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Bruk Fund

Whenever you set a goal that seems insurmountable, it is best to start small and manage the process at bite size. This is easier said than done because I have been struggling for years to save money. Although I have failed many times to just put aside money, I have found that I am more motivated to save when I have a goal set. The problem is, I sometimes, set unrealistic goals. Well I should take that back. No goal is unrealistic in the true sense of the word. A goal is a goal. Nonetheless of all the goals I have set and achieved; the winners are always those that were managed at 'bite size'. I break the big goal down into smaller targets and set out to achieve them one by one which in turn materializes the overall goal.

I had a wonderful conversation with someone who shared his experience on how he manages money and some creative ways he applied to achieve his goals. The greatest take away from our talk was that the best way to save money is to put aside a little, no matter how small from all income sources. Yes, this sounds simple but I was intrigued by his ability to achieve goals with big price tags on a small income base. The most novel tip he gave was the "Bruk Fund". This is where you and your partner each put aside an agreed amount of funds daily in a location that is visible to you both. The sum of money can be as little as $50JMD each. The fund grows through the commitment of both partners putting money in the jar daily. This he says promotes discipline from each other. Like reading my mind, he warned against putting in weekly or monthly lump sums into the jar. The discipline of each partner putting in that small amount daily, is a show to each other that no matter how bad things get they are always committed to finding their portion and placing it in the jar. The money saved can be used to address small emergencies that may pop up without having to go into the regular savings account.

As a humble man, he shared how he is able to achieve things that seem daunting to some of his colleagues who earn the same as him. He explained that discipline is key and cutting back is an important step to achieving a financial goal. He said the more you are able to cut back, the more you will be able to save. Yes it will be hard but you must remain disciplined. He said he was amazed at the amount of money he let waste on a monthly basis and I could relate as would you.

He never said this but another plus to saving that tiny sum on a daily basis with your partner can be a way of showing your partner that "hey I got your back, even when things are rough". This would be even more evident in cases where both partners struggle financially to make ends meet. The small act of establishing a 'Bruk Fund' can also help heal relationships that may be going through emotional challenges. If a couple is at odds, but sees the other display that show of faith by never failing to put that money in the jar, as simple an act as it is, can speak volumes especially when the act is in itself a sacrifice.

Now the "Bruk Fund" works by keeping the jar where you both can see it and also allowing the other to see when you put the money in the jar. If you feel like putting more than the agreed amount sometimes, that is fine, but you must each put money in the jar DAILY and be committed to replenish the fund if used in times of emergency.

Now you may have heard these all before but I will share a few other nuggets of financial wisdom that also came out of our discussion. I am proud to say I am aware of some but was a bit shameful in realizing I have failed at a few.

1. For every dollar you earn, do not let your lifestyle exceed 90% of that dollar. You must save a minimum 10% of every dollar. He explained that most persons expenses exceed the 100% they have and live the 110% or 120% lifestyle. To live this way is living outside of your means.

2. Always borrow against money you have saved instead of using your own money. He advised that as much as possible avoid borrowing money to do things that will not bring you money in return.

3. Always have a deadline for every goal but do not make the deadline so short that you are disappointed when the time arrives too soon and the goal is not met. One thing for sure, is to work to honor the timeline you have set. You will feel a sense of accomplishment for every goal met in the timeframe set.

4. Coins are often overlooked but a standard jar size can hold up to $50,000 JMD of $10 and $20 coins. So next time you fail to retrieve that loose change that lies forever buried at the bottom of your purse (ladies) or sitting in the pocket of your car door (ladies and gents) or tossed about the house, remember they all add up to monies that could be funding one of your goals.

Here are a few more simple ways to save money:

One thing is true, and I speak to myself as well; it is never too late to get your finances in order. So with that said, I feel motivated to repair my financial standing and do better at funding my many goals. I will start by pulling hubby in on the Bruk Fund Project. $100JMD a day. I will let you know some time in the future how that is going.

Shout out to Jermaine. Continue to share and inspire others. It was a pleasure meeting you.

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