I’m doing something today that I don’t usually talk about or touch on much — money. It’s a sensitive topic — really, it is — but it’s so essential that we can’t live without it. As a kid, I remember thinking that money was a “grown-up” topic to me. You know, like all the stock markets & car prices you always hear adults chatter about at the table? For me, money’s always been at the top of the “Things Grown-Ups Incessantly Yak About” list. I never cared to join the conversation, but lately my parents and my family in general have started talking more about their finances. Housing. Car prices. Taxes. Credit cards. Installment payments. So I decided to delve deeper into the wide world of finances and money, and I’m coming at you with a whole post about finances! (I hope it’s not too dry though!)
By the way, huge thanks to Marianne from Personal Capital for giving me the super-cool opportunity to kind of work with her and write this blog post!! Writing about finance management was on my list of posts anyway, so this is a super cool bonus. 😉 Just wanted to let you know that the post however, is not sponsored, so rest assured everything here is 100% my opinion. Enjoy.
Chapter 3 of 12 is upon us. What’s new? Life moves at the speed of light. (That’s not scientifically proven, but work with me.) So getting your priorities straight is something I firmly, firmly believe in. How do you balance so many things — be it work, school, friends, family, taxes and expenses? The list is never-ending. Tip number one from me about balancing a billion priorities is — you guessed it — lists. I’m always rambling on about that only because they work. Grab a pen and paper, or a note-taking app, whichever floats your boat, and get to work. Prioritize. What is the most important thing going on in your life right now? Are you managing your expenses and income well? Make a list of what you’ve saved and spent in the past week. Make a list of what assignments you have for class. Make a list of family events. I can promise you’ll feel better when you’ve prioritized.
Tip two: What are your financial and personal goals for this year? It’s never too late to start goal-setting. Are you aiming to save up for something? A house? A car? A new pair of shoes? It can be anything! What do you want to achieve by the time 31 December 2016 rolls around? Ask yourselves these questions. Once you have a goal in mind, you’ll have something to work towards to, not mindly drift around. If your goal is to save more, and spend less, mark it down in your calendar. Tell yourself you want to stop spending less, and start saving more. Hit up your bank and look up all the information they have regarding saving. Interest rates? You got it. Do your research, set your goals. You’re all good.
Tip three: Keep track of your investments. Check the money in your retirement account. Check the money into investments or deals you’ve made. There is a possibility, that somewhere in that ‘Terms & Conditions’ you didn’t read (come on, we all know no one reads that), there might be a little tiny sentence or two that could be sucking the money from areas in your life you’veinvested money & time in.
Tip four: How’s your financial life so far? If you haven’t already, I highly recommend setting up a savings account. Save up for college tuition (everyone knows how expensive it is), save up for starting a family, save up for a new house you’ve been eyeing, save, save, save. Unplanned events may send your finances spiraling out of control. Assess your spending and saving habits, and record them. Make changes, if required, before it’s too late. Better later than never. And if this sounds like a tough job — this girl’s got you covered. Personal Capital offers a FREE program laden with financial tools that allow you to evaluate your net worth, track your saving & spending habits, allows you a comprehensive view of your financial accounts and MORE! That sounds like a great deal. And it’s no strings attached. How sweet is that?!
Finally, I’ve thrown in something I thought would be cool: a little interview with my mom! She’s the person who taught me how to save and why to save, and I totally look up to her ’cause she handles the finances in my house (she’s armed with notebooks full of printed Excel charts), so I thought it would be a sweet bonus.
Me: Hey mom! What’s up?
Me: So how do you keep track of your finances? Tell us your special secret.
Her: I love using Excel spreadsheets to keep track of them! They’re so handy. I simply type my children’s expenses, grocery shopping, electricity bills and all into Excel and print it out! So easy once you put it all into a binder file.
Me: What’s your biggest tip for managing expenses?
Her: Record them down. Don’t overspend however much money you earn/get. You’ll end up in hot water if you do.
Me: Thanks for the help!
Her: You’re welcome. 🙂
I know today’s topic can get a little dry, but I had fun writing this nonetheless!! That wraps up today’s post, and I hope you enjoyed it. See you (hopefully) soon!!