The recent media firestorm that is Paula Deen’s alleged use of the N-word and Rachel Jeantel’s testimony of Trayvon Martin saying the N-word during their last phone conversation has sparked major national attention. Everyone has chosen a side in both of these events, with people hotly debating if anyone should be able to use a word with such negative historical context. The truth of the matter, though, is that not enough people are using the N-word these days.
Now let me explain myself…quickly. Everyone take a deep breath. I’m not talking about that N-word. The N-word that I am referring to is “Needs.” You know, as in Needs vs. Wants, the evaluation of your personal spending that can help you get out of debt? Far too many people are clueless when it comes to their finances and there are others who just think that their fiscal situation is irreparable. However, this is not the case! Even if your money is funny today, you can take the first steps toward a brighter financial future. One of the first steps you need to take is to own up to your money problems. You should evaluate your Needs (there’s that N-word again!) vs. Wants. To do this, make a two-column list. On one side, write down the things you literally need to live, like food, clothing, shelter, utilities such as gas, electric, and water, and transportation. These are your Needs. In the other column, list anything you buy now or would like to purchase that is not in the first column, like the newest Air Jordans, a luxury car, or your Xbox Live subscription. These are your Wants. Get the gist? And please try to be sensible when making your list. A pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy ice cream is not what I had in mind for “food” and “clothes” are not a pair of Jimmy Choo stiletto heels (you’re welcome, husbands). Now, don’t get me wrong. You can buy things you want as long as you can afford them. And by afford, I mean either paying cash for your goods up front or paying the credit card bill in full and on time when the bill arrives the next month.
Remember to keep the other N-word, Needs, in mind when you are at the mall or the grocery store. Shop smart and with purpose to eliminate excess expenditures and you will be well on your way to taking control of your money.