After a month of really working to study, learn and understand about financial literacy in our country at this time.
Know what it all came down to?
Not in that super egotistical way you’re thinking either.
In the way that financial literacy is all about “What I do with the information/knowledge that I have right now.”
Try one or two or all five of these while you are making financial decisions.
1. Another way to say financial literacy? Use your noggin.
Sure, that seems way oversimplified. Your typical college professor might say, “Financial literacy is a complex topic to measure your understanding of debt, wealth, and the correlation of small decisions…”
Oh please, girl.
Your Mama taught you to be smart. You know when you’re not “Using the noodle.” Being financially literate is being smart with your money.
As you are smart about these smaller decisions you have opportunities to learn more.
2. Learning to manage money is a process.
There’s no way we can expect small children to comprehend the mortgage payment. We don’t even expect them to.
But, if you haven’t done any research, like really learned the power of compound interest- how on earth are you supposed to make major decisions wisely?
Through the school of hard knocks. Life is one tough teacher if you don’t look ahead.
Think about the car you want. How much is the price tag? How much will you have to pay over time if you want to drive it off the lot?
The actual result will shock you. But you’ll never know until you start to learn.
So don’t beat yourself up for a really cool car you bought in 2011 that looks so good, but the payments are oh, so painful! You weren’t aware of the situation right then. Or, if you knew and you just didn’t care- you’re paying for it now. That’s the old news.
The news today is: You start afresh. You make this point and on the very best you can. And when you know better you’ll do better.
3. Make small decisions wisely.
Sometimes it’s great to just go have a fun afternoon/evening out with friends. No one disputes this. In fact, none of those really smart personal finance bloggers are telling you to quit those.
But they are saying, make sure you have figured out all of those small decisions. Know how? Make a budget.
We’ve talked about that a lot this month. But, it’s because the budget sets the framework to give you….FREEDOM.
Yes, freedom. When you have that freedom, you are able to enjoy the day and know that you have choices in the future.
4. Do the right thing consistently for today. And tomorrow.
What you are doing for this week may be tough to spend less. Much less than you used to. But when you understand exactly why you are doing it- it becomes easier.
But that doesn’t mean next week you’re all done.
This one was hard for me to grasp. Yes, I had made sacrifices. Yes, we ate at home all the time the first couple of weeks. But I wanted to go out to dinner. Not because I was too lazy to cook, I enjoy it. But it was the overall experience of doing something special. Why was it special? Because I decided it was.
I had to re-program the phrase, “Something special.” It’s one tiny thing but that sure made a difference to me.
And I still don’t always get it right. There are times when I have to remind myself that this isn’t like a one-week fast from life…this is a lifestyle change.
What a big change that has been!
Try that: consider frugal living your new lifestyle and try it for the month.
5. Enjoying your decision.
Enjoy the choice you make! This is a big one. You are working hard. You are doing your best to make sure that you have your needs taken care of…you should enjoy the celebrations!
Budget ahead of time. Do you have money saved up for Christmas? It’s coming, you know. What about summer vacations? We have opened a couple of extra savings accounts just to put a few dollars away- really away so that we have money for major upcoming events.
So when it is time to enjoy something new, travel or just have a wonderful kick back day with friends you can truly enjoy it.
You’ve worked hard. It’s time to enjoy!
Tell me now, what is one thing you’ve learned from Financial Literacy Month?