Financial Literacy Month can be a reminder to take stock, financially and otherwise.
I’ve been one of the lucky people who has been able to work at home with no income interruption. But, the pandemic made me reflect on where I am now and where I really want to be in terms of finances and lifestyle. Being home 24/7 has been an eye-opener for me in a number of ways. I have realized how much “stuff” I have and how little I need. I am determined to work down my pile of clothes and craft supplies. I will not bring a new item into my house unless an item leaves.
I am a person who carries no debt other than a small mortgage. Oh, I use my credit card. However, nothing goes on it unless I can pay it off in the same month. I refuse to pay a credit card interest.
I want to retire sooner, rather than later. In preparation for that, I sat down and made a list of things my house will need in the next 2 – 5 years and how much I expect the cost to be. A roof, several new windows, a deck. Plus, some emergency money. It is a shockingly large number.
Currently, my savings are meager. I have a house full of dogs who could blast through that savings account with one small surgery bill. Here’s where the true taking stock comes in. I went through my credit card statements to see how much money I spent on “fluff”. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t good!
I pulled out a budget sheet and recorded an accurate accounting of my monthly expenses. I do this quite regularly but I know my spending slides a bit in between. Truth! I made some adjustments. After a close examination, my retirement goal might be somewhat optimistic. But, if I really stick to the budget, I can pay a bit extra on my mortgage while systematically increasing my savings. Every baby step closer to my goal is a win!
All this is my convoluted way of saying, sit down and really examine your spending. Don’t lie to yourself about where you spend your money. Do a realistic budget. Set goals. If you are carrying debt, seriously look at ways you can pay it down faster to save yourself a small fortune in interest. As a Financial and Credit Counsellor, I’m here to help people examine their own finances and work toward goals.