Let’s start off with some honesty. I’m 25 years old and just now getting the whole money thing. Before my life consisted of responsibility, the thought of having enough money to get me through till next pay day wasn’t even a remote possibility. Saving for a new car? God invented taxis. Paying back my student loans? You mean I have to pay that back? Of course, reality punched me in the throat and that all changed.
Eventually the cord was severed and I had to become responsible for my wants and needs. College? Put that on my tab now. Blowing 200 dollars on clothes and not paying my car insurance? Couldn’t excuse my way out of that one anymore. I was suddenly staring at my financial situation trying to figure out how to do damage control. I had literally walked through life thinking that money would be taken care of for me (to my demise). Luckily, I have been able to learn from my financial mistakes…enough so that I felt confident in passing on my newly found knowledge to you.
Don’t be afraid. Money isn’t bigger than you. It may seem like it, but the real problem is a lack of knowledge. With knowledge managing your money can be something you will actually want to participate in.
The habit of saving regularly is more important than the amount being saved. Money doesn’t grow on trees so don’t act like you’ve got plenty of it to save and spend. Once you’ve taken care of yourself, whatever you can afford to put away is what you should put away. If you’re consistently saving, don’t worry about how your savings will grow. You’ve just taken care of that.
Pay yourself first. If you’re like me you have debt; and if you’re even more like me your credit got fucked because of it. Yea it happens. But the good news is that there are ways to tackle your debt without going homeless. In fact, under no circumstance should you go homeless because of your debt. Your needs MUST come before the debt. Sure it would be nice to tackle your credit cards or whatever debt you owe sooner rather than later, but none of that will happen if you don’t take care of yourself first. Pay your rent. Fix your car. The debt will fix itself when you’re in the right place. Seriously, take it from my experience however trusting you are.
Get in the know. I can literally attest my financial recovery to becoming properly informed about my situation. To get out of the mess I created, I had to know just who I owed money to and how much. I had to know how much I made and what my monthly expenses were. These are things we just can’t avoid if we want to have a healthy relationship with money. Get your credit report. Keep tabs on you’re spending by looking at your bank statements on a regular basis that fits you.
Live your life. Go out to dinner. Take a mini vacation. Make having fun just as important as paying your bills. The key is balance. When I started college a good friend told me that if I partied too much I’d wash out and if I studied too much I’d burn out. You can apply the same logic with money. Save, spend, and enjoy in moderation.