Straight out of college, one has to make financial decisions. From negotiating salaries to making an excel sheet of your spending, financial planning can be intimidating- I get that. Who doesn’t miss the good old days? When all we knew about finance was putting our monthly allowance in a piggy bank and saving up money for a new iPhone. On the bright side, we are in this together. As a fellow Gen Z-er, soon to be a fresh grad, I too feel lost diving into adulthood. So, this is an attempt to figure out financials together. From my very humble experience to your lost self, here are five first-hand tips to ace financial planning.
Tip #1: Stalk (aka track) Your Money
First things first, it is crucial to “stalk” your money. You have to know where your money goes and be fully aware of your spending. The latter shouldn’t exceed your income. You can either apply this technique on a weekly or a daily basis. What works for me best is keeping track of my expenses using my phone’s notes app. I believe it is more accessible than using Excel or a Google sheet. Yet, you do you.
Pro-tip: It can be challenging to track cash. Being cashless is a plus since you can easily track all your transactions. And, instead of checking zillion bank apps on your phone, you can use Nexta, where you can connect your existing bank accounts with ease. Think about it: Managing your financials in one place.
Tip #2: Be A Conscious Shopper/Spender
Do you really need this pair of jeans? Not to state the obvious, but the first step to keep your personal finances in order is to spend mindfully. Set a saving goal to motivate you to get started. From personal experience, having an end goal immensely helps in saving up money. So, think long and hard: what do you wish to buy? It can be anything: NFT, SEAT’s red Ibiza, a beach house in Gouna, or a trip to Cape Town. The sky is the limit. Once you have your end goal, break it down to small milestones, to avoid getting demotivated or overwhelmed.
Tip #3: S.O.S Cash
Nope, I don’t mean Rihanna or ABBA’s songs. I’m thinking of an emergency fund, any amount of money you keep aside every month for any emergencies or unexpected situations. With an S.O.S cash (Also called emergency fund), you’ll sleep tight at night without worrying about the future, and soon you’ll realize that you saved up a good amount of money that you may partially use for your next “friendcation” (Vacation with your pals).
Tip #4: Yala Gam’eya
“Gam’eya” (Known as money circle) is Egypt’s oldest money-saving practice. The concept is simple. You start a money circle with your friends or your family, where each member of the circle contributes with a fixed monthly installment. Every month, one of the members takes the whole amount of money. The money circle ends when all participants get a payout once. It is a super easy and fun way to save up money.
Tip #5: Cut Back Unnecessary Charges
We often forget about subscriptions, but our wallets don’t. We automatically keep getting charged monthly for unused services. When you cut back unnecessary charges, it will make a significant change, even if it’s a small amount. So, it’s time to unsubscribe from that streaming service, peeps.
The bottom line is financial planning is not rocket science. You don’t need an MBA in finance to manage your money. And, don’t forget that it’s a process of trial-and-error. So, it’s okay to take time to get the hang of it. You’ve got this, and please don’t buy the pair of jeans.