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Purely Dominica

Purely Dominica

What can we as Caribbean people do to be more responsible for their financial situations?

What can we teach our children so that when the next economic downturn comes along they’ll be prepared.

One possible answer is to become better educated about what it takes to be financially secure. It’s no easy task, under the present circumstances, when so many of the different islands are struggling to get a financial foot-hold on their economy.

But besides educating our children about financial responsibility, we must keep a positive attitude, and more importantly passing on this behavior to our kids.

Here are some simple lessons we can teach kids as a part of their long-term preparation for adulthood. Not forget the basics: spend less, save and (cautiously) invest more, and always follow a plan.

1. Start by being honest with yourself about your situation, and then take positive steps to better understand and cope with your present situation.

2. Manage and track your spending.

3. Start a savings account, and save as much as you can.

4. Reduce credit card spending — try your best to stay out off debt.

5. Continue to learn — you are protecting yourself when you maintain a marketable skill.

6. Maintain health insurance.

7. Open a retirement account and add to it monthly. Take responsibility for your own future.

Even in a fluctuating job market, consider yourself capable, and acknowledge your potential by maintaining a positive attitude, and being kind to yourself. Recognizing the significance of our contributions and the validity of our participation, is an important factor in the development of our self-concept. It also helps build the confidence we’ll need to get over the financial hump.

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Often we’re told at a very early age that we have to suffer now – give up want we want – so that we can succeed later in life, that in order to save we must prepared to make some sacrifices. Give up instant gratification to get delayed gratification down the line.

But you can do both, as I mention in the opening paragraph of this post – you must prepared to make some scarifies.

Forever since I can remember, I was confused about this, which sent me two different messages:

1.Pleasure later. The first message was that in order to be successful, in order to build wealth and make something of yourself, you have to delay gratification. As my mom will always say “you can’t have your cake and eat.” – I never really understood what she meant by that up until I started living on my own.
2.Pleasure now. The second message was usually from other sources on happiness, but sometimes from the same source: enjoy life now, while you can, because it’s short and you never know when your last day will come. Live every day like it’s your last.

The funny thing is, I agree with both messages. And if continue to read this post, you’ll see that I touch on both messages. Live sparingly and simply! But also enjoy life.

Liuda (fiancée) and I have come to a point in our lives, where we’ve decided to make the all necessary sacrifices in other for us to own our home; so we’ve reconciled the two ways of life into one: Live life now and enjoy it to the fullest — without destroying our future. we find ways to enjoy life completely, utterly, maximally … that don’t cost our future very much.

Here are some tips for actually living that philosophy:

Find free or cheap pleasures. Sparingly does not have to be boring or restrictive … if you use your imagination. Be creative and find ways to have fun — loads of it — without spending much money. Have a drink-ups at friends homes, go to the beach, board games, take field trips , make art, bake cookies 🙂 … there are maybe a hundred of different things you could come up with a few hundred more. Make a list of simple pleasures, and enjoy them to the maximum.

Make simplifying fun. I’m a big fan of simplifying my life in every way, from decluttering to creating a simple lifestyle. And to me, this is fun. I get rid of stuff (and possibly make money selling it) and have a blast doing it.

Rediscover what’s important. Too often we spend tons of money, shopping, going out, watching television, eating out … without really enjoying life. And when we stop to think about it, we never have time for the things we really want to do. Well, that’s probably because your life is filled with things that aren’t very important to you. Instead, take a few steps back and really think about what’s important to you. Then get rid of the other (expensive) stuff, and focus on what’s important.

Make people a priority. I thought I’d give it a little more emphasis, as this is related to the above point. If you give “stuff” a priority — stuff like gadgets, nice furnishings, nice clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. — then you will spend a lot of money. But if you make people a priority — the people you love most, you close friends and family — you don’t need to spend a dime to enjoy life. Talk about books you’ve read, movies you’ve watched, new things going on in your life, your hopes and dreams. And make time for your kids or your significant other — really spend time with them, doing things that don’t cost money.

Track your successes. It doesn’t really matter how you track your success … you can use gold stars for creating a new simplifying habit, or use a spreadsheet chart to track your decreasing debt and increasing savings or investments. Tracking is a great way to not only provide motivation, but make the process of changing fun.

Reward yourself. And in order to make it more fun, celebrate every little success! Set rewards for yourself (hopefully not too expensive!) along your path to success.

Find time for yourself. Make time every day, and every week, to spend time alone. It really gives more meaning and enjoyment to your life, rather than rushing through life with no time to think, to breathe. You need some “me time” everyday.

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