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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Alexander

It's Not How Much You Earn, But How You Manage What You Earn

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

Do Not Spend Every Cent You Earn

When you are not skilled at managing money, you will always feel you are behind the 8 ball when it comes to your monthly finances. After graduating high school, I landed a summer job as a Senior Day Camp Counselor. I was excited to receive my first real paycheck even though it was only $90 a week for 4-weeks. At 17, I managed to pay my Mom her cut, $10 a week. Her words to me, "You cannot live anywhere for free." Then I purchased my tokens for the next week so I could make it back to my new job and then put aside a week's worth of lunch money. Back in those days, costs were much cheaper as they needed to be with $90 as an income. My weekly transportation expense was $6.00 and lunch was $20.00. By managing these two areas of my weekly expenses, I knew I could get back to the job that was paying me and eat lunch without having to borrow money.


With the remainder of my funds each week, I worked on renovating my small bedroom. I purchased paint the first week and vinyl flooring the second week. The third week I purchased a few new outfits to be prepared for the permanent job that I was seeking since the summer gig only lasted a month. With the final check, I purchased my own toiletries and saved the last $20 to have money to go to interviews. I did land that permanent job a month later and still had the saved $20. It came in handy the first week of my new job.

Yes; I have made mistakes along the way since the early days. However; to this day, I still maintain my main paycheck management mindset and offer the same advice to those I work with. Do not spend every cent you make and use discretion when managing your discretionary income.

To hear more of my no nonsense approach to personal finance, listen to my segment on Women Are Worthy Online Radio Financial Literacy with Michelle Alexander.

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