It Is Never Too Early Budget for the Future

It is unfortunate that personal finance is not a required course in high school. That is no excuse to neglect your finances. Bills have to be paid and common sense tells you that your income needs to exceed your expenses. As a young adult, it is easy to fall for the trappings of seemingly easy money. Young people are targeted by banks and lenders. Your mailbox is guaranteed to spit out a credit card offer almost every day. So how do you keep on the financial straight and narrow? How do you plan for the future when it feels like you are living paycheck to paycheck? Here are some things you need to know about money and finances.

  • Self-Control – You do not need all things. The sooner you learn self-control the sooner you’ll be able to grasp the art of personal finance. Resist spending money you do not have. Racking up a credit card bill on superfluous items is ill advised. The interest on credit cards can have you paying for those treasured items for years later.

Just because a lender is willing to loan you money, doesn’t mean you can afford the loan. You are better off in most situations to simple save for high dollar items. Buy a car you can afford. Take evening or online classes at a school like Maryville, so you can still work your way through college. Consider renting instead of purchasing a home. Debt can be an anchor and practicing self-control helps.

  • Take Control of Your Future – It is time to learn to manage your own money. Today. Don’t dig yourself into debt trying to build somebody else’s future for yourself. Your family will always come up with something to worry about. If it is not the fact that you don’t own your own home, it will be something else. Know your limits and what you can afford.

Stop relying on other people for advice. Purchase some books on money management and personal finance. Better yet, rent some from the library. Once you understand how money works, you can start making it work for you. Until then, don’t blow all your hard earned money on a weekend bender with friends. Your future self will thank you.

  • Budget – Start tracking your spending now. Until you know what you are spending your money on, you cannot make wise decisions about finance. Take a month to track every dollar you spend. Your expenses should never exceed your income. Eating out every night might not seem like much, but it adds up quick. The fastest way to make more money is to spend less.

Pay attention to your recurring expenses. During that month that you track your expenses, take the time to look over your bank statement as well. You might have subscriptions and other recurring bills that you forgot about. Reduce these monthly expenses as best you can. You probably don’t need cable, Netflix and Hulu. Explore cheaper phone plan options. Make an actual budget. Assign a dollar amount to categories of expenses. You should know approximately what your rent, utilities and other bills cost monthly. Set limits for entertainment and stick with them. Review your finances at the end of each month to help you stay on track.

  • Save – It is important to put money aside for emergencies. Open a savings account and add money to it religiously. Determine a reasonable amount that you set aside from each paycheck, even if it is only ten dollars. When your car breaks down, you will be glad you did. Setting financial goals is a great way to encourage yourself to save even more. Have your emergency fund, but also have a piggy bank for fun. Add to it regularly with a specific goal in mind.

It is important to get a hold on your finances early. It is never too late to create a budget. Know what you can afford, so you can make wise financial decisions.

6 Very Simple Ways to Save Money

Saving money is a lost art for Americans, as a 2015 survey found that 62 percent didn’t even have $1,000 saved. In 2016, the percentage of their income that people saved was half of what it was 50 years prior.

If you aren’t saving money, you’re setting yourself up for financial troubles in the future. Without an emergency fund, you could end up putting unexpected bills on your credit card or getting a high-interest short-term loan, such as payday loans and car title loans. Saving doesn’t need to be a monumental task, though, as there are several simple ways you can save more.

  1. Set Up Automatic Transfers

The best way to save money is to make a deposit into your savings first every time you get paid. Commit to setting aside a certain amount of money – 10 percent of your income is a great place to start. While you can do this manually, it’s better to set up automatic transfers so you don’t forget to save or put it off.

  1. Round Up Your Purchases

Call it saving spare change with a modern twist. There are savings apps, such as Acorn, that you link to your debit or credit card. Every time you make a purchase with your card, the app rounds it up to the nearest dollar and puts the extra money into an investment portfolio.

  1. Cut Down on Nonessential Services

Do you really need cable TV, Netflix and HBO Go? Opting for only a streaming service and getting rid of cable could save you $30 per month or more, and you’ll still have plenty of content available. Go through the subscription services you pay for every month and make cuts on anything you’re not using frequently.

  1. Sleep on Potential Purchases

One reason people have so much trouble saving money is because they spend too much on things they want, but don’t need. There’s an easy way to stop impulse purchases, though. Whenever you’re going to spend more than a certain amount on a purchase, give yourself at least 24 hours to think it over. You’ll find that many of those must-have items aren’t things you need.

  1. Join Every Free Rewards Program

Almost every major retailer has a rewards program to entice people to spend more money. But receiving constant coupon offers can lead to overspending. Instead of providing your personal email address for these programs, create a new email account for reward program accounts only. Sign up for free reward programs with all the retailers that you shop at. When you want to buy something, check your email for any coupons that retailer has sent you.

  1. Use a Credit Card and Always Pay Off the Balance

If you use the right credit card, you can earn 1.5-percent cashback or more on all your purchases. A travel rewards credit card is another option if you know how to make the best use of your reward points.

The best way to use a credit card is putting all the expenses you can on the card, and then paying off the balance in full by the due date. You get a return on the money you spend without paying anything in interest. The key is that you stay disciplined and never carry a balance.

Saving money is all about getting in the right financial habits. When you make small changes, they can add up to big long-term results.

Ditch The Debt: How to Change Your Spending habits

the benefits of a costco visa credit cardThere are good habits to get into and bad ones, and if you are spending beyond your means and always having problems paying your bills, it might be time to work on a strategy to change your behavior for the better. Here’s a discussion of some of the issues surrounding bad spending habits and some solutions to help fix the problem and move forward.

Change the Way You Think About Spending

If you’re really determined to change your spending habits, the first step is to change your mindset and this may be easier than you think.  Whether you’re dropping $5 each lunch break for a gourmet coffee or going to the bar for a couple of pints after work, these are unnecessary habits you can change to save you money each week. Instead, drink free coffee at the office, skip the bar a few nights then treat yourself at the end of the week.

Set Realistic Goals

Don’t expect too much of yourself too soon. If you tighten the reins too quickly, you may just end up splurging the money you’ve saved. If you have money problems, try to curb your spending in a realistic way. If you try to deprive yourself too much, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Experiment With Your Spending

Give yourself a little test and try it out for one week or even just a few days. If you’re successful, this may give you more incentive to change your spending habits. Keep a track of your spending, don’t just keep swiping your debit card or charging things to credit.  Be vigilant and aware of exactly how much you are spending. Keep a record of everything you spend, even if it’s only drinks from the vending machine. This is a good habit to get into and will soon become second nature.

Start Saving

Open a targeted savings account and have some money automatically transferred from your checking account each paycheck. Even if you’re only saving $10-$20 each month it will help. Once you see your savings growing, however slowly, it will encourage you to save even more.

Consider a Debt Settlement Program

If you feel you’re drowning in debt, it might be a good idea to think about signing up for a debt settlement program like those offered by They may be able to help you consolidate your debts or even negotiate with your debtors to accept a reduced lump sum rather than monthly payments.

Try not to overthink making spending changes, just do it.  If you’re really determined to get out of financial dire straits you can make it happen. If you start feeling tempted to spend when you know you shouldn’t talk to your partner or a friend or family member who can help to talk you out of it. If you do have bad days, don’t beat yourself up about it, just get back into the good groove again and carry on.