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.


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.




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.

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50 Practical Money Tips for 2016

It’s the new year and we thought it fit to share with you some practical money tips to see you through 2016:

  1. Use the envelope system to budget your money. Simply place money into labelled envelopes and stick to using the amount allocated to each envelope.
  2. Give yourself a goal to accomplish within a year.
  3. Make sure your money goals are SMART. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
  4. Pay more than the minimum balance due on your credit card. It will reduce your balance at a faster rate.
  5. Switch to using an online debit card. You only pay the purchase price. Unlike a credit card you pay the purchase price plus interest.
  6. Save in advance for annual expenses (e.g. home insurance). This will place less strain on your budget when the payment is due.
  7. Walk and do calisthenics instead of taking out expensive gym members that you may not use.
  8. Make bulk purchases. Purchase regularly used non-perishable items in bulk. They are cheaper per unit when purchased in bulk (e.g. pampers, tuna)
  9. Support local farmers, farmer’s markets and co-ops by purchasing vegetables at affordable prices.
  10. Play board games and have conversations with family, instead of going out to movies and watching television for hours on end.
  11. Eat several small meals during the day and avoid overeating in large portions. Portion control is key.
  12. Ensure your car’s tire pressure is appropriate, so as to maximise gas mileage.
  13. Ensure you service your car at the prescribed dates as to not incur expensive mechanic bills due to lack of maintenance.
  14. Iron several items of clothing in one go, instead of one item at a time over several instances.
  15. Always wash full loads of laundry.
  16. Men, invest in clippers and other hair care equipment to reduce your times spent at an expensive barber.
  17. Ladies, be sure to challenge yourself to mix and match your existing wardrobe instead of buying new clothes for every occasion.
  18. Listen out and take advantage of clearance sales and other in store bargains.
  19. Choose what you food you want before you open the refrigerator.
  20. Hone your existing skills and passions. Who knows, they may earn extra income.
  21. Do not neglect to invest in yourself. You are your greatest secret weapon.
  22. Create a will to provide for your family and to avoid expensive probate fees.
  23. Keep your mobile plan to the bare minimum. Ensure your minutes and data plan reflect your actual usage.
  24. Wherever possible, switch off data and keep calls to the minimum, while roaming overseas with your mobile.
  25. Resist the urge to keep up with the “joneses” by purchasing the latest phone. The phone you currently have, may well suffice for all your communication needs.
  26. For readers, invest in a e-reader like amazon kindle and download the thousands of free e-books available online.
  27. Dust off your library cards and rejoin the public library.
  28. Check out garage sales and used books stores for cheap, entertaining and educational books.
  29. Have an expert help you prepare your tax return as to help you take advantage of all available deductions.
  30. Be sure to pay your taxes on time to avoid penalties.
  31. Use the available space in your garden to plant cash crops.
  32. Plant trees that bear fruit in their season.
  33. Instead of expensive fertilisers, be sure to compost your kitchen scraps and grass cuttings.
  34. Carry a minimal amount cash when travelling for security purposes.
  35. Advise your card company of your travel plans in advance.
  36. Take advantage of your carry-ons and personal item space, instead of incurring expensive extra baggage fees.
  37. Be sure to weigh your checked luggage, before you arrive at the airport.
  38. Take advantage of duty free shopping areas, but beware of overspending.
  39. Wholesale is better than retail when shopping for school supplies.
  40. Collaborate with fellow parents to buy school supplies in bulk at cheaper rates.
  41. Take a quick inventory of what you do have before shopping for new stationery. You maybe able to use or reuse existing items.
  42. Shop around for the best rates of return for mutual funds.
  43. Invest in several places. Do not place all of your eggs in one basket.
  44. Where possible, avoid borrowing to invest. This practice does not take risk into account.
  45. Keep abreast of financial news and trends but do not become overwhelmed by the ups and downs of the market.
  46. Think long-term rather than short-term for best results in investing.
  47. Practice the art of giving, it opens the heart to receive.
  48. A little with content is great gain. Be content with what you have, while striving to accomplish your goals.
  49. Look out for needs in your community and seek to fill them where possible. This may be the beginning of a lucrative business.
  50. Seek the help of a competent finance professional to make sense of your current financial position and plan and track your future financial path.

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay) DSC_0051Finance, 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:

FOLLOW her on

LIKE her Facebook


Benefits of Teaching Financial Prudence at an Early Age

When it comes to teaching kids about money, the sooner the better. CNNMoney

Academic qualifications are important and so is financial education. They’re both important and schools are forgetting one of them. Robert Kiyosaki

As a parent, education is very important to the development of your child and the establishment of your child’s future. It can open doors for furthering their education and provide the quality of life you desire for them to have.

In the previous blog, “Never Too Young to Learn About Money”, it was highlighted that this young generation needs to adopt the discipline of financial management. I truly believe that by granting them this gift of financial prudence at an early age, they are  well on their way to financial success in every sphere of their lives.

Here are some benefits of teaching your children financial management principles at an early age:

  1. You will build a solid foundation for your children to build on. You can start them off by purchasing a piggy bank and teaching them about saving. It is a fun, creative way to peak their interest. In turn, their curiosity about financial management will increase.
  2. Budgeting is a very important practice to adopt. By giving them strong budgeting strategies, they are better equipped to handle their financial matters, when they go off to college, start to work and eventually get married.
  3. By teaching them to sleep on certain purchases and delay gratification, for example, they will become content with what they have. Also ensuring them they don’t need to get rich quick, will teach them about contentment as well. By avoiding “get quick rich” schemes, they are guaranteed to be financially stable.
  4. You can learn from each other.  As you instil these principles into your children, you will be amazed at how they uniquely view financial management. They may very well see something that you may not have been seeing. In turn, you will be motivated to continue to set or set an excellent example for your children to follow.

Today, some, I am afraid to say, simply do not want to take full responsibility for the current state of their monetary affairs. By teaching your children to make wise decisions with their finances, you will enable them to rebuild their countries’ economies in the long term.  This future generation, our nation builders, can be the ones to change the financial landscapes of many nations, with one wise, financial decision at a time.

Start teaching your child the importance of financial prudence today!

Astrape Finance

Never Too Young to Learn About Money

Academic qualifications are important and so is financial education. They’re both important and schools are forgetting one of them. Robert Kiyosaki

The season for exams is upon us and many of you are studying really hard to ensure you do well. I am a strong advocate for seeing our young people excel in their education and pursue their dreams. It is also my desire to see this young generation adopt the discipline of financial management.

Guess what? You’re never too  young to learn about budgets, savings and investments. The sooner you learn the better.

Here are some benefits of developing your financial management skills today:

  1. You will become knowledgeable of healthy financial practices. In the long run, you are guaranteed not to place yourself in financial ruin.
  2. You will become confident in implementing these financial practices. The more confidence you have, the stronger your approach will be to making wise financial decisions.
  3. You will know how to pick up on financial scams very quickly. There are many who would try to trap you because of your age.
  4. If you are preparing to go to college, having these skills will enable you to handle your expenses very effectively.
  5. As a future business owner, you will have the tools necessary for managing your business’ money successfully.

Why wait until you have a substantial amount of money to develop this skill? Start today. Find a mentor (parent, godparent, youth leader) who is willing to train you in this  area and offer you sound advice.

Remember, you are never too young to learn about money.

Astrape Finance