So I’m still here, I’ve just been really busy with school lately. That being said I thought I would spend this time to go on a rant (instead of doing my homework like I should).
We all hopefully have some. Most of us want more. Yet the majority can’t manage it.
So I’m not a genius when it comes to money. I am currently in debt (give me a break, it’s college loans. Never any credit card debt and I never took out a loan for my car). But I do have a few ‘rules’ to help people manage money. Let me start off by saying this is better to do when you aren’t in massive amounts of debt.
1. DON’T BE AN IDIOT!!!
It’s kind of simple. The first rule is to not be an idiot (when it comes to money. You can be an idiot in other parts of your life if you want). Don’t buy stupid stuff. If you don’t have the money then don’t buy it. If you think it will save you money in the long run thats great! But don’t buy it if you don’t have the cash in hand. There is a difference between an investment and a gamble. One of them involves a collection agency and a baseball bat. (Although sometimes they don’t use the baseball bat)
If rent is $400, your phone bill is $40 (I’m working on a post on how to save money on your phone bill), gas costs about $50/month, and food and the rest costs about $200/month. Then if you make $700 a month you have exactly $10 to go out to spend on crap in the store. But I would argue you don’t even have that because you should be saving 10-15% every month. This leads me to the next part.
You know that guy that always seems to have it together? He has really cool stuff. He’s not in debt and he doesn’t find him self super stressed about everything to do with money. You know his secret? Its not that he came from money. Its not that he makes a lot of money. Its that he knows how to manage the money he has. The beauty of budgeting is that its scalable! It works regardless how much or little you have. If you have a lot you can budget for more awesome stuff. If you have a little you just tighten your belt and only get the necessities.
3. Don’t Be Lazy.
Right now I’m working 2 jobs (40 hours a week. Working all 7 days of the week all but one week a month) and going to school fulltime (~20-25 hrs a week class time. Plus out side of class study/studio time). Am I complaining?.. Alright yeah I do complain sometimes. But I still do it. Do you need to work this much? Maybe not. But I personally have a number in my head I want to hit. I want to come out of college with the least amount of debt as possible so that means for me working a lot. For you it might just mean moonlighting at your buddies catering gig once a month. Or it might mean doing everything exactly the same. You just need to figure out what works for you and what allows you to budget for everything with savings and money left over. Free time is great. We all need some. Too much is bad though, and expensive.
4. Figure out what works. Stick with it until it stops working.
For me buying stuff online and putting things into wish lists works. I buy one thing every few months. Its easier for me to budget a little over a longer period of time. For you maybe the envelope method works (You put actual cash in envelops every month. When an envelop is empty your done with what ever it was for, like for example eating out or bars). The United States has a HUGE problem when it comes to money. This is not okay. We need to start fixing it.
If you find yourself in credit card debt then don’t use them! I have exactly one credit card. I only use it for purchases over $100 so I can get the cash back and I pay it off online within 24/48 hours (once it leaves the pending status). If I’m not sure if the money is in my account then I don’t buy it.
“But its a necessity!”
Okay. Its food. Fine. But put back the sugary cereal, the steak, and the freezer meals. Go pick up some frozen chicken, generic italian dressing, cheap bread, cheese (and please not the plasticy kind) and salad. You can grill the chicken or bake it in the oven. Have it in a sandwich or over a salad. You can have it marinaded in the dressing or plain. PB&J also works. Buy something that will get you the nutrients you need without costings $50. (You should be able to buy the chicken, dressing, bread, cheese and salad for ~ $20)
Clothes? Well whats wrong with that shirt you haven’t worn since you bought it? Guys whats wrong with those clothes you threw in the back of your closet/dresser. We all have clothes we don’t wear. We are rarely in actual NEED of clothes.
Car broke? Thats what your emergency fund is for. “What emergency fund?” Remember that 10-15% (Minimum!) you were suppose to be saving. Yeah that comes into play here.
Bottom line is money doesn’t grow on trees. Credit cards are only an extension of your bank account (NOT a loan agency) and budgets are a necessity for everyone. Some people have enough money they have a very lose budget. Some people need to account for every nickel and dime. Do what works for you.
I personally suggest using Mint for budgeting. It’s free, online and syncs with your bank account.