Many years ago, I read that putting coins into a container for a “rainy day” was one way to save money. So, I remember having a plastic, one-gallon jug where I put loose change. The idea of saving for a rainy day made no sense to me, because at that time, I had very little money, and thought that saving a few pennies would not help much.
However, I decided to go ahead and try it. But, instead of “rainy day fund” I named it the“Sunshine fund,” which made a huge difference to me.
Afterwards, when I would toss in my change, it was a reminder that better days were ahead.About that time, I attended a seminar at church on Prosperity, which helped teach me to be grateful for what I had; and it showed me how my life was abundant and not lacking in what I needed. That was a game changer for me!
When I became serious about learning and managing money, one of my first resources was Suze Orman, who I first saw on Oprah’s TV show over 25 years ago. Suze is a financial expert who had a background in social work. When she launched the Suze Orman show, I watched it every Saturday night for many years! I even had my daughters watch with me, and I loved it when she started including kids on her show.
That show was fascinating to me because, for the first time, I could see and hear how other people handled money, and how they made financial decisions. Our favorite segment was “Can You Afford It?” where people would call in and ask if they could afford a purchase they wanted to make. Suze would review their entire financial picture and tell them whether it was something they could purchase or not.
I “graduated” from Suze’s TV show and began reading not only her books, but many publications; which included Money Magazine, Kiplinger, Jean Chatzky, MichelleSingletary, Warren Buffett and others.
My first budgeting app was Mint, which I used to keep track of my income and expenses. I enjoyed using their budgeting tool to see how much I spent in the various categories. There are many different ways to keep track of your finances, so whether you use pencil and paper or go “high tech,” it’s important to learn the basics of earning, saving and investing your money which allows you to have financial freedom and what I refer to as the “luxury of choice.”
Finally, if there is one aspect about money that I believe is important above all else, is that it is just a tool to be utilized to purchase goods and services in our lives and to help others.
One cannot do that if one’s own financial life is in shambles, so understanding how to earn, save and invest money is an important first step. Once your basic needs are met, it’s important to invest intentionally in people and things that are in line with your values and to do so with a generous heart and appreciation for the privilege of sharing one’s gifts with others.
For me, it’s my church and those people and organizations that support entrepreneurs, women, marginalized groups, local businesses, the environment, schools, communities, health disparities, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Research, youth literacy and mentoring programs to name a few.
Sharing the blessings I have received is one way to pass on to future generations what others have passed on to me. I’ve learned that having money is not enough; one needs to know how to manage it, as well. This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about financial education for children and adults!
Creating a legacy that improves the lives of others who come after me is what gives me joy and a sense that I am fulfilling my purpose!
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