It’s no shock that as someone early on in my career and with spending habits as bad as mine that my bank account isn’t exactly at a Bill Gates level. But you may have noticed from my IG feed, IG stories and previous blogs that my finances are a huge priority for me in 2019. It started with a New Year’s resolution to take control of my finances. That led to me really digging into my spending habits and setting myself up with a tracking system and budget for each month. Once I set that up, I started doing a little more research on how to make smart financial decisions, and I got quite a few from The Financial Diet.
Since finishing The Financial Diet, I began reading Broke Millennial (how appropriately titled) by Erin Lowry and have been loving the tips and nuggets of wisdom I’ve been learning from it, so I thought I would share them with you all. Read on for some more money talk!
- The Financial B-Word: Budgeting. Though I used to think of it as my worst enemy, Broke Millennial reinforced a few things about budgeting that I have read and heard multiple times since beginning this “money journey” in my life. Budgeting is not bad. It does not mean that you are trying to nickel and dime to scrape by. It means that you are trying to make smart decisions and stick to certain points so that you are setting your future self up for financial success. You’ll be calling your past-self the actual b-word in 40 years if you don’t start getting serious about your finances while you’re young, so set yourself up with a budgeting method that works for you and get to it!
- Family Habits: Just because your parents did it, doesn’t mean you have to. That goes for banks, spending habits, saving habits, investments, dealing with debt, retirement funds and so much more. Now I know this is a bold statement coming from me since I take everything my dad says as an absolute truth, but do your research folks. Not everything your parents did or are doing is going to be the best option for you – that’s just a fact. So don’t blindly follow in their footsteps. Put in the work and do the research to make smart decisions for yourself, because it could end up paying off in the long run. For example, in Broke Millennial, Lowry explains that just by doing her research and switching banks, she was getting way more in yearly interest on her savings, adding even more into that account without actually having to do anything for it.
- Debt vs. Savings: Lowry dives into why you absolutely should be saving for yourself even if you have debt. As someone that’s still in her first 5 years out of college, hell yeah I have debt I am trying to pay off. Adulting is not cheap! But Lowry explains that just because you’ve got debt to pay off and it can feel like a huge weight sitting on you at all times, that doesn’t mean you should stop saving for yourself. Because let’s face it, emergencies do happen and you don’t want to rack up any more debt than you already have when the time comes to pay for those emergencies. Lowry’s best tip to make sure you do this? Pay yourself first. As soon as your paycheck hits, make sure a portion of it gets transferred to savings. If you don’t see it, it won’t feel like you’re “losing” it. And if you wait until the end of the month, you may not have nearly as much left to put into savings.
- Credit: I’m not going to lie to you guys – I really, truly had no idea that both a credit score and a credit report existed until I read this book. I thought of my credit as more of a financial report card than a financial portfolio. And oh man, how wrong I was. Credit scores are more of a topline look at your financial reputation, and credit reports are what really matter when it comes to credit card companies, landlords, car dealers, mortgage lenders, employers and more. They consist of all the good, bad, and ugly parts of what your credit is made up of. Understanding all of the factors that go into both a credit score and a credit report were completely foreign to me, and Lowry breaks it all down in her chapter on credit in an easy-to-consume way.
While I know some of these tips or items may have been something some of you already know, I still think wanted to share the info to either teach people or give them a little refresher about some of the most important factors to remember when trying to get your finances in order.
So here’s to the next six months of 2019 and making all of your financial goals happen!