We’ve all been there – young and naïve, senseless about bills and the real world. Senseless spending in my younger years (plus being thrown into paying for college out of pocket) really taught me a thing or two about being broke, and how not to be broke.
Here’s what I’ve gathered:
- The *Golden Rule* of saving — don’t spend more than you earn! This seems like common sense, doesn’t it? But it means more than it says. Sure, don’t spend $20 if you only have $5, but also don’t spend $20 if you don’t need to at all. That latte can wait, trust me!
- Every time you receive money, save money. Find a percentage comfortable for you and your budget to put aside each time you receive money. 10% is a great number that doesn’t leave you at a great loss, and helps to build a substantial savings! *Another tip* Anytime I receive extra money that I normally would not budget into my income (Christmas bonuses, birthday money, rebate offers, etc), I put it all straight into my savings. If I didn’t need it before, I don’t need to spend it now!
- Know what you are spending. Write down everything you buy for a day or two — a week if you’re brave! Knowing where your money goes, and how much goes to what will help you control your excessive spending. Let me tell you that I have not bought a Dunkin Donuts latte in 2 weeks to make up for the pretty penny I spent the prior weeks before! *sweats nervously*
- Pay bills and debts as soon as you can, even if it’s early! Get ahead on the bills that you are able to and contribute to principal! Being a month or so ahead on your mortgage or car payment will not only give you a *shiny* record, but can also relieve some of your stress! If your car payment is $425/ month, pay $450/ month instead to credit your principal. This helps you out big time in case of an emergency where you may need to skip a month’s payment later; you’ve already covered it!
- Invest in your future. Think about your future self and where you would like to be. It can’t happen if you are not making it happen! Contribute to your retirement (No matter how old you are!) and help yourself out. You will be thankful later on!
Being financially stable isn’t being rich, it is being okay and setting yourself up for success! Create habits now that will keep you from needing to climb out of holes later!