We can all agree, 2020 has truly tested us so far. From the COVID-19 pandemic, amplification of Black Lives Matter, and the untimely deaths of Kobe, Andre Harrell, and B Smith to name a few – we are all feeling it.
While times are hard out here, life does push on despite the struggle. That struggle includes making ends meet. No matter how you came up or where you are financially, today is the day you can start improving your financial situation. It all starts with changing how you think about money. Money can be a tool you can sharpen like a machete to slice up that debt, stay on point with your finances and save so you can enjoy the finer things in life. Let’s use the remainder of 2020 as a turning point to adopt better money habits that will not only keep us fresh and clean, but also smart and savvy.
Keeping up with the Joneses
We’ve all tried to floss at some point in our lives by buying something way more expensive than we could afford just to impress others or feel better about ourselves. Real talk: Money can buy status. Those new Louboutin’s or Cartier watch may give you the confidence to stand out from the crowd. But if you truly can’t afford them, you’ll find yourself caught up in a lifestyle you can’t maintain.
The reality is, money can be used to empower and improve our lives in ways far beyond fashion, beyond cars, and beyond status. Most of us were never taught how money works or how to manage it, and our pockets and bank accounts reflect that. But it’s never too late to change your money mindset. It all starts with small changes here and there.
Ballers on a Budget
As the Notorious B.I.G. song goes “Mo Money, Mo Problems…”
Biggie, Diddy, and Mase weren’t lying when they said it: Mo Money, Mo Problems. Sometimes, having the money you want doesn’t fix your problems. In many cases, it creates more of them if you’re not careful. There’s a reason some pro ballers like Allen Iverson go broke after making millions upon millions. Mismanagement, living beyond your means, and other people’s hands in your pockets can suck that cash up like a hoover. How do you prevent it?
Taking control of your finances is literally about Control. Your path to financial freedom starts with a simple budget. You have to know how much cash is coming in and how much is going out.
Budgets work if you use them and stick to them. For a concrete, real-world example, below is a look at a simple budget for a person making $40K a year. It’s broken down into two columns so you can easily see the income coming in, and the expenses going out:
|Monthly Salary (after taxes)||$2,600.00||Rent||$1,000.00|
|TOTAL INCOME||$2,600.00||TOTAL EXPENSES||$2,065.00|
It’s hard seeing those expenses eat away at our “fun” money, but that’s part of adulting. The only thing we can do is prepare ourselves the best way we can. Numbers can get away from you in your head. Looking at the numbers on your laptop or even an app can make it easier to track your income, spending, and savings. With your new budget, you’ll still be able to ball out occasionally.
Remember: we’re talking about financial freedom. Staying true to your weekly, bi-weekly or monthly budget can be the difference between getting by and getting ahead. Keep scrolling to learn about more tools to help you take control.
Saving for your Future
There’s a reason your momma told you to save those coins. Whether you had a piggy bank, bank account or you just stuffed cash under that old mattress, stashing away that money helped you afford to buy the things you wanted later and taught you how to save at an early age. Short term pain for long-term gain. Now, keeping it completely 100, that’s easier said than done.
But part of shifting your money mindset is realizing that saving isn’t always about waiting. It’s about putting yourself in the driver’s seat and empowering yourself. You’re worth the money in the bank, and you’re worth the peace of mind that comes along with knowing you have savings.
A strong savings habit helps give you peace of mind in two ways. First, you’ll be protected in case you need emergency funds (or if a world-wide pandemic shuts everything down). Instead of worrying about how you’ll pay your bills in an emergency, you can count on the cash you’ve been saving. Take the Control Prepaid Mastercard®1 as an example. You can start building for your future by earning up to 5.00% annual percentage yield (APY) to increase your savings potential with the optional savings account.2 Saving money can make you money.
Using the example in the chart above, let’s say you have about $500 left over each month after bills, expenses, and some fun. If you set up an automatic transfer to your savings account on the same day as pay day, you’ll never “miss” that money because you won’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind. It’ll still be there in case of emergencies, but if you can keep it in savings, you’ll be left with $6,165 at the end of one year – the added $75 would be extra money you’ve earned from interest on the savings account!
The second benefit is financial freedom. Having money saved up gives you the freedom to use it any way you want in the future. Use that savings to help buy that new whip or a new pair of sneakers. Or, you can try out the stock market or continue to build up your reserves. The point is, with your savings, you’ll have the opportunity to do you, whatever that might be.
Flipping the Script
Part of transforming that financial mindset is changing how you use and access your money. The Control Prepaid Card is a perfect option for this. Why?
- It’s safer than carrying cash, with built-in enhanced security features like Anytime Alerts™3 to keep you updated when there’s activity on your Card Account.
- There’s a mobile app3 to manage your money
- Stick to your budget – since you can only spend what you load, you won’t break the bank.
So what do Jay-Z, LeBron, Oprah, Robert Smith and countless other wealthy Black folks know? Today’s money makers and movers and shakers understand that financial health and wealth is not always about the money itself. It’s the mindset. The grind is always important, but having the right tools and the right frame of mind will help you understand that your money is a means to your goals.
Remind yourself that you have what it takes to reach your financial goals, and remember that Control Card has your back.