When I was in my pre-teen years, my mother would always monitor how my sister and I used the savings from our piggy banks.

Every time we wanted to remove a few coins for whims, such as sneakers or a treat, she would invariably ask, “Is that more important than the bicycle (or smartphone for my sister) that you want?”

Inevitably I would not buy whatever item that had caught my fancy or tantalized my taste buds at the time.

My First Ride

Saving in my piggy bank, I bought a shiny silver Raleigh bike after a couple of years. I was the envy of my peers, but only I knew the sacrifices I made for that bike.

The greatest financial lesson I learnt from my mother is that you need a plan to achieve financial goals. In other words, without focus and sacrifice, it is not possible to hit your financial targets.

What I Have Learned

In today’s world, however, it is more difficult to resist the detractors to financial freedom. There is now easy access to loans, credit cards, and other credit facilities. The temptation to spend money that you do not have is real.

The result is falling into a debt trap that is almost impossible to escape from.  By having a target for your money, you can focus on it and avoid spending on non-essentials.

Often I would face my mum with the argument that my friends had bought an item that I also desired, such as the latest Marvel Superhero T-shirt.

Her answer was always on whether it was more important than the bike. It was true I envied my friends’ ease in buying the various items that draw pre-teens.

Eventually, I developed a thick skin and consoled myself that my bike would be a much more valuable possession than their water guns and T-shirts. I was not going to compete with them on minor purchases when my eyes were on my prize.

My First Earnings

I used to make a few coins from delivering magazines around the streets near home. With time, I realized that the income was not boosting my piggy bank as fast as I wished. I had to get more money.

During the rainy season in April, I would get an empty paint can, fill it with water, and head to the nearby shopping center. I would clean pedestrians’ muddy shoes for a modest fee, but at the end of the day, I had made an impressive profit.

By increasing my streams of income, I was able to purchase my dream bike a full eight months before the date I had set to buy it.

I would add up the savings I had made each month, and this way, I was able to keep track of the money I had made and how far I was from my target.

By watching the balance to my goal growing smaller and smaller with the passing days, I was able to stay motivated. When the D-Day arrived, I went with my best friend, Mark, to the bicycle shop. I could not have been prouder as I cycled home that day on my new Raleigh.

Be Wise with Financial Advice

You can get financial advice from anyone, but you have to sort it out. Determine whether it’s going to be effective in the long run and if it is, go with it. Learn to postpone gratification, and you’ll benefit significantly in the long run.