You may be thinking… “Why is a twenty-two year-old giving me financial advice?” Am I right? Well I have always loved organization and planning and from a young age I was taught many useful financial tips and tricks. I want to share them! We are all in the same boat people… if I figure out how to stop sinking then I should tell you how I did it!
I will list a few pieces of advice that have helped me set goals, achieve them, and stay on top of my finances all together!
- KEEP A CHECKBOOK/LOG –> Yes, it is old school. But, it keeps you organized and accountable for what you are spending daily, monthly, weekly, and even yearly! I find this very useful because I pretty much only use a debit card nowadays. It’s easier to spend money when all you have to do is swipe a card. And yes, there are bank apps that show you your recent transactions. But, sometimes it takes a while to process transactions and therefore, does not deduct from your account right away.
- CREATE AN EXCEL BUDGET FILE –> Create a workbook on excel that includes your total income for the month (or whatever period you prefer) and list all expenses that you know you have. For me, this includes: Nick and I’s joint savings, my personal savings, my car payment, my IRA, and my credit card. Then, once all deductions have been made from your monthly income, the balance is what you have until the next payday. I usually keep my balance high enough to where I can go out to eat, go shopping, gas money, and any extras that I might want to do. I live with my parents right now so I don’t have many of the common expenses that people have. That is why I put so much away monthly so that I know how it feels once I do move out. Also on my excel budget file, I include my monthly balance for my IRA, personal savings, and joint savings. I do this so I have a visualization of my balance and if it is decreasing/increasing. It is nice to see that the money you are putting away in savings is growing and it is sometimes easier to see this if you have a balance written down at the end of each month.
- WRITE DOWN GOALS –> Do you have a savings balance goal to achieve in a certain time period? Do you have something you wish to have paid off at the end of the year? Do you wish to open a retirement account? Write out your goals and stick them somewhere! I like to put mine in my budget file. I like to see if my monthly budget will allow me to reach my goals. Also, if you do not have a retirement account opened yet… do it! You usually only need $1,000 to open it up. The earlier you start saving, the earlier you can retire!
- BE FRUGAL –> By being frugal you do not have to give up things you enjoy doing. I go on dates and do extra things all the time. I am young and I should enjoy my life. However, there is no reason to spend extra money on things that you can buy for cheaper. This could include household items, clothing, etc. In fact, I recently taught myself how to coupon. This can save you a bunch of money! I will eventually post a “how to” on couponing.
- PAY YOURSELF FIRST –> This is self-explanatory. Put your money in your own savings before you do anything else with it. You will be glad you did this one day. You are in charge of your own destiny.
Those are my two-cents (haha)! I hope you are able to take some of this information and use it to accomplish your own goals! There is no better time to start living your best life than in the beginning of a new year!