Your arm trembles as you reach for your back pocket. It freezes there for a moment, like the stutter of your speech, attempting to resist your unexplainable impulses. But you persevere. You grab your wallet like you’re hanging from the edge of a cliff, and heave it out of the clutches of your pants. You struggle to rip the wallet open, aching at the touch of that new, annoyingly clean banknote. You finally do it. You pay, and for a moment – utter bliss (including the ignorance part). Then it sinks in; you did it again. No money for the rest of the month.
Ok so, maybe I exaggerated. A lot. There’s also quite a chance that you’ve never really been through a situation even slightly similar, but regardless, money management is a skill we all need to have. Whether it’s because you’re consistently finishing your allowance early, or you want to actually be a responsible human being, here are a few things I think could come in handy.
First off, always know exactly how much money you have on you. Doing this at all times is a bit difficult in the beginning (I’m one to talk) but at the end it’s worth it. It gives this sense of security, and I know this isn’t how it works, but it sort of Placebo’s you into thinking you’re a more accountable person. You’ll also be more aware of your spending, which can shed some light on some unfavourable patterns you might not know you had.
This brings us to the next point; note down any payment you make. Have some method of documenting everything you pay for each week/month (physical notebook/note on your phone/excel sheet – whatever floats your boat) and make sure to have a certain goal to reach within this interval of time. Not a goal to spend – but a goal to save. Or at the very least, to not finish almost all your money on sushi in the first few days after getting your allowance. Keeping track of all your payments works even better than the last point at identifying your spending patterns, which’ll help you make better decisions in the weeks and months to come.
Now, I don’t know how your parents do it, but if they give you your entire allowance in one go and let you just deal with things, then do not have it all in your wallet. Yes, you always need to have extra money on you in case of an emergency, but that doesn’t mean walking around with all the money you’ll be spending the whole month when you’re going out for some coffee. Not only is this pointless, but it’ll also tempt you to spend more than you should, considering the option will technically be available, if you – ever so responsibly, decide to choose it.
Then of course, there are some little things to try to remember. First and foremost, lowkey peer pressure. No one cares that you didn’t order unreasonable amounts of food for dinner, or that you bought a pepsi instead of a black mojito (pepsi but cool) because it’s simply just unimportant. Still, though, I’m not telling you to lock your wallet and feed the key to a dog either – don’t go overboard on either side.
Lastly, acclimate the process to whatever suits you best, personally. Set some saving goal so that you can pay for some big thing in 3 months. Take it as a challenge to eat less food at restaurants and learn how to cook better. Whatever it is, test it out, and make sure it works. Then, change it up every now and then to actually keep the momentum and to stay motivated for as long a time as possible.
Will you at least try to do any of the things I’ve mentioned? Probably not.
At least you now know what to do if (when) you’re actually broke.