Money Matters: Go back to basics with your finances

FRANKLIN LIVING JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2023

Sometimes the best advice is the simplest.

Many times, when it comes to our finances, we get so overwhelmed with anxiety that we never even start with a new goal or plan. With that in mind, the new year is a great time to take it back to the basics of just good old-fashioned advice around finances.

Some of these truths we have heard before or all of our lives; we just need to be reminded of from time to time.

1. Saving will always be the most important and the hardest lesson we learn. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be.

2. Having money in your account does not necessarily mean you have money to spend. Just because there’s money there, that doesn’t guarantee it’s actually “available.” As a banker, I can tell you: We live in a society that does not keep up with their check register. That is a life lesson we should all be learning. Keep up with how much money you actually have!

3. Comparison is a thief of joy. Buying something just because you want to be like someone else will never leave you truly happy. If you find yourself buying just for the sake of keeping up appearances – don’t. Wait two weeks, wait 30 days, then see if you still want it – especially in the world of “influencers” we are inundated with today.

4. When it rains, it usually pours. So, plan accordingly. Just about the time you need new tires, the washing machine is going to go out, or there will be a leak in the roof, or a kid will need braces. An emergency fund can make a lot of difference in these situations.

5. Learn to live on less than you earn. This might mean getting budget-focused, which I know sounds horrible. It isn’t that bad if you think of it as more of a challenge than a punishment. The budget helps you figure out how much you have to spend, save and splurge. Once you identify these numbers based on your income, all the other financial goals can fall into place.

Diligence pays off. The top money habit we can learn is to stay diligent! Mistakes will happen, and just like a GPS, we must recalculate and get back on the right path.

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Emily Mays is vice president/chief administrative officer at Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, working in finance for 15 years. She is an enthusiastic social media marketer, financial literacy advocate and go-local supporter.

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