Life after VAT….

Life after VAT….

By now you have  heard about it. You know that ole dirty tax has increased, the name that I dare not repeat but no matter how much I try to avoid it come July 1st VAT will be here at an additional 4.5%.

Now this post is not about complaining. We are well passed this stage and while I have to admit my people are super creative because all of the videos (by the way have you seen this one?) and memes were definitely well worth the chuckle reality has set in and well it’s really no laughing matter.

Read the 2018 Budget Communication here.

I recently attended a budgeting seminar this week (perfect timing right), it was hosted by a banker. She was amazing,  been in the game for over 10 years but to be honest her approaches to me were not realistic and practical. I’m not a financial guru but most persons are already living paycheck to paycheck, saving is almost near impossible and well now we have more VAT to worry about.

Naturally as a mother of two I have already had my family on a strict budget. Living in one of the richest countries of the Caribbean isn’t so glamorous when minimum wage is $210.00 per week, the average rent is $700.00 and to get decent education and health care you have to spend exorbitant amounts of money.

Being an adult is hard

Being an adult with kids is hard

Being an adult with kids in The Bahamas is harder

You have to consider so many things like:

Food

Life Insurance

Car Insurance

Car maintenance

House Insurance

Medical Insurance

Pension

School Fees

Mortgage

Utilities

and if you somehow manage to crawl out of your deep hole of debt maybe just maybe a vacation!

(Did I forget anything???)

From the first introduction of Value Added Tax years ago I’ve done some major and minor budgeting that may just be able to help someone out there.

Monitor your Grocery shopping habits. A few simple ways to do this is by creating a meal plan, creating a grocery list and sticking to it when going shopping and don’t shop while hungry.

Meal planning goes hand in hand with the grocery list. Really, if you know what you plan to cook for the entire week then you know what you need to buy. This also eliminates additional stops to the grocery store which can also cause unnecessary expenditures.

The last part seems funny but study shows that when persons shop while hungry they tend to pick up more stuff out side of the grocery list based on hunger. I’ve seen this happen personally with myself so I 100% agree. Also if you can, leave the kids at home. They always want something additional that you more than likely did not budget for but for your sanity just put the coco puffs in the trolley!

You can also look at paying your bills weekly. Now of course this can be tricky for those who get paid bi weekly or even monthly and I would imagine there would be some adjustments to this given that knowledge. However, I found that it is easier for a person to come up with $20 weekly for a $100 bill verse the entire $100 one time. The whole idea is to eliminate large payments.

Now pause, I know what you are thinking, who has time to go in BEC or Cable Bahamas every week with $20. Got it and noted. This can work two ways. If you bank online  you can take advantage of the automated features and schedule your bill payment every week. Almost all of the major banks have this option online however I would encourage you to visit your local branch if you have any further questions about this.

Another option is to simple buy some mason jars (some nice ones can be found in Kelly’s, AID or Xtra Value) label them for each bill and put the money away every week.

Pic courtesy of Readers Digest

This will definitely require some discipline. You don’t want to touch the money until time to actually pay your bill and physically having it in sight can be tempting.

Another trick I’ve also used that comes in handy for my daughters lunch money is saving all of the dollar bills I receive as change and putting it away in the jar. As she needs funds for lunch every day I just go in the jar and I readily have it available and broken down in smaller notes for her convenience.

Of course there are many other tips and tricks. For example I pay my mortgage every 2 weeks verses every month which ties into the point I made above. Not only am I avoiding a bulk payment but I am also paying down on the principle faster.

There is always cutting back on fast food purchases, expensive outings, reducing use of electricity and water use at home etc.

Lastly, keep track of your spending. I’ll be the first to admit I can definitely splurge a bit here and there and before I know if poof my money is gone. For the month of June I plan to keep track of every dime I spend to see if I am spending on more wants than needs and if I need to cut back just a little bit more.

With the upcoming changes in just a few shorts week every little bit helps.

Do you have any saving tips you want to share? Leave a comment below.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

I Was Having a Hard Time Saving Until I Started Doing This…

I Was Having a Hard Time Saving Until I Started Doing This…

We all want to buy something at one stage in our lives or the other and while to some it might seem like a cake walk to others it maybe a huge purchase. Huge Purchases come with huge sacrifices and saving. Saving for a big purchase can be hard. Saving big in the Bahamas, even harder.  Whenever I wanted to go on a vacation, buy a new car, get that Mac Book pro or even plan my wedding,  I needed to revert to my old ways and start a saving process. If you’re dedicated this might be the route for you.

The Credit Union

Using the credit union was a huge savings booster for me. At the time the savings account I opted for offered 4% interest. Most banks only offer about 0.5% or maybe 1% if you are lucky, but 4% nah banks wouldn’t even think about that. Forego the ATM card so you won’t be tempted to withdraw all the time. Anytime I thought about joining that long line to withdraw a few pennies I got discouraged! If you happen to work somewhere that offers salary deduction makes this part even easier.

Asues

Stay with me here. I know what you are thinking but not all asues are bad. If you can find a legit one then go for it. My strategy is to never stay in an asue longer than 3 months. in fact I have never received an asue drawer larger than $1,000.00. To me the shorter the better! I am not afraid of commitment but I am afraid of loosing my hard earn money and a short asue is my comfort zone. I re entered the same asue every 3 months for about a year while depositing my earnings in the credit union. Again win, win… you see the strategy here? Keep reading…

Saving Schemes

Another great way to save is to come up with a savings scheme. This one is real easy and can be as small or as big as you want. When you get change from your spending try saving all of your $1 bills or $5 bill or $20 bills. Go as high or as low as you want. At the end of the month deposit that money if you know you will be tempted to touch it!

Work More

Ok this one is difficult but if you have the extra time applying for a part time job can give you that extra cash you need. Or if possible stay back a few days at work during the week. Have a skill? Start using it! Do some hair or nails on the side, type that letter think of ways that you can generate some revenue. Think about your end goal, what ever that maybe and stick to it!

Cut Back Expenses

Easier said than done when bills aren’t getting any lower but when you finally see that light at the end of the tunnel you will thank yourself. If you’re a person that goes out often CUT BACK. Like to get your hair and nails done, CUT BACK. If you purchase  lunch every day oh and Starbucks (OK maybe not the Starbucks) two words here CUT BACK. Use the three day rule on this one, if you want something wait until 3 days and then let’s see how bad you want it now, do you even remember what it was? Exactly! Cut Back on impulse buying. You can do it!

Savings won’t be accumulated over night and it will take time, there may even be some set backs along the way but the key here is to stay focus, stay dedicated and please, please don’t dip into that money.

So how do you save your money?

Till Next Time