How to last your paycheque?

So, If you are reading this,that means you are already thinking about your finances.By finances I mean, you have already asked yourself questions like “Where is my money going?”;”Will I always live with this crunch?”. You better be serious as you never would come to know that when the mercury will rise and your financial status will start affecting your feeling of well-being. As a banker I have seen this happening to many singles and couples earning on both the extreme. The trap is easy-If you see $$$, you will spend it.I am not here to talk about the big dollar amounts, registered and non-registered RRSP accounts and ROI etc with those jargon rattling your mind.I believe in keeping it simple.Read on..

1. Get real -Yes, this tough but you know what is tougher? Its seeing your money disappear. Jot down all your expenses account;from Tim Horton Java cup to Walmart trips.Add every expense.It is like going on a guilt trip because you know you have over spent and somehow you just don’t want to look at it.That is OK, be nice to yourself.

2.Thats what I make– This is no guess work.You should know your after tax pay advice.And now start afresh. Just pick a pay week fresh and take that as your starting point.

3.Credit is not your money– Most people think that they have x $$$ to spend as credit.There are no free lunches.Keep Credit card only for booking travel tickets.

4.Grocery– Go with a list always and make way for one or two surprise purchases too.Not many of you must be knowing but companies pay a premium to retailers for keeping a certain product at a customers eye level.Always make sure you check the top and bottom most products as well,they are as good.Also, if you are fond of buying cosmetics and can’t control, just go for free samples that is available at most of the counters.
5.Piggy bank-Yes, and a transparent one. Any spare change that you get like pennies,cents,a dollar etc,straight away put in the transparent piggy bank.You will be surprised how that comes in handy.One of my clients saved $40 worth of coffee a week by digging in her piggy bank.Always carry that with you in car,it’s a handy purse for paying parking and coffee.Never forget to take a small portion from your paycheck, like $40-$30 biweekly for your ‘on the go’ expenses.
6.‘God only knows’ account– GOK account is just like a savings account where you put away a small fraction of your pay cheque and never look at that.I started putting $20 every pay cheque since 4 years now and ‘God only knows’ how much that account has.I have never taken out money from that account so I am sure it is helping me somewhere.
7. RRSP or TFSA – It is simple, if your company matches your RRSP contribution then start putting away some money,you can start away with as low as$50 every paycheque.If your company doesn’t match then you can open a tax free savings account, where you can put the same money away and you won’t be taxed on that particular amount. The whole idea of putting money away in RRSP or TFSA or GOK account is that, if you don’t see that money you will not miss it. Also, if your company believes in benefits then its always a good idea to exhaust all those benefits ,it’s like free money gone unnoticed.Some of the company offers discounts on some stores, tuition fees reimbursements, eco -pass for transits etc.Always rely on your HR website and before you go shopping do a little recce.This goes a long way.
8. Spoil yourself- Tight budgeting is like going on crash dieting,if you hold it too close to your heart,they may not work.So, set a time for yourself, that every 2 months or so you will spend a particular amount on yourself (say $200 if you earn from $30000 to $ 35000 for eg yearly).
9.Be At It – money will never grow on trees so you have to be at the job of visiting and revisiting your bank account every three days. Until you hit that jackpot, your only jackpot is your ‘paycheque’.
With these little things you are sure to see a positive amount howsoever little at the end of your paycheque and believe me,many people I know have saved upwards of$800 monthly by just staying mindful even at a meager salary of$20000 yearly. It’s worth a good try.
                                   Till then stay smart, stay true to your finances and stay that way!Image

When I cant stand myself !

Year 2007 : This is when I had attended an office training at Cornell University. On the last day of the training there was a networking high tea session that included some professors from Cornell, thinkers and some more dignitaries. Suddenly I overheard a gentleman talking to our team manager, the guy was introduced to my group as a lawyer from Yale and a management graduate from Kelloggs was soft spoken. They were discussing about how is it important to move vertical professionally and how the reviews they write can be a tool for their superiors to judge them.To this the courtly lawyer replied “It is important to be totally unaffected by the personal grudges and think objectively and that is quite an art.This art helps you think like a leader and not like a manager. This art segregates you from your peers and also evolves you as a human being. This art gives you an inner strength that your mere presence is enough to vouch something.This art also helps you when you know that you cant stand yourself because of your thoughts.You can only master this art by writing down your thoughts as they come about someone or some incidence.When you are done…the sequence will tell you how negative you can be..or how irritating you can be..and then you wont have to try improving, it will be done automatically .Writing helps because we get so accustomed to our thoughts that we lose awareness of them.” I didn’t pay heed to that piece as I had an interesting life to look forward to and pondering was the last thing on my mind.And I was busy discussing that how inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional marketing. And I was young and furious.Plus, I thought that I was too occupied and thought that I had no time for this self-help high thinker (there are plenty in this world).

Year 2011: Now that I am settled in my life in every way. I did an exercise. That I will try few things that I thought were way out of my league but were decent enough, before I scrap them and label them as useless habits. First was to try an exercise that I scrapped in Year 2007 by this self obsessed lawyer whom I thought as another aspiring self help Guru. I kind off weigh against Self help gurus, I believe in my own learning. So I have been putting off this from a long time due to my work;due to thinking that this is absolutely useless; this was an advice from a useless man that I have forgotten about..blah blah!But then I gave it a try because I was absolutely free. This was a good time to do this.I wrote down my every thought from my first yawn till my last yawn. At night I looked at that small piece of paper and guess what a revelation!!Vola! I am a weird person. I am a much better person at the end of the day. I am putting down some high points of my mental scribbler…

7:30 am – “this is a weird alarm tone..I need to change it”

8:30 am- “I hate to have this breakfast”

11:30 am- “I cant be having such fried stuff”

1:00 pm- “Someday I will give it back to him in words more harsh”

4:00 pm- “Susan(name changed) so selfish..I am cutting down any communication”.

5:00 pm- “I am tired..I cant excercise…I want to hog on food”

5:20 pm- “Cummon..hog on food ASAP”.

5:30 pm (after recieving a coffee offer from Susan) – “Susan is such a sweet girl”.
8:30 pm- “Yuck yuck I hate this soup”

10:00 pm- “I am going for a jog tomorrow”

11:00 pm- “uhhh…I guess I like the alarm tone”

This was my first attempt and since then I try to do it every Friday and fail off course. I ave attempted this twice and I really realize that after writing  my thoughts, I really took control of somethings and actually created my own reality. I don’t do it very often but this exercise acts as a flying squad for my thoughts..I monitor myself, read it and show it to my hubby…Its a surprise that this list ignites conversations over cuppa coffee, instills smiles and also makes for a good laugh that we share because I am so weird at times like all of you…try it…worth a try once…I know we don’t have time for this all the time but trying it just once will open some doors..somewhere deep in heart. This also helps to see that there are times that I cant stand myself.

NOTE: And by the way that gentleman lawyer whom I discarded as a high thinker and someone who has no struggles in life and will just give advice because he has nothing else to do…is now in the advisory board of President of US. And I am ashamed of myself  secretly(giggles) !!!