Tuesday of this week was Mardi Gras. I hope you got to enjoy some fasnachts, ate king cake or even got some beads thrown your way. As much as the festivities of New Orleans, LA and all over the world have gained renown for their revelry, we should still remember what brings about such merriment- the upcoming self-discipline of Lent.
If you are unfamiliar with Lent, it is a time of year observed by those of the Christian faith. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the sort of last hurrah, hence the legendary revelry, before Lent. The season begins with Ash Wednesday and ends six weeks later with Easter Sunday. During this time period observers will offer penance, prayer and self-denial. The self-denial can be offered up in various ways. If you’re a big coffee drinker for example you could make your sacrifice by abstaining from your morning brew. Lent is not just a time for giving things up. Many people will choose to add something to their lives like additional exercise or to give to charities during this time.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I can’t but help to look at things from a financial angle and what better season than that of Lent? So in honor of this season, I’ll list a few financial dos and don’ts that people could try over the next 40 days. Even if you are not a religious person, this is still a good time to learn something new and to test one’s will power.
Some Things to Give Up:
Give up using the business accounts to pay for personal expenses
Make a clear distinction to what is for you personally and what is for the business.
Give up on trying to do your own payroll
Inaccuracies in payroll are not worth the savings that you get by doing them yourself.
Give up on not putting profits before expenses
Like I learned from Mike Michalowicz in his book “Profit First”, the equation business owners should be following is “sales-profits=expenses”
Give up not working to pay yourself
Business owners need to make a commitment to themselves alongside their business as a whole.
Give up not being properly insured
When disaster strikes, you’ll be happy to be insured. As much as we all dislike paying for it, insurance is there for a reason.
Give Up spending more than you make
This is Financials 101; either for your personal finances or your business, what you spend should never be greater than what you bring in.
Some Things to Practice More Often
Pay Off Debts
This relates directly to spending more than you make. If you spend more than you make, you’ll rack up debt. When you have debts, attack them! Don’t just pay the minimums because that is horrible for the long run.
Keep an eye on your personal finances
With things like the Wells Fargo hidden fees scandal in mind, take time to go over your bank accounts. We’re not all bookkeepers, but one should take some time to go over their bank accounts to look for fraudulent charges or questionable fees.
Looking back to the previous example, if you are tired of questionable fees, higher bills or lackluster security, shop around. If you qualify, a credit card with a lower interest rate or cash back on purchases can save you money in the long run.
Know your own numbers
Do a little research on yourself. Find out your FICO score, your credit card limit and how your debts weigh up to your income to get a better picture of your finances.
These next 40 days of Lent offer a nice time to try out some of these financial dos and don’ts. If these suggestions seem like something that helped you out after the 40 days, it wouldn’t hurt to try them for the rest of the year or to make them regular habits. Let me know if you plan on trying any of these suggestions and want to follow up afterwards. Here’s to your next 40 days being a time of growth spiritually, personally and financially!