Let’s be honest. Spending money is fun, and for some, shopping is a sport. But when the packages from Amazon are coming every week, and you’re spending all of your discretionary income, you might want to consider changing the way you handle finances.
No one was born with the saving gene. Saving is a behavior we learn. Many of us have been on the saving path since childhood because our parents encouraged us to save. But if that is not the case, as an adult you can modify your spending patterns and experience the joys of saving.
An excellent starting point is to change how you think and feel about money. Don’t consider saving a sacrifice, but instead think of it as a means to a better future. Once you start practicing some of the savings strategies I’m going to share, you might be surprised to discover how good you are going to feel about having some money in the bank.
1. Reward Yourself
Saving money is like putting your...
What You Don't Know Can Hurt You
Recently a friend told me she was never good with finances and never really cared until the day she wanted to buy a home and discovered she didn’t qualify for a mortgage. For her, it was a great wakeup call, and she got up to speed pretty quickly. About a year later, she moved into her condo. Today, she not only knows all her financial statistics, but she tracks them regularly.
So just what are these numbers we should know, and why are they important? As you plan for your future, these vital financial statistics will show you where your finances are healthy and also the areas where your finances need improvement. If your life plan includes buying a home, putting your kids through college, or retiring early, these numbers will be the guideposts along your path.
What exactly is a credit score? It a snapshot of an individual’s entire credit history translated into a numeric value. This number is used by lenders to help them determine if you are creditworthy. The score is calculated by FICO (Fair Isacc Corporation) using data provided by the three credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. In addition to your FICO Score, another commonly used is a Vantage Score.
You must gain control over your money, or the lack of it will forever control you. - Dave Ramsey
For some of us, taking control of our finances is a challenge. One crucial element of the process is saving money. Americans are not very good savers. According to Bankrate, 58 percent of us have less than $1000 in savings.
Many of us are in that 58 percent because saving was not a habit we learned as children, but it is one we can embrace as adults. We can develop and nurture positive saving habits with the right motivation and inspiration.
Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving. – Warren Buffet
If you have a 401K benefit with a company match from your employer, make sure you have the maximum amount deducted from your paycheck to take full advantage of the matching funds. Your 401K should be one of the significant elements of your retirement savings. The added...
Use a Budget to Control Your Money
When we gain control over our finances, lots of positive outcomes will follow. The door to new opportunities will open to us, and we will have more lifestyle choices to consider. How exactly do we control our money? We set financial goals, and then we monitor our spending, keep a limit on debt, save regularly, and invest wisely to achieve those goals. The very first step on the journey is following a budget.
A Budget is Powerful
A budget is a map we follow on the road to establishing a positive relationship with our money. With a budget, we can better plan how to spend if we know how much we have left after we pay all the bills. When we have a snapshot of our spending habits, we will be more likely to use discrimination in our purchases.
We need a budget because it is critical to keep our financial house in order as we build our future. Budgeting can help you rent and furnish your first apartment, or buy your first home, take a vacation, and begin planning for retirement. (Honestly, it’s never too soon) That is powerful stuff!
We all need a tool to keep track of income and expenses because it’s critical to know where our money goes every month. There is a richness of apps available to help you monitor your finances, such as ...
Awareness of Money Starts Early
Our relationship with money generally begins at a very young age. That connection is very simplistic. We want stuff. We use money to get stuff. We get the money that gets us the stuff from our parents, grandparents, or any family member that happens to be handy at the moment with a few bucks in hand. We are not particular.
Fast forward, and we grow up. Hopefully, along the way, our parents teach us some fundamental money management skills because if as adults, we don’t have some control over our finances, they will control us. The result is mounting debt and sleepless nights worrying how we are going to pay it down.
Money Management is an Acquired Skill
If I’ve just described your situation, don’t take it as a personal judgment. You are not alone. Americans have a problem with handling their finances. Need proof? Look at the 2008-2009 real estate market crash where 3.9 million Americans faced foreclosure. We collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loans and another $1.4 trillion in credit card debt. To make matters worse, 60 percent of Americans cannot cover a $1000 emergency expense, and nearly 45 percent of baby boomers (aged 55-73) have no retirement savings.
Who Cares About Your Credit Score
By the time you experience initiation into the adult world, you've probably heard the term credit score. It’s a number you should be concerned about because other’s will be. They will use it to judge your ability to pay back a loan.
So who cares about your credit score exactly? Credit card companies, banks, mortgage brokers, cell phone companies, insurance companies, and landlords, to name a few. Some companies even want to look at your credit score before offering you a job to see how responsible you are.
How is Your Credit Score Calculated
Your credit score is a number that captures your creditworthiness based on your credit history. Three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and...
Passive Saving Puts More Money in Your Bank Account
Sadly, Americans are not good savers. A survey done last year by GOBankingRates found that 69% of us have less than $1000 in savings while 34% live paycheck to paycheck and have no savings whatsoever. This holds true for Millennials as well and considering the fact that approximately 66% of them have a student loan to pay with an average balance of $40K, we need to do better.
By the time we reach adulthood, saving should be a regular habit in our lives. We will need money to purchase our first home, then to save for our children’s education, and for our retirement. But given the statistics stated above, it is evident that for way too many of us saving money is not easy. When we think of saving, it conjures up words like austerity, frugality, deprivation and we make a face like we just bit into a lemon. What if I can show you there is a way to start saving that is painless. It’s...