The dreaded finance conversation

Conversations around money always tend to make my insides say “nooooooooo”.

Our very own resident financial master Chrisann Colaco has shared her insights and made me realise that it's truly the small steps that can lead to a bigger positive change in your financial well-being.

We don’t need to make big gestures and have to sacrifice entire aspects of our spending to create sustainable changes; we just need a small push in the right direction to help get it together. And if you're reading this with an eagerness to do better, well that's already halfway there.

What are some tips on saving money during the week?

  • Make your own coffee or hot chocolate! Or, if you still prefer buying your coffee - take a keep-cup or join the loyalty program to help save a few cents.

  • I love to shop at the farmers market - it's cheaper, fresher and you are also eating better. Not to mention that you are doing your bit in helping a small business ❤️

  • Prep meals so that you don't end up buying food outside

  • Look to eat before you head out, this helps in avoiding impulse food purchases.

  • Choose to walk if you are going somewhere close by.

What’s your advice to someone who is afraid of looking at their finances?

Take it slow & start small. Try saving $5.00 per week, then slowly increase your savings.

If all the spreadsheets and tips get on your nerves, don't look at them, they get on my nerves too! It can be just simple as taking the first step and opening a no commitment savings account.

Automate sending $5 to that account. Once you feel comfortable, seek professional advice.

What are some starting points in money management ?

Again, keep it simple. I use a 4-point system :

1. Evaluate your spending - check what expenses are unnecessary and keep yourself accountable. Remember when you went to that Zara sale and ended up buying a piece of clothing that stayed in the back of your closet?

2. Define your financial goals - saving for travel, paying off debt, managing your expenses, saving for emergencies? What is your topmost priority? ( Oh the joy of finding a $50 note in your old jean pocket just in time you needed it?)

3. Start acting - you can always start small, then move on to bigger commitments like long term investments in shares. Built a saving habit first - $5 transferred to savings account with no effort!

4. Use technology - Automate your savings - eg set up for $25 to be transferred to a savings account every week so that it blindly goes there irrespective.

image by @thisgirltalksmoney

What are some realistic budget goals to have?

  • Give yourself a monthly/weekly spending budget and try sticking to it.

  • Keep only that amount of money in your account.

  • Always spend within your means

  • Always save up for an emergency fund. Make sure that you don't touch this money

  • If you have any debts, set up a plan to pay them off first

  • Save up for travel or for retirement.

What are a few ways to challenge yourself to be better with money and reaching goals?

  • Educate yourself - some classics are Barefoot Investor, Rich Dad Poor Dad and The Broke Millennial!

  • Try the no spending challenge (spend only on essentials). And yes, that means no spending on that cute top you saw or those cheeky doughnuts you walked past at the shop!

  • Seeking professional advice - going to a financial advisor/planner

It's always a good time to do a financial reset and start action steps to being better with your money. The important thing is really just to just start, and make efforts in sticking with it. Check in on yourself at reasonable intervals or get an accountability partner.

The future you will thank you for it.

Written by Chrisann (Finance Officer) & Shreya (Inclusion Advocate)