How many of you are consistently recording your daily expenses and then balancing the total expenses with the income at the end of the month? Do you know how important it is to keep track and manage our personal funds? There are multiple ways to keep track our expenses. Some people use a software, while others are doing it manually. Regardless, the purpose of this activity is to help us to control our budget and to ensure that we always have a surplus at the end of the month.
I had a conversation with a lady who got married last year. I saw her pulling out papers and stack of receipts from her purse. She had a calculator next to her. I asked her what she was doing, and she told me she was calculating her monthly expenses. I admired her detailed-oriented behaviors because she organized her accounting book very neat. I also realized at that moment that our focus and responsibility are changed once we enter a marriage life. Perhaps, we could immediately buy a new pair of shoes or a gadget when we were still single; now we have to think about the family. The cost of a pair of shoes or a new gadget could be used to pay the housing loans or childcare expenses.
This immediate thought not only reminded me of my very first money saving experiences, but also made me wondering if parents and school nowadays are teaching this money saving skills to children.
I was in the primary school when our parents opened a saving account for each one of us. They explained to us the reason behind it. They even told us when we could buy new toys or clothes including the reasons why we could not have certain items that we wished we could have it. Sure I was angry when I received no as an answer. I didn’t realize until I was older that my parents taught me to differentiate need from want. I wanted a new stuffed animal , but at that time I did not really need the stuffed animal. I had plenty of them in my room.
I learned about debit, credit, surplus, and deficit in the high school accounting class. Although I did not end up in the accounting field, I implemented the skills when I started to live independently (e.g., in a college, graduated from college and had my first job, etc). I started to have my simple accounting book in which in each page, it has 4 columns (date, note, debit and credit). I admit my book is not as good as the lady’s accounting book. I know I should learn more from her because she is doing it very well. The skills that I received from my parents help me to sort which items I really need when I am out for shopping.
In summary, we need to act wise when it comes to spending money while we continue to work on generating more income. We also need to prioritize our needs from our wants. It’s okay to teach our children or students on money saving skills. Sooner is better.