If you haven’t already, click here to read the previous post in the series on how to improve your health and get clear skin!
In this section, we’re going to discuss our need for safety in terms of financial stability. Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you’ve probably experienced some level of financial instability. Especially if you’re in college.
One minute your direct deposit hits and before you blink its gone. Sometimes that’s because you may have a lot of bills and responsibilities, other times it’s because of poor money management.
I’m definitely guilty here. I’ve tried to set a budget many times. Usually what happens is I end up spending more than I can account for and I look at my bank account as if I’ve been robbed. Sometimes I think I should call the police on myself for being irresponsible and other times I can’t tune out the devil on my shoulder that keeps saying “treat yourself.”
Now if you’re a big spender like me, don’t you think you should at least be rewarded for spending in some way? Don’t you want to save as you shop and earn cash back? Well, you sure can!
So why does this matter?
‘Cause it’s hard to function if you’re broke.
I’ve always been responsible for paying for school so believe me when I tell you I know the struggle.
You can be very motivated like I am, but it will still take a toll on you if you’re constantly worrying about how you’re going to pay for something you need.
Even worse, you may want to buy something like a course or a ticket for a conference on a topic of interest, but you won’t do it because you can’t afford it.
So what can you do?
Here are some practical steps I’ve taken along the way to solve this problem:
The Mint app is literally the best app I’ve ever used to try to manage my spending. By simply syncing your accounts, it tracks all your spending and summarizes the information into a simple report that tells your total cash, credit debt and investment balances. It also shows you your credit score and allows you to set a monthly budget. Speaking of budgets…
You need to have a budget.
I’ve actually never had a budget until about September this year. My philosophy was that I’d save about 50% of my check and make the other half last till the next check. If I did that successfully (ha ha) then I’d transfer the remaining balance to my savings before the next deposit.
As for my checking account, I’d spend whatever was in it on whatever I wanted as long as there was money in there. This was an absolute disaster by the way.
What I recommend:
Get the Mint app to track your spending and then create a budget within the app (or set up your budget if you already have one). It makes it easier to track your progress with your budget and hold yourself accountable for your spending.
I honestly cannot recommend this app enough if you want to keep track of your spending. Try it and thank me later!
For the millionth time, if you haven’t already read my post on how to save money on almost all your purchases, click here.
I’m very frugal, especially since I decided not to work this semester. So every time I have to make a purchase I always do one or more of the following things I talked about in that post. I almost always get a discount when I shop for something – even for groceries. I’m that person who won’t buy something if it’s not on sale.
Separate Account for Big Purchases
When I wanted to go back home to St. Lucia, I created a separate savings account where I transferred $35/week ($5 a day) into the account starting in June. I set up automatic transfers via Bank of America so I wouldn’t forget. I managed to save almost $700 for my ticket by the time I was ready to go. That was my way of doing the $5 a day challenge.
I’ve used this method to have a “spending fund” for things like Black Friday and planning trips. $5 a day may not seem like much but over time it adds up. If you start now, even if you have no goal in mind, when something does come up, you’ll have the money.
Since this will be in a separate account from your savings and checkings, it can also give you peace of mind because you’re not going over your budget and you’re not dipping into your savings. Plus, it’s better to use a spending fund that has accumulated over time than randomly spending hundreds at once from your checking account.
Have some more tips on how to manage your money? Leave a comment below.
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In the next post, we discuss how to work on your relationships and how to let go of those that no longer serve you.
Are you caught up with the other posts in the series?
- Personal Growth Series: Creating and Achieving Your Vision
- Eating Healthier: Change Your Diet and Watch Your Skin Glow
Till next time,