Category Archives: Budgeting

7 Money Must-Haves for 2016

As we usher in the year 2016 with an optimistic outlook for a bright future, we must have a
decisive game plan to create a more prosperous New Year. Instead of just rehashing wishful resolutions from past years, make a concerted effort to attain these specific financial objectives:

1. A S.M.A.R.T. goal

It’s been said that ‘a promise is a comfort to a fool’; and some people believe that resolutions are foolish wishes that bring cold comfort. Your dreams may seem impossible to achieve if you don’t convert your ideas into specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-based goals.

Select one dream that would make the biggest difference in your life. Write it down precisely, expressing how you would measure it, take action on it and know when it was complete. Consider all the steps you need to take every day to realise your goal and persevere until you accomplish it. Continue reading 7 Money Must-Haves for 2016

Maximising Your Money After Losing Your Job

Today’s economic climate dictates that businesses need to become leaner and more cost-efficient to survive in a competitive environment. Many government institutions also have to regulate their operations to ensure that they can make the best use of limited resources.

When the owners or managers of these organisations decide that they need to reduce expenses, they will often look first to their employees. Staff-related costs can be a significant portion of an entity’s budget, so cutting the wage bill can usually benefit the bottom-line.

While a business owner or management official may justify the advantages of reducing the staff component, the workers may see things differently. A decision to lay off people may be seen as unwarranted, especially if they think that the organisation is making enough money to retain them.

Is your job in jeopardy?

Whether you agree with the management’s stance or the employees’ viewpoint, the reality is that the employment landscape has changed. More positions will be downsized in ensuing years, so if you are currently employed, you should prepare yourself for the possibility of job loss. Continue reading Maximising Your Money After Losing Your Job

Jamaican Style Money Guide: Rain a Fall but Dutty Tough

Traditional Jamaican proverbs are wonderful sources of folk wisdom that can provide people with insight into various aspects of everyday life. I like to use these adages in discussing money matters, as they often reveal essential principles of proper money management.

Recently, the rains have given us a welcome break in the prevailing drought conditions in Jamaica, but we are still experiencing severe water restrictions. This brings to mind the Jamaican saying, “Rain a fall, but dutty tough,” which means that although rain is falling, the ground is still dry and parched.

This proverb has a deeper meaning when applied to a person’s finances, as it could refer to the all-too-familiar situation in which income is being earned, but it is just not enough to cope with all the bills. Your money evaporates as soon as you get it, just like a drizzle of rain in the arid desert.

As prices rise and earnings stagnate, many people are reeling from inflationary pressure on their spending power. If you have been suffering from a prolonged money drought and this Jamaican adage resonates with you, the following strategies may help to revitalise your financial situation. Continue reading Jamaican Style Money Guide: Rain a Fall but Dutty Tough

Money & Relationships: Then Comes Baby in a Carriage

We have been looking at strategies which couples can use to manage their money as their relationships develop through courtship, engagement and marriage. Let’s look at some of the financial considerations that couples may face when a new baby comes into the picture.

Save for medical expenses

An increase in medical expenses is an unavoidable reality when planning for children. From the pregnancy test that confirms that the little one is being formed, to the hospital bill after the bundle of joy enters the world, couples should expect to spend a lot of extra money on health costs.

Even if couples are not ready to start adding to their family, it would be wise to create a ‘baby account’ in which they put aside some funds every month. This nest egg would be a significant help in dealing with prenatal expenses when they finally make the decision to have children. Continue reading Money & Relationships: Then Comes Baby in a Carriage

Money & Relationships: Then Comes Marriage Pt 2

After the thrill of the wedding ceremony has faded and the fantasy of the honeymoon is over, newlyweds must adjust themselves to the routine of marriage. Unlike storybook romances in which the couples live ‘happily ever after’, newlyweds often find that this period brings many challenges.

In Genesis 2:24, it declares that “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This speaks to a concept of togetherness in which both parties in the marriage are thinking, planning and acting in one accord for the good of the family.

In an ideal marriage, couples would genuinely leave their self-interest outside the door, and work selflessly for each other once they cross over the threshold. Individuals would look out for their spouses when making plans for the future, and any decisions made would benefit them both. Continue reading Money & Relationships: Then Comes Marriage Pt 2

Money & Relationships: Then Comes Marriage Pt 1

When the blossom of new love begins to bear the fruits of a long-term bond, couples may decide that they want to cement their relationship by getting married. During the month of June, it is customary to see many couples joining their lives together as they celebrate their nuptials.

Like any other major life development, the decision to get married comes with certain financial implications that should be carefully considered before taking the plunge. Let’s look at some vital information that can help people make the right choices when planning for their weddings.

Get financial counselling

Couples often view their relationships through rose-tinted glasses before they get married, and they may overlook some worrying signs that could impact their future together. This is especially true when it comes to their finances, as this topic is often a taboo subject for many people. Continue reading Money & Relationships: Then Comes Marriage Pt 1

Money & Relationships: First Comes Love

Traditionally, many couples select the month of June to celebrate their weddings. This custom stems from the era when ancient Romans observed a festival honouring Juno, the goddess of marriage and childbirth. Now, June is still considered the time to cherish love, matrimony and family.

When you put romantic notions aside, the reality is that celebrating love, marriage and the family can be quite costly. Whether you’re dating, preparing for your wedding, managing the bills with your spouse, or planning for your children, you need to be on top of your finances to survive.

Over the next few weeks, we will look at the topic of money and relationships by examining some issues which can affect your finances when other people are involved in your life. This week, let’s find out how to successfully manoeuvre the tempestuous financial waters when you’re in love. Continue reading Money & Relationships: First Comes Love

Money Resolution #1: Make A Budget

For many people, the beginning of a new year is the appointed time to get serious and make firm resolutions for positive changes in their lives. It is also customary for some of these people to give up on their self-improvement promises by the time month two or three of the year rolls around.

Very often, the reason that they fail to complete their New Year’s goals is that they did not outline exactly what they were required to do to accomplish them. It makes no sense for you to make nice-sounding resolutions without thinking through the requisite steps to realise them.

Lack of commitment to the hard work required for change to occur is another obstacle to goal achievement. If you wish to reverse an undesired behaviour, you must be willing to do whatever it takes, despite discomfort or inconvenience, to adopt new attitudes and actions. Continue reading Money Resolution #1: Make A Budget

Conversations at Christmas Time

To all my faithful readers, I wish you a blessed and happy Christmas! Just for this day, try to put aside all the concerns and challenges that you may be facing with your finances, and focus on enjoying the food, fellowship and festivity with your family and friends.

If you’re celebrating with your relatives and close companions, consider yourself fortunate. There are many persons whose loved ones are no longer part of their lives, whether through death or separation, who find this time of year particularly depressing and lonely.

There are news reports of disasters – famine, disease, mass murders and kidnappings – that persons all over the world are experiencing at this time. These should help you to put your own problems into perspective when you consider the immense suffering that’s taking place elsewhere.

So eat, drink and be merry! Spend the day making cherished Christmas memories that will last for a lifetime. However, when the holiday frivolity has subsided, your thoughts may return to reflecting on the less pleasant money issues that have been pervasive throughout the year. Continue reading Conversations at Christmas Time

Self-Employed Spending Plan

Budgeting is an essential skill for successful money management and it should be practised by all persons, regardless of their income level. Without a clear idea of the real cost of your lifestyle, you may make improper spending decisions and jeopardise your future financial well-being.

Preparing a spending plan is even more critical if you are self-employed, especially if your income is generated sporadically and you cannot predict when your next dollar will be earned. While there is freedom in being your own boss, there are numerous challenges with not having a regular pay cheque.

If you carry out proper planning by utilising a comprehensive budget, it can help you to overcome some of the feelings of insecurity and apprehension that may be triggered by possible income instability. Here’s how creating a spending plan can be advantageous for self-employed persons. Continue reading Self-Employed Spending Plan