Money talk. I’m going there people.
Let me preface this by disclaiming that I’m not a qualified financial advisor, far from it. I’m just a Type A Mrs with a desire to make the most of her income. At the risk of being Captain Obvious, it’s not about what you earn, it’s about what you spend. Think that’s ripe coming from someone who blogs daily about retail acquisitions? There is a method to my madness. I give you the Flashman family financial commandments. Thou shalt:
nominate a minister for treasury
Appoint a CEO to your affairs. In the house of Flashman, the treasury function is my domain. That is not to say that Mr Flashman is without responsibilities. His portfolios include hospitality, parks and recreation, and investment property management. I pay the bills and complete all of the bean counting during the month, then we review the output together at month’s end. We find that splitting the pie leads to less arguments.
You spend at least 40 hours a week working for someone else’s financial gain, so set aside 1 hour a week to work on the health of your own business. Budgeting is sexy. Well, it’s not actually, but a bottle of wine makes it less painful. Create a spreadsheet, a profit and loss if you will, to track your income and expenses each month against the targets you have set. You have to be able to identify where your money is going, in order to control it. Take it to a micro level, break down “medical expenses” into Doctor, Dentist, Health Insurance and Vet (lest we forget our furry friends). Allocate funding to the fun stuff too (date night, monthly pedicure) and then you won’t feel guilty about indulging in it.
snag a bangin mortgage
Do the investigationing (yep I just invented a word) yourself, or hire a mortgage broker to narrow the field. Find a product that caters to your own personal banking needs. Personally, we favour a line of credit facility for the flexibility it offers with respect to investing in property, and the cross-collateralisation of securities. Don’t you love it when I talk dirty money?
tame the fee monster
We pay one annual fee to our bank. That’s it. If you are being hit with transactional fees, monthly maintenance fees or just plain old because fees, stop it! Take your business elsewhere.
commit to one credit card
We do not have a savings account. Our income is deposited directly into our mortgage, we live on our credit card, and pay off the ENTIRE balance each month. Interest is for suckers. It’s not a free for all spending spree, quite the opposite. It requires major discipline, but the compound effect of the interest we save on our mortgage due to the income offset, is like, totally, amazeballs. If you travel often, look for a card that offers frequent flyer rewards. I cash in the points I earn on my visa for gift cards at my favourite department store. In a perverse way, I’m rewarded for spending.
invest in something
Whilst I wholeheartedly embrace the virtues of shoes and handbags, I appreciate that real returns lie in property and shares. In the past we’ve had success with managed fund investments, but in recent years have favoured bricks and mortar. If you have any equity at all in your home, why not make it work for you. I have three words of advice – research, research, research. I cannot tell you the number of books I’ve read, the seminars and advisors I’ve sought out, and the number of properties we’ve inspected and number crunched, before making a single offer to purchase.
set goals & map priorities
What do you want to achieve? Blitz your mortgage before you turn 40. Take an extended sabbatical to Europe. Pull the trigger on a pair of red soled shoes. Claim it. Budget for it in your blessed spreadsheet and it shall be yours – in time. It’s a matter of priorities, and everybody’s are different. You’ll have to sacrifice something, maybe quite a few somethings to realise your goal. The reason the hubs and I have been able to take a few trips overseas is not by way of a bountiful money tree in the backyard. Luck has nothing to do with it.
minimise your succubus
We all fall victim to flitting away our moulos chachos on little recurring expenditures that add up to big bundles of coin. Know your succubus and conquer her.
Just say no. Invest in a coffee machine, a stylin travel thermos mug and buy beans in bulk.
Bring your lunch from home or find a healthy, cheap option to grab in an emergency. $2 sushi rolls are my salvation.
Don’t walk mindlessly down the isles like toddler on a sugar rush. Order groceries online and have them delivered. You will save major dollars.
Add a subscription to your birthday wish list. When it expires, don’t resubscribe immediately, play hard to get and watch the discounted offers roll in.
There is nothing you can’t buy online these days. Sign up for newsletters, wait for the discount offers, earn rewards. Never pay recommended retail again.