4 Practical Tips To Master Your Finances
Hola beautiful people!
I hope your new year has been fruitful thus far. Mine? ... Meh. Things are happening, but slower than I've anticipated; however, the blame is 100% my own. I'm still moving though, if even at a snail's pace. :)
Let's talk about finances! Is that a scary word? For so many people, it is. For me, it's always been an elusive word, like a word in a different language that people try to describe to you and although you get the jist, you've also come to terms with the fact that you'll never really understand what the hell the word means... Too discriptive or nah?
Anywho, I'm learning that money and finances can be icky words, and most of us learn "scripts", usually formed in adolescence, attached to these words that shape our relationship with money. Usually, we have no idea that these scripts exist, but that's what the brain does best. It gets a tape that you've given it and it plays in the background, unnoticed, unbothered, just playing very quietly in the background as you live your life.
For instance, one of my negative money scripts is that there's not enough of it. "Money is a scarcity. There is not enough money to go around. What makes me think that money will make its way to me? And if it does, I must save it! Who knows when it will come back around?"
Sound familiar? Or your money script may have something to do with worthiness. Maybe you feel you're not worthy of more money because you lack a degree or a certain skillset, or maybe you've inherited money and don't feel deserving of more.
Maybe your money script stems from the idea that money is bad and people with money are bad people. So, no money for you! You'll stay broke, but definitely won't be a bad person doing bad things.
You see what I mean? These money scripts exist whether you know it or not, and they, more times than not, have an impact on how you handle your finances. If you're interested in gaining more insight into what your money script(s) is(are), I've made a starter guide perfect just for YOU.
Drop your email below to get the "Mastering Your Money Script" PDF Guide!
NOW, what you've all been waiting for - the money saving tips! I'm no guru, but I've come pretty far with getting my own finances in control. Money used to stress me out, partly because I didn't have much of it, but also because me and numbers have never understood each other. BUT, my money has always been important, more now than ever since I'm real live adulting these days. I believe that I work hard for my money, and I should be able to do with it what I please. Part of that is being responsible with the necessities (including savings) so I can have a little left over to play with. And make no mistake - you don't have to make tons of money to have a prosperous life. Here are a few things I (and others) have found helpful and hopefully you will too.
1. Organize your bills & get them on a schedule.
When money is low and bills are consistent, it might be tempting to ignore them. BAD IDEA! They don't go away, and your credit will be fucked. Choose a day and set aside a few hours to jot down all of the bills you're responsible for paying on a regular basis. Start with basic bills, like rent, heat, water/sewer, cable/internet/Netflix/etc, cell phone, credit card statements, and loan payments - anything that regularly bills you. Be sure you have access to these accounts, whether through an online portal or simply recording the account number down, then note down each of their due dates. This works best for me in my planner, but your mobile calendar or a chalkboard in your house might work better. Whatever system you choose, set yourself up for success. Set reminders 1-2 business days prior to the due dates, so you'll never miss a payment. Some companies will allow you to opt in for a text reminder. Otherwise, you can set an alarm on your phone or create a calendar event. Some creditors will also work with you by setting up a payment plan and/or letting you choose your due date. This really helps for those who get paid on a limited basis or have lots of others bills to manage throughout the month.
2. Explore your financial institution's offerings.
Many banks, credit unions, and sometimes your job will offer apps, free services (like financial consultation or planning), and special accounts or saving programs. For instance, the local credit union offers special resources to teachers and has free seminars and workshops on a monthly basis for anyone whose interested in attending. Even the local library puts on informational sessions that might be relevant to your finances. Keep your eyes open and be willing to look in unconventional places that are community oriented. There are plenty of resources available, you just have to look for them.
3. Start saving with DIGIT (&/or set up a savings account).
The DIGIT app became my new best friend a couple of years ago, and I've been able to passively put away over $2,000 in that time frame. DIGIT is an app that you hook up to your bank account. It monitors your account, giving you daily updates on transactions and overall balance. BUT it also puts away money for you, taking random amounts comparable to purchases you'd make. For instance, it might take $5.63 one day (equal to a Starbucks visit) and then $23.42 another day (similar to a visit to my fav Mexican restaurant). If it begins to take too much money, you can easily pause it for however long you want. I've paused it for about a month for consecutive months, so no worries there! You can also set savings goals for different things. For instance, I have it regularing saving for a future vacation extravaganza with my husband, but I've recently started a new goal to save for a bachelorette trip this summer. It's easy to use, and well worth the $2.99/month charge (however, it began as a free app when I initially signed up).
Mint is another app that's great for tracking your finances, although it does not save money for you. It tracks bills, your net worth, and your credit score. It's an all-in-one for those wanting to go the full mile with staying on top of their finances.
In general, you should be routinely putting away money in some form of a savings account. If I were to get fancy, I'd start talking about investments here; however, I can't talk about something I'm not knowledgable on. So, we'll save that for another day. ;) However, I do have a savings account, and I've set transfers from my banking account to be moved over to my savings twice a month. It doesn't matter if it's a small amount - MONEY. ADDS. UP! If you have the luxury of buying some form of fast food every day, picking up a Starbucks coffee weekly, or getting your nails done regularly, you have money to save. I promise, you'll be amazed at what you can do if you just start.
4. Invest in guidance from The Finance Bar.
If you're super committed to getting your finances in tip top shape and have a little extra money to invest in your financial wellness, The Finance Bar is for you. Based in Charlotte, NC but available virtually for all of her clients, Marsha offers a personal finance suite and mobile hub bridging the gap between individuals and financial wellness. She specializes in personalized coaching to individuals, couples, schools, organizations, and corporations as well. Look into her coaching packages to see which best fits your needs. Also, if you're not quite ready for this step, feel free to tap into her knowledge via her social media accounts listed below:
Alrighty folks! I hope these resources and tips have been useful. If you've found them useful, please share this post with someone else who could benefit as well.
I'd also love to hear things that are working for you that maybe weren't on my list. Help me up my money game too! ;)
Until next time, take care of yourself (and that means your money too!) ;)