On fleek: the quality of being perfect or on point; the combination of fly and sleek, synonymous with ‘on point’ (on top of things; in control of the situation) Source: http://www.urbandictionary.com

How to be on top of our finances and in control of our financial situation isn’t something that comes to most us naturally.  Many of us don’t have parents and other mentors and influencers who have the knowledge and personal experience from which to impart any real financial wisdom.  It’s one of the main areas of weakness in the public school curriculum.  Money management, after all, is foundational to life itself but I have yet to hear of a high school or middle school that teaches kids how to handle money.  We’re told to go to college or trade school and get a job but nothing about how to handle the money we will spend the majority of our time and energy to earn.  So for the most part we’re left to figure things out as we go along, which is often a journey riddled with setbacks, stress and missed opportunities.

So what does it mean to have your finances ‘on point,’ or ‘on fleek?’  A high income? Loads of money in the bank? Certainly those things have the potential to make it a lot easier. But there’s the saying, “It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep.”  Fortunes are made and lost every day.  The specifics of what it will take to get in control of your financial situation is unique to you, however here is a good place to start.

Top 3 Ways to Get Your Finances On Fleek, Starting Today!

1.  Keep Your Receipts.

Do you withdraw cash from the ATM and a day or two later you have no idea what you did with it?  Do you impulse shop on a regular basis?  Do you go to a store for one thing and end up getting ten?  Do you buy things simply because they’re “cheap” or a “great deal?”  In our capitalist society it’s easy to fall into these pitfalls.  One small, “insignificant” purchase here, another one there, and in a couple of days or so your wallet is light again.

Or do you purchase with your debit card on a regular basis?  I have broken myself out of the habit of never having cash, for two main reasons: 1) obviously there are times when I actually do need greenbacks to pay for something, but 2) paying with a debit card, just as with a credit card, can give the feeling that you have more money than you really do.  There’s a pain factor in having to reach into your wallet or purse and remove that money from your person and hand it over.  Swiping a card doesn’t involve as much deliberate thought – you don’t literally see the money leaving you.  Worst yet, it is easier to walk away without a receipt because we assume the transaction will appear on our statement.

Homework: For 30 days get a receipt for every single purchase, no matter how small, and even purchases that are unusual/one-time; don’t leave anything out.  Keep the receipts in a folder dedicated to that purpose.  At the end of the month – or throughout the month if you’re a very organized person – categorize them.  For example: gas; toiletries; eating out; transportation; coffee; breakfast; personal care; entertainment; etc.  At the end of the month add up each category then add them all up for a grand total.  You will repeat this 2 more times (come back for Part 2).

It is imperative that you understand what your spending habits are and where your money is going before you can truly be in control of your finances.  Just as how pulling out cash forces you to face the reality of the depletion of your bank account, collecting receipts forces you to view your spending in a concrete way, unlike just keeping it in your head.

2. Know Your Worth

Your “net worth,” that is.  Your Net Worth is a number that measures your personal financial condition.  Knowing this number will give you a baseline for your financial life. It will provide a frame of reference for gauging the progress of getting your finances on fleek as you learn, implement those lessons, make adjustments, and improve.  In a nutshell, you want to get to a place where this number continues to go up, or at the very least does not go back too often.  How do I calculate my net worth, you ask?  Simple: your assets – your liabilities.

What are assets?  Things you own that are of value; things you can sell.  Approximate what they are worth, realistically.  It’s easy to look up similar items on eBay, craigslist and elsewhere on the web to see what others are willing to pay for similar things.

What are liabilities?  Your financial responsibilities.  Debts and obligations. Ex., student loans, credit cards, personal loans, medical bills, etc.

There are several advantages to knowing your Net Worth.  It paints a very realistic picture of your financial situation in the here and now.  It gives an idea how far or not you have to go to at least breaking even.  Life is like a business, you want to operate at a profit.  In addition, seeing the big picture can make tackling the details much more manageable.  And it can impart more of a sense of purpose to keeping track of receipts, discussed above (more on that later).  For people with families of their own, the net worth can give a general idea of how much of a financial burden your family would be left with if, God forbid, you take your last breath before being able to get on solid financial footing.

3. Honor Your Commitments  Reputation is everything.  And honor cannot be compartmentalized.  You’re either honorable and trustworthy or you’re not.

The worst thing you can do is destroy your financial reputation.  This isn’t about being perfect; it’s about the journey to a clean slate.  Your net worth, discussed above, includes all debts and obligations and that isn’t just about credit cards and student loans.  Have you borrowed money or other resources from family and friends that you haven’t begun to return?  Have you asked for something with the promise to repay in one way or another but have yet to follow up with action?  These are things that will hurt you in the long run financially.  Not only will your loved ones no longer trust you, but the circle of people you will be able to rely on if and/or when things get even worse will disappear when word gets around.

It doesn’t take much to keep your reputation stellar as you get your money on point.  All you have to do is be your word.  Say what you’ll do then do it.  Don’t over-shoot how much you can accomplish.  Be honest about your capabilities and then be disciplined in keeping in integrity.  If a wrench gets thrown into your path, let your creditors know up front then state by when you will be able to get back on track.  Even with institutions, as long as you consistently exhibit the intention to repay, you can keep some of the pressure off.  Pay what you can afford and do it on a regular basis: monthly or bi-weekly until you get to a point where you can do more.

***What tips and tricks do you use to keep your finances on fleek? Respond below!

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