I am a financial education trainer at Mustard Seed Advisory, so I spend most of my time talking to people about money management. So, I want to speak about inner beauty from that
perspective. Usually, we think of money when we want to spend for our physical “beautification”. But there is more. How we manage our finances is part of cultivating inner beauty. I have a few tips:
1. Be self-aware: Are you aware of your spending patterns? Are you aware of your spending vices? I love eating out! It’s a weakness that I need to watch out for. Maybe your weakness is, impulse buying whenever you see the SALE sign on. What are your monthly needs? Do you know how much you need per month to be comfortable – for example, your recurring or constant expenses? Can you detect when you are over-indebted? The ILO has devised a simple guide, if your monthly debt obligations are more than 30% of your income then you may be over-indebted or at the risk of being over-indebted! It’s important to know yourself and this includes your earning and spending capacity.
2. Be organized: It’s surprising how many people live without a budget or a plan. I am not referring to a mental list of expenses but a thought through and written out plan of how you will spend every dollar. The plan is used as a guide for your spending. Refer to it often and keep a track of how well you are doing. Get that insurance cover, paying £30 per month is better that paying £30,000 in emergency bills. Get that savings fund set up. It will be useful for the dream holiday or a once in a lifetime investment opportunity that can come around someday. Reward yourself if you manage to spend less than usual on certain budget lines in a specific month. Moreover, when you have a plan you can live within your means and avoid unnecessary debt or pressure from others.
I remember in our first year of marriage. We had one decent couch, straw couches and plastic chairs if people became too many. There were suggestions from others to buy a couch set on credit. But that was not an option. For us, couches were necessary but we were not desperate to the point of encountering debt. I can never get this verse out of my mind; Proverbs 22:7b “the borrower is slave to the lender.” So, we decided to save a little amount per month till we had enough to buy a set with our own money. It took us a few months but we got what we wanted without owing anyone. A plan can help you to live out your desirable lifestyle. Life is truly what you make it. Get organized!
3. Be well informed: as part of our Financial Education workshops, we usually ask some questions at the beginning of the course. Some of the questions include, “do you know all the saving methods available in your local environment?” or “do you know all the criteria for comparing credit products?” Most people will answer NO to these questions. When you dig deeper during discussions you realize that most people have never gone on a quest to find out information on these and many other financial matters. They never make time to ask bank tellers critical information on mortgages, business loans, savings accounts or any other non-financial services that financial institutions offer. There is amazing value in knowledge. Take advantage of free or paid workshops for your own growth and development.
When you are well informed, you can save yourself money
I can share a bit from my own life here too. I took part in a simple Tax workshop that was being run by a local accounting firm two years ago. I didn’t think much about the workshop at the time. I just wanted to understand the new tax system that was being introduced in Zimbabwe in the following year. I remember constantly taking down notes. The regulatory body was taking a few firms on board to try out the system. I decided to use my newly found information to register our firm. The decision saved us queuing time and system failure the following year when all other companies had to complete mandatory registration. It was such a smart move. When you are well informed, you can save yourself money and time in the future.
4. Be accountable: as you grow in age, family size and life phases, consider getting a mentor or a financial advisor. An advisor will look over your finances, get you packages that fit your pocket and phase of life. An advisor can also give you a platform to dream and infuse your plans with ideas to achieve your dreams. An advisor will also keep you accountable as you work towards specific financial goals in life. Some banks have financial advisors available to talk with you but you can also look around you for people who may offer these services on a relational level (friend, family member etc). Just make sure that it’s someone who is knowledgeable about money and someone that can help you to reach your financial goals.
My husband and I decided to engage a Financial Advisor from a local bank this year. He came to our home after working hours. He listened to what we had in mind for our future and asked us how much we were willing to part with in the present. It’s been helpful to know that we have a fund that can mature in the future for our wellbeing.
5. Be confident: this is usually an after effect of the last four points. PwC released some interesting statistics from the US on Employee Financial Wellness . They said the following:
- Financial stress was up in 2016 with 52% of employees stressed about their finances;
- 45% of employees said that financial matters cause them the most stress in their lives.
- 46% of those who are distracted by their finances at work said that at work each week they spend three hours or more thinking about or dealing with issues related to their personal finances.
Financial stress is real. It can rob you of your personal confidence and affect your productivity at work or in business. I often joke with friends that when I haven’t gone through our household monthly budget, I feel insecure. I am constantly fearing of spending beyond what I have! But once I am fully aware of what is going on money wise, I can go through that month with confidence. I can swipe the card without crossing my fingers, LOL! When your finances are organized, you will rarely suffer from anxiety or finance related stress. There is a peace that flows out of being financially wise and aware.
Money, Money, Money
Money is such a big part of our lives. If it’s in order, it overflows to every other part of our lives. It becomes evident on your face and at times in your demeanor. Of course, other areas of your life need to line up with your finances for that transformation to be holistic. But today, I felt like giving you a financial makeover just in case you are ignoring it when you are doing your morning beauty regime! In case I didn’t mention it earlier, I am sooo in love with physical beauty makeovers. Nails, massage, hair, makeup – the works! But I believe that once you take care of inner beauty, the outer is an easy fix.
Inner beauty attracts and draws others to your witness. That glow will draw others not only to your “Instagram” or “Facebook” page but also to your life. Take some time today to work on that inner beauty. It will be worth your while!