10 Tips on Positive Financial Habits

Photo courtesy of ~rock-violin.

Last week I went to a financial intelligence talk at the Performing Arts Theatre. I was invited by Mr. Robert Chiong, my dad's friend, a mutual fund agent. The talk was supposed to be held last month but it was cancelled due to the flood so the talk was postponed.

The speaker of the talk is Mr. Karthigesu, a former Bank Negara auditor, and now he's doing e-marketing business and coaching. He's also the Indian version of Robert Kiyosaki -  Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Here's a list of 10 positive financial habits to take control of your personal finance:

1. Write down expenses. Get hold of your cash flow and most importantly your expenses. Record them daily either by recording them into a book or into a software such as Microsoft Money. Keep track on your spending, set your monthly budget and eliminate those necessaries.

I'm using Microsoft Money 2006 - yea, I know mine's outdated but it's the only software I had in my PC and it's FREE! - Pirated version of course.

Did you ever write down and record your cash flow? If you never done this before, start now and be an accountant of yourself.

2. Pay yourself first. This one of the most powerful strategy on building wealth. Aside from all your monthly budget on foods, groceries and bills, take 10% of your gross income and put them into the bank or invest them in mutual fund or stocks. You can also hide them under your bed.

Way back during my diploma studies in Miri, I live alone, every month my parents bank in money into my account and I have a habit of keeping 10% of the money into a box - I call it home bank. These money I save in the home bank are used for my wants (ie. Movie DVDs, audio CDs, PC games, movie tickets etc.) and also for emergency needs - you won't know when you need them.

Did you pay yourself yet?

3. Avoid credit card purchase. Unless you are willing to pay the balance on time or you will just build a prison of debt. Credit card is really convenience - no cash? No problem. You just need to do some acrobatic action moves... *swipes swipes*... and land a signature move on the paper. Well done, now you can bring your medal back home.

Most people realize its high annual interest rate but what they don't realize is that they spend more than what they earn - purchasing goods because they come begging. If you have a habit of impulsive "swipes" purchase, you may consider to freeze your cards into ice.

4. Wait for two weeks for MAJOR purchases. Currently I'm not using my desktop computer to do stuff, I'm using my mum's laptop. My desktop has gone hair-wired and I really (need) to have a new personal computer, either a desktop or a laptop, but of course I would prefer to have a desktop. But my dad told me to decides carefully (in one week) whether I really (want) a desktop or a laptop.

Why I want a desktop - graphic and gaming, bigger storage, bigger screen, cheaper, robust and it is easy to replace and upgrade the hardware.

Why I want a laptop - mobility, less cables and cords and less usage of space on my study desk.

Finally, I came out with a decision - laptop, because mobility is my highest priority. So I browsed the laptop flyers I took, looking for laptop that performs almost as powerful as a desktop PC and I found one that really fancy me - ACER Aspire 6935G.

After deciding my dad told me to wait for another two weeks for the major purchase. The reason behind this is:
1. If my desire is emotional, I would realize that I don't really need it.
2. Give time - to plan, save up and budget.
3. Price might probably drop

So if you are about to make a major purchase, wait... Set a waiting period before you buy to determine whether it's a needs or wants. This will definitely help you to save your money.

5. Read money related article. Read at least one article everyday to improve your financial intelligence because it will help you to be more responsible and manage your money effectively thus taking control of your finances.

To be financially literate, you need to have knowledge about money. You might consider buying magazines or  google on "financial and money related articles". Get Rich Slowly is my favourite personal finance blog.

6. Shop with a list. The most important thing to do before going out shopping is to make a list on what to buy and make sure you stick to it. This will help you to keep your grocery bill down.

Most of the time when we go out shopping we tend to buy stuff that we don't really need at the moment. With just only 3 items in mind before we step into the stores, we ended up with a packed full trolley at the counter.

Supermarkets are professionally designed to make you, the shopper, shop till you drop. Avoid making eye contact with those eye-catching sexy items that want you to put them in your trolley. They're professionally groomed to catch your eyes so that you fall into their trap.

Be a smart shopper and shop with a list.

7. Have a piggy bank. Make this your habit, put all your loose changes in a piggy bank or coin jar or coin box or whatever you name it. As I grew up I still practice this favourite old-fashioned saving method.

When I was a kid, I still remember that I have three "tiger" banks designated for savings and spending. One is for my bank savings and another two is for toys, comics, foods and other stuff.

As I grew up and become a teenager I only have a coin box for the loose change. But this time I keep track with its flow, how much did I put in and how much did I've spent, and recorded them in a small book. After years of devoted practice, I came up with the home banking idea - a better and well managed piggy bank system.

The idea of having a piggy bank is to promote saving habit - the basic of financial skill. Save your loose changes and put them into the piggy bank and watch the money rolls.

8. Eat in, not out. Dining out has became a very popular trend in our amazingly busy culture nowadays. We knew that dining outside are very costly but we're either just simply too busy or have no time or just lazy to cook.

Whatever your excuses are, dine out less and try to learn eating at home or bring lunch to work/school. Burn the stove or burn a hole in your pocket.

9. Avoid convenience or speciality stores. Avoid frequent visits to convenience stores such as 7-Eleven because most of their goods costs more expensive than those in the supermarket. This is because they are operating 24 hours a day.

Also avoid frequent visits to specialty stores such as those trendy coffee outlets like Coffee Bean and Starbucks which would be very costly for students like me. Instead try to hang out at local coffee shops or just make your own coffee at home and enjoy it.

10. Don't outsource. Save your money and do what you can do such as washing your car, maw the lawn and do your own laundry. These activities will also benefits you with good light exercises and workouts.

Since most weekends I'll be free in the evening. During these free time I'll spend some wet moments with my car. Although it might be a bit tiring but I found it rewarding because I can save up RM 9 for a car wash every week. Guess how much I can save up? RM 36 for a month and RM 432 a year!!

Instead of paying the carwash operator RM 9 why not wash the car yourself? Save up the money and put them into your piggy bank.

*Another additional tip from me
Quit Smoking. Everyone knows that smoking is a very bad habit and knows its ill-impact in our life. Imagine how much have you spent on those damn cigarettes, what if you save those amount of money in you bank, maybe now you may can even go travelling or maybe buy a bike with CASH!!

Stop damaging your health and your wealth. No buts, just quit smoking.

My First Bicycle Convoy

While cruising on the road driving, I saw a group of people cycling along side of the road, to be honest I never thought that I'll be one of them someday. Riding a bike just scares the hell out of me especially when going side by side on the same road with cars. But in my heart, I would love to join a cycling convoy one day, at least once.

While I was running on the treadmill in the gym, doing my 30 minutes jogging like a hamster, opportunity just happened to knock on my door. Out in a blue moon, I was invited  by Jumri, my university's sport officer, to join a cycling convoy and I didn't hesitate to accept the invitation - YES MAN!!!

It's a convoy of  around 40 enthusiastic participants from various area of Kuching commuting through Satok-Pending-Tabuan Jaya-BDC-Airport-Kota Sentosa (7th Mile Town). Imagine how long that convoy gonna be? - A very long train of bikes.

I missed the trip to Kota Sentosa because I followed the wrong group, they heading back home, and actually three of us from the same group followed the wrong lead. Things happened for a reason, we took a break at Rasa-Rasa and get to know each other while waiting for the others from Kota Sentosa.

View Larger Map

View Larger Map
AIRPORT-SATOK route: 11.6km

At the end of the event we have our "unexpected free meal" near the Kuching Mosque, a hangout place for the cyclist, and to my surprise it was over midnight!! I was tired, a bit wet because of the rain and pain in the ass, but everything is worthwhile, I was really having fun and it was a really great and challenging experience. I also turned out overcomed the fear of cycling on the road.

Actually, after joining the convoy I really would like to have bicycle of my own. Since I was a kid, I always want to have one but my parents refuses because I'm kinda explorer - I don't just sit at home and watch TV. Now I have been thinking of cycling to campus, with the current bad economy situation I think it's a good idea - less frequent visit to the gas station.

What if I didn't accept the invitation earlier? Would there be another second opportunity for me again, if yes how long am I gonna wait? I won't gain any new experience if I just stayed in the box especially on university-break like now.

If you're getting into bored mode, break your pattern and do something interesting, don't be default because boredom is the enemy - Don't be like a hamster in a cage.

About Me

HELLO! My name is Elisha and I write Eli Shares.

About Elisha
I'm a Lun Bawang from a small city in Northern part of Sarawak called Lawas. Currently I'm living in Kuching, the capital city of Sarawak which is 1200km away from my hometown, where I pursue my studies in Business (Management and International Business) at Swinburne University. Previously I lived in Miri, Sarawak, where I spent 5 good years studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering at SM Teknik for SPM, and RIAM Institute of Technology for Diploma.

Being the eldest son in the family, I have one younger brother, I've been victimized to become a lab rat, but well they're a little bit too late I was borned in the year of Ox - hard headed, rebellious, remarkably stubborn but in some other way I possesses innate ability to achieve great things - wink. That makes me sounds like I'm a very bad ass dude, as the likes of Adolf Hitler, but I still have the softer part in me - I'm easily approached and I'm friendly - wink wink.

About Eli Shares
I've started Eli Shares in 2007, aiming to share about my personal experiences, thoughts, ideas and feelings. It's also a place for me to  practice the art of writing, discovering my groove, style, sound and approach. Encouraging my mind doing creative exercises, making cobwebs into cables.

Eli Shares is a personal blog which covers many topics on my personal self development, growth, goals and other interests - reflecting my life's journey and in the same time entertaining you about my personal life.

To keep in touch with me, please kindly email to elishares at gmail.com

This is the link to my default About Me page.

My First Taste of Local Professional Football

Have nothing to do on the weekend, me and my brother decided to fill our Saturday afternoon with some local  professional football. It was also our first taste of the Malaysian football, watching the first leg of the Malaysian FA Cup between Sarawak, my home team, and ATM, a Malaysian Football Club representing the Military Force of Malaysia.

We both off to Stadium Negeri and bought ourself the cheapest ticket which only costs RM7.00. We are lucked with a good weather on the afternoon, didn't expect we have to sit on roofless terrace stand - it's raining season for God's sake!! - I don't wanna get myself soaked!!

We arrived late and the game has gone underway, you can listen a group of fans singing and playing kompang and drum in the seater stand - a sense of unity - I wish I could join them. It's a bit quiet from the terrace, nobody is singing and you can only hear dirty jokes they made to the away team. How I wish it was like in England, where you can see the fascinating response from thousands of fans to every bit of action in the pitch - vocallizing joy, agony and relief, with their endless stream of team songs and chants.

 *Click picture to enlarge
The grand stand and the empty terrace stand.

*Click picture to enlarge
The seater stand where the Sarawak Football Fan Club singing and playing their instruments, and the terrace stand where most of the supporters are sitting.

*Click picture to enlarge
A great display of attacking football by The Crocs, home team, has really ensures their victory on the helpless ATM. Taunting every time they scored, with rifle shooting action, has really demotivate the spirit of the away team especially the goalkeeper. You can hear the home supporters from the stands making fun of the goalkeeper and finally got himself sub out before half-time. By half-time The Crocs trashes ATM three goals to nil.

As the second-half started, with their coach's motivation still ringing in their head, both team plays more aggressive football especially from the away side. More hard body contacts and tackles thrown from both sides. The change of goalkeeper doesn't effect the scoreline as the home side bagged two more goals and sent the goalkeeper to the sideline after his almost heroic save ended up disaster - the supporters started singing mocking song which was taken from a childhood song, Enjit-Enjit Semut Siapa Sakit Naik Atas - both me and my brother had a good laugh because of that song.

With both goalkeeper out, ATM has no choice but to put a field player keeping the goal who noticeably display better goalkeeping skill. He only conceded one goal due to a stupid mistake by the defenders, another goal for Sarawak!! ATM in the end still manage to bag a goal into the score sheet while most of the players and the fans are distracted by a fight happening in the pitch.

This victory is a great advantage for Sarawak for their next clash at Stadium MP Selayang. Great performance showed by the home team and I hope that they can keep this momentum for their coming fixtures.

Watching and supporting my home team playing, I don't even know who the players are!! How can you love someone without knowing them first? In my opinion, the Sarawak FC should publicize the team throughout the whole Sarawak especially in Kuching and gain back the trust of the supporters. Perhaps a campaign should be started and bring back all the supporters into Stadium Negeri, I would dream to see Stadium Negeri ROARS!!!

Finally, I have accomplish one of my 2009 goals and realize my childhood dream to watch my local team playing live. Have you accomplish any of your new year resolution's goal or realize your childhood dreams yet?

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