A brief workshop presented to the Mothers of Pre-School Children group at the Ballarat Family Church of Christ, Tuesday 17 June 2008.
After providing some background on myself and a brief introduction I asked each person to write one question on a slip of paper. The one question they wish they could ask about money matters. Then in groups of three I asked them to rate their questions from most important to least important. Finally I recorded the most important question form each group on butcher’s paper.
How do you make a budget work? How do you deal with differences of opinion between husband and wife, to budget or not to budget? How do you stick to a budget?
Do I invest in property or shares?
What do you do with the little bit extra? Purchase shares of pay off the mortgage?
How much superannuation is enough? What weekly amount should I be putting aside?
How do I decrease expenses so that I can increase my savings?
Is there a set amount that is paid to an executor of a will?
What is the best financial decision you have ever made?
How do we ease the pain of the increase in the cost of living?
How do we work out what we spend on the children and justify it?
How can I save for travel in the short term?
At this point, with the questions listed, I explained that I need to decide whether it’s all too hard, choose whether to go ahead, and possibly leave. (Much laughter and of course I decided to stay.) I then proceeded to introduce some of the basic but extremely important facts of money matters explaining that I will use the KISS (Keeping It Simply Simple) principle.
Also I took the opportunity to explain that where there is tension, frustration or anxiety in the household over money matters this presents the opportunity to do something different. The emotional responses clearly indicate that what is being done is not working for us. Therefore we can choose to change what we are doing. To continue to do the same thing and expect a different result is a wonderful definition of insanity!
Sources of Income
It is important we know our sources income. There are essentially five sources:
Brief discussion of each of the sources of income provides the opportunity to respond to some of the questions listed on the butcher’s paper.
It is also important that we understand where our money is spent.
I provide my response to the question, “What is the best financial decision I have ever made? “ I acknowledge that it has been the privilege of giving, regularly setting aside first off an amount to invest in other people, through my local church or a recognised charitable organisation.
At this point I introduced the term Cash Flow
The term is quickly understood. Then I introduced the reality of positive and negative cash flow and the importance of being aware of the cash flow across any one year.
With cash flow in mind we can move on to ask “How can we increase our cash flow?” Let’s assume we are on a fixed income.
Answer: Reduce debt and living expenses!
Suggestions were taken from the floor on how we can put downward pressure on debt repayment and living expenses. This provided the opportunity for the resourcefulness of people to shine brightly.
In closing I took the opportunity to read Matthew 6: 25 – 33 from The Message.