to take advantage of an unexpected
opportunity. For example, it might give you the means to go to an out of town wedding or graduation that would be so
memorable and important to you. Or, perhaps you have a business trip to a dream location and you want to extend you
stay or arrange for you husband to join you for a few days!
Thorough planning and careful budgeting makes it possible to be spontaneous.
Fortunately, any budget whether a financial budget or a time schedule, is just a guide. You
can change it at any time you wish. You control it; it doesn't control you.
Try to find effective ways to reuse the things you have. This includes learning to repair
items rather than automatically replacing them.
is true that it can be more expensive to repair something. But do a cost benefit analysis to make your own determination.
Be aware that new replacement items may
not be as durable as their predecessors. Just because that appliance lasted 30 years doesn't mean the one you but
today will provide that sort of longevity. Independent testing lab reports and consumer reports and Internet blogs can
be very useful when you are trying to make a choice. Durable items just aren't as durable as they once were. In
terms of budgeting, that means you have to plan to finance a replacement more frequently.
When replacing something, stop to think about your current needs. These are not constant
as a family grows and shrinks. Something may need to be very durable when there are young children in the household.
Then the demand on the item may change as the family grows up.
the use of any purchase. If it is something that needs to last, you will get a return on your investment if you go for
When times get hard you will be forced to make
choices. Be disciplined. Avoid emotional purchases. This means you will have to do some serious soul searching.
Everyone of us has convinced ourselves as some point in our lives that if we purchase that item we will be happy forever.
It haunts us until we possess it. The satisfaction is usually fleeting and can often be replaced by guilt. Make
wise choices and don't be influenced by an aggressive sales person who says this is last one in stock! We've come
to learn that the next shipment will be more expensive....but then maybe we don't need it at any price.
Few of us can do well in complete sacrifice and denial. So, the budget must contain some room for
pleasure. Again, a well planned treat for which you save can be a most valuable treasure. Make the treat
a reasonable expenditure that will produce the most pleasure. If your soul needs a selfish "just for me" reward,
and we all do from time to time, then that is what you should do. However, consider whether you would derive a longer
lasting pleasure out of sharing your reward. For example, if the treat is a trip to the theater or dinner out, would
you gain more lasting pleasure if you shared it with someone you treasure. Then it would be a treat and a lasting memory!
You could make it a big event if everyone paid their own way. Perhaps you could then treat everyone to coffee at one
of those trendy gourmet coffee houses!
Now, look what you have accomplished in the merry
month of May!
You have learned to budget your money and your time and
you have rewarded yourself for
a job well done.
In June we will talk about your job and concentrate on being a lady in the workplace.
After all, a
lady is a lady everywhere and at all times
and we need some tips
on how to handle our job
so we can afford
all those things we have put in our budget!