Many of us struggle to have a healthy work-life balance. There’s an old expression that says ‘do you live to work, or do you work to live?’ This is a question that is difficult for many of us to answer.
It costs money to maintain a living and the majority of us need to earn our money in order to pay for the cost of living. The challenge is to save enough of what we earn to have a backup plan, in the event of a worst case scenario, or a vacation fund to get away from the daily grind for a time.
What makes this goal even more challenging is that TV and movies convince us that there is always a light at the end of the personal financial tunnel. However, the truth is the onus is on us to make our own way.
Save For A Rainy Day
We expect that our jobs are secure and that we can continue maintaining the living that we grow accustomed to. But what happens if the company is downsizing, the economy goes into the tank, or as is often the case, we offend the bosses? How much do we believe in our job security then?
The point is that the unexpected can occur at any given time, and we must be prepared to accept that. Life is full of surprising challenges, and without money in the bank, we must scramble just to keep our head above the water if we are, without warning hit by one of these challenges.
A simple way to guarantee we have savings is to devote a fixed amount of each paycheck towards putting money aside in a savings account. This can be as little as $25 or $50 of our pay up to as high as we want to go. The point is that if we remain consistent, we slowly but surely build our emergency fund.
Pay Down Outstanding Debt
Whether its money we owe on a mortgage or the monthly statement for our credit card, we must pay down our debts to stay out of financial trouble. The rate that we keep up with our obligations impacts things like our credit score, which determines how much we can borrow in the future.
If we fail to keep up with our debts, our credit score pays the price and over the long term, so do we. Like we do with saving, we should dedicate a fixed amount of our money towards paying down debt.
This way we know how much we can afford to pay and by extension, how much we can afford to spend – ensuring we avoid being bogged down by unmanageable debts and excessive interest rates.
Find The Balance Between Frugal And Shameful
Saving money is one thing, but what happens if our frugal habits are crossing over into outright cheapness? The term penny pinching is a very real thing, and we can actually cost ourselves more over the long run by cutting too many costs in the short term.
Maybe a little pride is worthwhile here. If we are buying something that will be given to someone we know or presented to a group of people, do we really want it to be obvious that we decided to cheap out?
It’s All About Control
The point is that we are masters of our own fate. Our bank accounts, credit cards, household payments, and vacation funds are all maintained based on how we choose to use our money. We are in control and it’s up to us to use that control wisely.
Photo courtesy of: Dion Hinchcliffe