How Not To Let Your Wedding Break You (Take 2)

Congratulations! You’re getting married!

Now it’s onto planning your special day! Wedding Cake

There’s so much that must be running through your minds as an engaged couple.

How many guests would we invite?

Where will we host the reception?

Who is a good decorator we could hire?

Where could we find an excellent photographer?

Should we travel for our honeymoon or should we honeymoon at a local hotel?

In the midst of this questioning, we know it could be challenging to strike a balance between the dream wedding and the real wedding. We all desire a wedding, we could pull out all the stops, serve three course meals and invite all of our families and friends.

The reality is, our pockets wouldn’t be able afford what we dream of, but we could become creative, custom design our wedding day and do what is possible.

To aid you in your planning, we have some useful tips:

  1. The truth is, catering will be one of the biggest expenses. To determine the amount of guests you can manage comfortably as a couple, simply multiply the proposed number of guests by the cost per head.
  2. There are some venues that not only provide the space for the reception, but also provide catering and decorating services. Check your local listings.
  3. If you can’t afford to have a reception, then don’t have one. It’s actually trendy these days. Some couples have a garden wedding, light refreshments and set off into the sunset (on a cruise) together on their honeymoon.
  4. Along with the bridal registry, give your guests the option of giving monetary gifts. This will provide them ease in selecting their gift.
  5. If your budget does not allow you to travel, don’t sweat it. Opt to have a ‘staycation’ for your honeymoon.

When your guests have left and wished you well, real life comes right after and that’s where discipline must continue for the both of you as a couple. Why not get prepared while planning your wedding. Challenge yourselves to not go in the red and stick to your budget.

Remember, the aim is to live life #intheblack before your wedding and the life after.

 

Melinda_02

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay) Finance, the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

She is also the author of My Money & Me. A book which takes a closer look at how your behaviour affects the way you manage your money. (www.astrapefinance.com)

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle

FOLLOW her on Instagram:

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

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Habits Which Help You Stick To Your Budget

Let’s face it, budgeting is hard work and in order for you to be successful with your budget you need to employ good habits.

Habits are essentially regular practices. Come to think of it, budgeting is indeed a necessary habit!

If you want to win with your budget, why not give a few of these habits a try:

Budgeting: First up, you will need a budget. If you are novice or in need a refresher to setting up your personal budget, please refer to Types of Budgets to discover which style of budgeting works for you.

Practicing deferred current consumption: Deferred current consumption is the practice of setting aside money for spending later.  While it is necessary to look at the short-term (spending money on immediate needs), it also important to look at your finances in the long-term. Think about it, one day you will look to retire. Someday, your children will be off to college. Think about it.

Practicing delayed gratification:  Delayed gratification is the ability to put off a purchase until a later date. You sleep on it and if you wake in the morning realising you don’t need it, well you didn’t need it in the first instance.

Switching from credit to debit:  Credit cards while they are convenient (money is made available based on the credit limit assigned to your card), for every purchase you make, you are charged interest.  If you want to stay #intheblack switch from using credit to using debit. I longer use or carry a credit card. I only spend what I do have. When I place money on my online debit card, I am able to make that purchase. If I don’t have money placed on my card, I will not be able to make that purchase.

Budgeting takes practice. It will take a combination of discipline and strong will in order to master the habit.

What habits help you stick to your budget?

 

Melinda_02

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay) Finance, the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

She is also the author of My Money & Me. A book which takes a closer look at how your behaviour affects the way you manage your money. (www.astrapefinance.com)

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle

FOLLOW her on Instagram:

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

How to Budget for Special Occasions (Take 2)

Any time of the year we party hearty! champagne party

We have block parties, celebrate weddings, have family reunions and let’s not forget the barbecues!

To ensure your event runs smoothly, you need a plan. Along with the guest list and venue, you will need a budget.

For the event planner or the party planner at heart, you know this is vital.  Money is the heart of any special occasion and it is what makes the event possible.

So for you newbies or veterans, I have some tips you can use to create your event budget:

  1. Guests: Make a list of the number of guests you plan to invite. This will determine your catering costs if you plan to cater the event.
  2. Location: Determine the location of the event. If it is a family reunion, using a relative’s home can save you money big time.
  3. Menu: Create the menu to suit the occasion. If it is a family gathering, have a potluck lunch or dinner.
  4. Decorations & Favours:  Think about the theme, review the area and determine how much it would cost to transform your space. Think of fun and creative favours to give away while you’re at it. Purchase them in bulk.
  5. Rentals: Determine if you will be renting chairs, tables or cutlery. Some venues do not provide seating or utensils for eating.

With these in mind, you want to assign a cost to each category.

Once your budget is in place, you can go full steam ahead with your planning.

We would love to know how you budget for occasions such as these. Is it really possible to stick to your budget?

Please share your comments with us below!

Melinda_02

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay) Finance, the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

She is also the author of My Money & Me. A book which takes a closer look at how your behaviour affects the way you manage your money. (www.astrapefinance.com)

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle

FOLLOW her on Instagram:

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

Mind Your Budget (Take 2)

I thought I would re purpose a blog I wrote three years. I think the content is still pretty relevant for us in 2018!

Let’s monitor our budgets daily. Whilst being in the midst of the everyday busy life, let’s be mindful of this:

Financial leadership

Let’s take a look at this scenario.

You have been paid earlier than your normal pay date. What do you do? Do you spend like there’s no tomorrow? Or do you make a plan?

Might I humbly recommend you make a plan?

This is asked in order to encourage you to maintain composure along your financial course.

If there is ever a time to be responsible with your money, it is TODAY.

Budgeting is not some out dated form of practice. It is a lifesaver. Take it from someone who was a habitual spender. If your life is out of focus financially speaking, it may be time to implement financial leadership. It’s not too late!

Financial leadership means giving your money purpose and direction. You simply have a vision of where you want to be and you allocate money so you could reach your destination. So for example, if you have responsibilities to meet in January after Christmas has come and gone, you want to ensure there is money there to meet those commitments.

Financial pressures

Financial pressures, also known as societal pressures, tend to set a precedence for one’s spending.

Spending to be liked

I would like to address this topic as someone who needed to be liked at some point in their life. Spending money on people who do not necessarily like or care about you is not worth it. It doesn’t make sense enriching their lives for you to end up poorer. No need for you to be a people pleaser. Those people from whom you are seeking approval, need to be minimized from or cut out of your life.

Peer pressure

Children are not the only ones who experience peer pressure, us adults do at some points in our lives as well.  If you do have not have the money to do what others are pressuring you to do, don’t do it. If someone is encouraging you to get a credit card to make up for the money you don’t have, don’t do it! You will not be paying for the purchase price, but you will be paying for the purchase price plus interest. And if you are not able to pay the full amount due after your numerous purchases in one payment, you will be tempted to make minimum payments only. Which in turn will keep you in a debt hole.

Comparison

You think your life is awful because you don’t have the things your heart desires. And someone else seems happier because they have what you don’t have. May I suggest you stop right there? Not only does comparing yourself unfavourably to others place you in a defeated mental state, but it makes a breeding ground for jealousy. Then you despise the individual for what they have and think not so healthy thoughts about them. Combat this by looking around you. You have your loved ones. You have a place to live. You have food in the fridge. You still have a job and means for travel. Even if you use public transportation, you have the funds to pay bus fare. Think of it. You are definitely further than you where you were at the beginning of 2017.

I challenge you. Let’s make an effort to mind our budgets and to mind our business.

 

Melinda_02

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay) Finance, the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

She is also the author of My Money & Me. A book which takes a closer look at how your behaviour affects the way you manage your money. (www.astrapefinance.com)

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle

FOLLOW her on Instagram:

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

Types of Budgets

Guess what? There are different ways you could budget your money. But first, allow me to introduce to you my concept Financial Leadership. Financial Leadership is giving your money PURPOSE and DIRECTION.

You give your money PURPOSE via goal setting and you give your money DIRECTION via budgeting. Budgeting might be difficult for some because some may not know what they are going to do with their money. They don’t have an idea of the direction they are heading in. So it would be helpful first to sit for a minute and think about what you would like to accomplish in terms of your goals. (If you would like to learn more about goal setting, send me an email at melinda@astrapefinance.com or comment below and I would be more than delighted to set you up with a FREE webinar on this topic!)

When you finally have a clear idea of the direction you are heading, now you could create your budget.

Now, there are different ways you could do this:

1. Tracking your budgeted vs your actual spend: For those of you who may be novices, don’t panic! If you are new to this, you could jump start your budgeting process by simply tracking the money you spend within a month for an example. Keep running totals of the amounts you spend on gas, groceries and your other expenses, because you will be using these amounts to base your budget on. Create three columns below your income, Budgeted Amount, Actual Amount and Difference. The key to sticking to your budget is to keep track of each expense category. For example, if you allot $500 (the budgeted amount) for groceries and spend $200 (the actual amount) on groceries, how much money will you have left to spend? You guessed it, you have a difference remaining of $300.

Income:       $2,000

Expense       Budgeted Amount         Actual Amount         Difference

Groceries    $500                                   $200                               $300

2. Using envelopes to create your budget: The envelope system is a system used to place money into labelled envelopes for various spending purposes. Much like option 1, it is a hands on approach to managing your money. If you set aside $200 in an envelope for “Fun Money” per say and you run out, there’s no going into your “Utilities” envelope and removing resources to replenish your fun money.

3. Sticking to percentages in your budget:  This option may be beneficial for those first receiving their salaries, as they would not have any responsibilities under their belt just yet. For those of you willing to give it a try, you could allocate 10 percent to giving (and if you are not a giver, that’s quite okay), 10 percent to saving, 10 percent to investing and live off the the remaining 70%. It may be challenging to save or invest a full 10 percent. You may not be able to give also. In some circumstances, debt maybe the inhibitor to fully embracing this option. If more than 35% of your income is tied up in debt, it maybe time to look at paying off your debts at a more rapid rate.

There you have it. Your budgeting options. Will they work? Absolutely. Will you get it right the first time? It takes practice. At the end of the day, the purpose of budgeting is to help you plan for every single cent in your possession.

 

 

Melinda_02

 

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay)
Finance, the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

She is also the author of My Money & Me. A book which takes a closer look at how your behaviour affects the way you manage your money (www.astrapefinance.com)

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

LIKE her Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/MoneyMatterswithMelinda

FOLLOW her on Instagram: moneymatterswithmelinda

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle

The Importance of Saving

I was asked to write a blog about something that I am passionate about or interest me.

In my mind.. I was like blogging?

‘I dunno bout dat yuh!’

I have never done this before…

What would I even talk about? I don’t like anything that much.

However, after a few days of trying to find a topic I can do some justice to, out of the blue it came to me one faithful day at work * Cues heavenly music * “The Importance of Saving!”

Now this is something I can stand by and talk about with interest, as I consider myself a natural saver.

Not to long after acquiring my first job at the age of 23, I had ensured that a monthly automated payment was being deposited into a savings account. Now at that age most young people ain’t studying nothing so!

At the time I did it, I didn’t have anything in particular I was saving up for. Nor, did anyone advise me to do it *stops to think*… wellll not that I can remember.

But let me tell you, now at the tender age of 29 I am happy with my decision to incorporate saving into my life.

These are 3 major benefits I have experienced for myself:

  1. Minimises the need for debt which in of itself is a money saver.

It is fair to say that many people believe that incurring debt is a part of life. So, the fastest and easiest thing we tend to do is take out a loan without considering or even caring about the cost attached to borrowing especially over a long period of time.

The cost of debt can really hurt financially, especially when you have more than one repayment to make monthly which your income can barely cover. I have listened and read numerous stories about people trying to become and stay debt free.

In my case, because I had savings I hardly ever borrowed. To be exact, I have only ever taken out one loan in my life so far. (Looking back, I could have left that out doe! stupse).

I moved from my parents’ home, bought furniture, my first car and travelled all on money I saved. No! I didn’t do those things all in the same year, and my savings did take some beating. However, today I am relatively comfortable financially because I was tucking away money consistently. Now, had I been borrowing instead I would not be in this position.

Therefore, I believe in more instances we can take our time and save rather than incur debt as this makes life financially easier in the long run.

  1. Provides flexibility.

Money can be saved to start your own business. Persons have even saved money just to travel for a while and enjoy new experiences. Or, in my case take some time off from work to complete studies.

Working and studying is really hard. When I started to do both, I believed I could make it to the end like many others have. But, here I am planning on taking a few months from the 9 to 5 to focus on passing my remaining exams. This decision was prompted by successive failures, and my strong desire to finish study sooner rather than later.

I know leaving a full-time job for an extended period of time when you have rent, bills to pay, food to buy, and the likelihood of unforeseen events occurring is risky as hell. But having savings (and budgeting) helps mitigate some of that risk and provides some level of comfort. More importantly, it is allowing me the opportunity to try another approach at achieving my goal.

  1. Important in case of emergencies.

 You never know what obstacles life has patiently waiting for you around the corner, and most of the time they come with costly price tags attached. It could be illness, car troubles, job loss, or some other significant expense.  Having money set aside, so you are prepared when an unexpected financial dilemma occurs can be quite comforting.

Essentially, this safety net helps reduce stress and keeps you from going into panic mode, especially it situations where kids or other loved ones are involved or impacted. Therefore, even if you are not reserving cash for any other reason, having what is known as an emergency fund is not only important to your financial stability, but also to you and your family’s overall well-being.

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My name is Cherisse Brewster, I am a client accountant at Cidel Bank and Trust Inc, currently pursuing a CPA designation. I have been working in the private sector for over 5 years. During this time, I have grown interested in money management, which led to a desire to create financial independence for myself in the future.

Through budgeting and saving my personal finances has and continues to benefit. Therefore, I wish to help others where necessary improve their financial position as well. At present, I hope to accomplish this by working with an honest and reliable company like Astrape Finance who shares similar aspirations.

So from me to you… peace, love and financial prosperity

 

 

 

Be Your Own Financial Hero

Today, we celebrate National Hero’s Day in Barbados. This holiday lauds those who would have made tremendous contributions to our nation’s development.

Do you know any heroes of this day? Do you know of someone who possesses qualities you greatly admire? Do you know of someone who has accomplished outstanding achievements? A hero is defined as just that.

Heroes are the teachers who train the nation’s children. Heroes are the fathers and mothers who play a key role in their children’s development. Heroes are those who adopt the fatherless. Heroes are those who speak up and use their voice to initiate change.

Now, I want to introduce you to a hero you know very, very well. Take a look in the mirror. Who do you see?

What makes you a hero you might ask?

Think about the obstacles you have had to overcome. And if I may highlight your heroism from a financial perspective, think about the financial obstacles you have had to overcome as an individual and as a family unit.

So, what does it take to be your own financial hero?

  1. Recognise there is a financial hero in you: Being a financial hero has nothing to with the money you make or the amount of money you have in your bank account. It has to do with your ability to lead your money. Financial leadership is giving your money PURPOSE and DIRECTION. A financial hero recognises his/her current practices are not lining up to the vision he/she set for him/herself. It takes courage to take deliberate and consistent steps to lead your money more effectively.
  2. Forgive those who failed to be your financial hero: Sometimes we place high expectations on people and then they fail us. This isn’t to say there wouldn’t be people who would keep their word. There maybe some of you who may have been abandoned by a family member and they left you to struggle. You have to forgive them for what they didn’t do and what they did to you. You are not forgiving them for their sake, you are forgiving them for your sake. If you want to move forward, you need to stop looking back and start looking forward.
  3. Be brave enough to change for the better: The way you behave affects the way you manage your money. If you are seeking to be a “people pleaser”, you will spend your money to obtain the approval of others. If you don’t think you are worthy of any investment, what will you do? You won’t seek to use your money to improve your financial situation. Do yourself a favour and change the way you think about yourself. Your thoughts are translated into your behaviour, hence affecting the your potential to be better with your money.

Become your own financial hero today. Happy National Hero’s Day!

If you want to improve the way you behave with your money, please allow me to introduce to you Money Matters with Melinda,  a series bringing transformation to your money life through information and inspiration! We are set to release my second book My Money & Me, where we take a closer look at how your behaviour affects your past, your present and your future.

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To stay up to date about the release of my next book My Money & Me, please leave your information in the form below.

 

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Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay)
Finance, the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

LIKE her Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/MoneyMatterswithMelinda

FOLLOW her on Instagram: moneymatterswithmelinda

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle