Bee COINs: Financial Education Debunked was a 10-day youth exchange that took place in The Netherlands from 24 April till 5 May 2017. It gathered 42 participants from 7 different countries and empowered them to learn from each other about financial education. The project is funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the EU.
2017/04/24. Me and my fellow friend Matas are quickly stepping over wet and cold pavement of a dutch town called Ommen. Our clothes are soaked, our pockets are almost out of money, but our spirit is calm. Why? Because we’re heading towards “Olde Vechte” – an old accommodation house where the youth exchange “Bee COINs: Financial Education Debunked” is going to take place for the following 10 days. And we are a part of it!
As we come through Olde Vechte’s doorstep, I think to myself: “We are going to be filthy rich after this project”!
Even though I didn’t become filthy rich in terms of money, I do have to say, that after 10 days of playful studying, my money knowledge became much richer.
So, here’s what I’ve learned after 10 days of the project:
- Calculate your expenses!
There’s no way I can keep track of the cost of my bus tickets, bananas, Nike t-shirts, become rich books and shampoo bottles in my mind! And if I don’t keep track of my spending, I tend to become broke really soon. In one of Plamena’s lectures I’ve heard about apps that help you to keep your budget clear and organized, so I thought to myself: ‘’Wow, this is a really good idea to use these apps on your phone! I probably have spent millions of euros, by not even realizing that I even did! Ok, maybe not that much. But that’s why I started to register all my expenses using an app called ‘’Mobills’’. And I’m very happy for this change in my life. I’m more aware of how much I spend and now I actually started to question myself before buying something: ‘’Hmm, is this salami pizza really worth one hour of my hard work?’’- maybe not.
- Save money
What if your rent expenses suddenly doubled? What if you lost all your streams of income? What if a wild crocodile crawled inside your house and bit of your leg, and you were sent to a hospital, but the doctor refused to make the operation, because you didn’t have 2000 € with you?- all kinds of catastrophic or unplanned scenarios can happen to you, so that’s why it’s always good to be prepared financially for such situations. Personally, I started saving 20% of all that I earn and it’s incredible to see, how I don’t even need that additional cash! And trust me, I’m not on bread & water diet, living in a tent, rain shower kind of lifestyle.
Invest your earnings
Not only saving money is great, making the money you earn to work for you to make even more wealth is awesome as well. So after the project I still haven’t started putting my money into different types of investments rather than just p2p [peer-to-peer] loans, but I do have plans to experiment some more in near future. So the knowledge about different kinds of investing that Nikolay taught me about, is soon to be used.
- Don’t let money become your goal, use money to grow others and yourself as a person.
This was a statement that stuck into my head after one of the discussions we had about the meaning of money.
Throughout my life no new smartphones, no new shoes and no delicious chocolate cakes gave me as much satisfaction as discussions about life with different people, travelling around the world, or attending a yoga class. These things are experiences and although you don’t necessarily need money to get these experiences, but for example money does help you get from London to New York, without having to use your home-made boat to sail across the ocean, for a year. If that boat or you survives of course.
There’s one more lesson I’ve learned, but I’ll leave that for the end.
So I’ve learned a lot, but also I had some special experiences in the project.
Here’s a few of them:
The infectious laugh of Dimitra
Our breathtaking acting session
The motivation I’ve got after Andrei learned to ride a bicycle in a day and rode 70+ km
The last day of the project. The last supper of the project. The dinner table is fabulous. Everybody’s dressed well, everybody has become much wiser. And everybody’s feeling kind of blue, because the project is almost over.
Well except for Dimitra. She’s still laughing in the back of the room, creating these vibrations of joy and happiness, which reminds everyone in the room, how important it is to feel the moment and do whatever you can to enjoy your days, without wasting your precious time.
So the last lesson I learned is that time is the most valuable asset that you have, it’s limited and we don’t know how much of it we have left. The best thing we can do with our lives is to use the time, that was given to us in the best ways that we know.