Hello 2020 January 26

Hello 2020 January 26

Lamar Harris, vice president, wealth management, NCB Capital Markets

Sunday, January 26, 2020

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Money management is daunting to so many. The resources always seem to be less than the demand placed on them, so how does one prioritise investing? It can be a vicious cycle unless you are determined that it is to end. Imagine for a moment writing down everything you spent your money on for two weeks. I bet you would realise that you are spending too much in a particular area of your life. For me, I eat out way too much! I just eat out my money….literally. The real issue is lack of preparation, because if I prepared in advance I would not have to eat out so often.

Hence, one must prepare and be determined to invest. I can get slimmer now and be richer later (my annual prayer that God seems to keep mixing up….not amused). We have to really take a hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves what it is we really want out of life. This does not mean that life should be devoid of anything nice; it just means you will be more responsible when assessing how much niceness you need.

Here are a few tips to cut back on spending:

1) Do I want it or do I need it? I have to ask myself that every time I go on Amazon. It's like Internet Walmart; it just takes my money like a scammer! I have to determine if it's an “I want it item” or an “I need it” item. If I just want it, then I need to set a limit. You will have to determine how often you allow for “I want it” purchases and what you are willing to do without to have them.

2) Find other ways to socialise that do not cost additional money. Work is so hectic; as a consequence, much of my socialising is working out with friends at the gym or going to a work function. However, you can hang out with friends watching a movie at home; it will collectively cost you less than purchasing party tickets. In the words of my mother: “Not every pan a knock yu must deh dere, after you are not the box boy.” Pick your events judiciously.

3) Must I eat that? Now this is the most challenging for a foodie like me. I try to stay away from junk food, and healthy, tasty food always seems to cost so much more. So this is my trick: if I spend on a really nice lunch then I have to make lunch for a couple days or eat something that costs much less, to ensure that I don't break the lunch budget.

4) I feel like my mother with this one: “Turn off the lights.” Why do people need to have on so many lights in their home when they are in just one room? This does count and will save you. I even use timers on some of my switches. Please, please change out your bulbs to LED.

5) Examine your grocery list. Too often we end up throwing out food we do not consume because it's spoilt. We are literally putting our cash in the garbage bin.

6) Ladies, don't kill me, but we really don't need all the clothes we buy. We must learn to coordinate existing pieces so that they are new outfits.

7) Look at your phone and cable bills. We often sign up for services that we don't even use. When I recognised I watched only three channels on cable I called the company to find a more suitable package. Likewise, your phone bill. The aforementioned could mean switching to postpaid because you keep topping up, or finding a more appropriate plan. Apply this same process to all of your memberships and subscriptions.

Now that you have a little more cash, don't go splurging; invest it so you don't have to work so hard for the same money again.

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