Budgets and money are something everyone deals with in some way or another. Money is a driving force in a lot of people’s lives.
I know I’m young, but I like to think I have good money tips. While I’m sharing mainly for people just starting out, I don’t believe that will be the only people affected. I hope anyone can use these no matter where they’re at in life.
Obvious disclaimer: I am not perfect. I don’t have everything figured out. I’m doing my best, and I can only talk about what works for me. Each situation is different.
- Live within your means- This is THE most important piece of financial advice I can offer. When making any decently large financial decision, I always ask myself if I can afford it. And I always ask my friends when they’re talking about buying something big too. I have no problem spending when I know I can afford it.
- Use a budget system- There are truly so many options. There’s the 50/30/20 system (50% of your income to needs like bills, 20% into savings/investments, and 30% for wants or short-term saving). There’s also the envelope method. I know people who use spreadsheets or planners. It doesn’t matter. Find what works for you. Most importantly…
- Pay bills first- Having money is only good once you actually have that money for yourself. Take care of the bills first.
- Set up automatic payments when possible- This makes it so much easier! Having automatic payments come directly out of my account means I don’t have to think about it. I really only have to focus on a couple of payments, like my car. But also…
- Plan accordingly- I have to remember when those automatic payments are coming out so that I don’t overspend and pull my account lower than I would like. However, it is much easier to remember the day that my gym subscription comes out than it is to pay the gym each month!
- Utilize your banking app- In the world of all digital technology right at our fingertips, most people have a smartphone. And a good number of banks have an app for that smartphone. I check my bank account weekly or more. So I always know where I’m at. Similarly…
- Know your credit score- More on the apps! Credit Karma lets you check one version of your credit score for free. That’s right. No money! Similarly, Experian is another app that checks a different version of your score for free. I have and use both frequently. This way, I’m on top of everything on my end when it comes to my finances.
- Save money in a separate account- I know people who only have money in one account. I would so recommend having some type of savings account, whether with your bank or something else. I just recently hit a personal savings goal. I know I have this money in case something goes wrong. And since it’s not in my checking account, I’m not tempted to spend it.
- Invest- There are a couple different ways to do this. The first one is in stocks. While there are many ways to do it, I would recommend Robinhood. My parents decided to give my sister and I money to invest in a Robinhood account this last Christmas. And while this may sound lame, it’s actually pretty cool. I bought some stocks in companies I know and support, and I’ve watched my money grow. I don’t day trade. Right now I’m just letting them sit there and provide earnings for me. Another way to do this is through a retirement account, like a Traditional or Roth IRA. Similarly, you put money into the account and don’t touch it. It grows through interest, and when you want to take it out, you’ll have more money than you started out with.
- Do your research before diving in- While this applies to anything, I want to especially apply it to finances. Think about things, especially big purchases. I bought a car 7 months ago. It was a relatively easy process because I had done the research. I knew what I was willing to offer as a down payment, I knew the range I wanted to keep my payments, and I knew what I was looking for. There were a couple financing things that surprised me, but it was also the first car I bought. Im not going to know everything. And that’s just one example. By doing my research, I was making an informed decision.
- Wait to spend- I for sure impulse purchase. But there are some things I can wait on. For example, there are a couple new board games I want. But I haven’t bought them yet. I’ve made other purchases and am taking care of bills, and it’s not in the cards right now. And that’s okay. I’m waiting to spend. And this also helps me determine “yeah I do want this”
- Pick up an extra job on your terms- The side hustle (as I call it) is such a blessing sometimes. There are many that don’t have specific hours for you to work. Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Grubhub, Postmates, Shipt (delivering groceries), and so many others have you as an independent worker. There are lots of other side job options all over the Internet, especially on TikTok. Make some extra money! (And…)
- Treat extra income as bonus- When I budget, I budget using just my teacher salary. Bills and savings are only counted through teaching. Spending is what’s left, including anything the side hustle provides.
- Set goals for yourself- Actually have a purpose for your money. What are you reaching for? What are you doing to meet that goal? I’ve found it’s a lot easier to justify buying something if it’s a reward for meeting a goal.
- Lastly, take advantage of free stuff and discounts when you can- I know not everyone had this, but there is a resource in my area that provides free stuff to teachers. It’s saved me a ton of money for things I would need for my classroom (and even some other stuff too!) Search for discounts or coupons. Every little bit will help you out in the long run!
That’s all I can think of! I’m making this year all about my finances, and I love that my hard work is finally beginning to pay off! So I wanted to share the things I do on the regular with all of you in the hopes that maybe you’ll find these tips just as useful!