Be Money Smart

I recently met Megan at a café in Greenwich Village. The aroma of doughnuts and chocolates, my favorites, filled the air as I walked in. “Hey, Megs,” I greeted, wrapping her in a hug. “You up for our yearly best friends day tradition—the doughnut challenge! You remember how I totally won last time, right?” I grinned.

“Oh, come on, Bob! You just have a bottomless pit for a stomach!” she teased and we both laughed. Something wasn’t quite right with her.  As we settled into our seats, I asked gently, “Hey, Megs, you seem a bit off today. Everything, okay?”

Taking a deep breath she said, “It’s my finances, Bob,” sounding worried. “I feel like I’m always struggling to make ends meet. No matter how hard I try, there never seems to be enough money for everything.”

Having a fair idea about the challenges of the corporate life in the Big Apple, I said, “I hear you, Megs. Money problems can be rough, but you’re not alone. Let’s work through this together. Here are a few things that could help you:

Create a Budget: Keep track of your income and expenses to see where your money goes. A budget helps you spot areas where you can cut back. Keep receipts and check your bank account regularly to track spending.

Explore Extra Income: Look for side gigs like freelancing, part-time jobs, or selling stuff online. Having more than one source of income can help when money’s tight.

Be Frugal: Try spending less on things you don’t need. Not everything you see is necessary. Cutting back on a few things can make a big difference. 

Seek Financial Advice: Talk to a financial advisor or counselor who can help you make a plan. They are experts and can give you tips to manage money well.”

Megan nodded, with a shine in her eyes. “Thanks, Bob,” she said, her voice tinged with relief. “I really appreciate your insight. I think I’ll start by setting up a budget and tracking my expenses more closely. With a little determination and some practical steps, I know I can get a hang on it.”

The rest of the evening, we indulged in our delightful treats. The peanut butter dessert and strawberry pie was so delicious that Megan and I couldn’t resist overindulging, leaving no room in our stomachs for dinner.

As Megan and I strolled through the city after devouring those heavy desserts, I couldn’t shake off our earlier conversation and of similar struggles that many of us face. Money problems can really weigh you down, but it’s important to remember that we’re more than our wallets. Our real wealth comes from our relationships, the things we’ve been through, and how tough we are. Reaching out, whether by talking to someone, seeking help, or having someone to rely on, can make a big difference. Even though it might seem hard now, there’s always a chance to figure things out and get better. By sticking together, staying strong, and staying true to ourselves, we can get through anything. Let’s change the story from being about what we don’t have to what we can make happen together.

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