Making better money choices

Many important questions in life involve money, and good choices can put us on the road to financial success. Bad choices, however, can lead to years of financial duress.

While the questions we ask ourselves may not involve investing in the latest hot stock, they may likely deal with more basic matters like identifying how we feel about money, managing our money, and what to do when facing financial hardship.

Learning how to make smart money choices early in life is the best way to ensure financial success in the long run.

We believe it’s healthy to begin this journey by identifying what we want. This makes it easier to craft a budget and make better choices. Knowing what we are saving for, and having a personal desire or connection to it, will boost our motivation to save or curb our spending in other areas.

The next time you’re out shopping, pay attention to the cues your body and mind give you. If you’re in the habit of paying for everything with a credit card, you’re more likely to overspend. Using a credit card for a quick trip to the mall doesn’t give you the financial freedom and security you’ll need later. Instead, make a game plan for how you will save money (or use your money wisely) on your next purchase.

Some people who feel trapped by the credit-card-spending-habit go on a cash diet. The basic premise is that you put aside all the cash you need for your budgeted purchases for the week, fortnight or month, and stick to that cash amount. It helps you physically see how much money you’re spending (and saving!!) without the detachment of a virtual transaction through cashless payments.

Setting financial goals is another way to avoid both impulse purchases and buyer’s remorse. Goals allow us to communicate and focus on the reasons why we will hold back from one purchase but indulge in another.

You can also share your saving and investing goals with your family and friends so that everyone can be aligned and offer support on your journey to financial independence.

The economy is suffering from the worst recession in decades. It’s more important than ever to make better money choices to contribute to the financial strength of your future self.