Finance Tips from Smalls
Lately I've had lots of my girlfriends ask me for financial advice because of their upcoming purchases, moves, life changes etc and so I thought I would share here. My hubs and I are purchasing a home (we're closing on April 29th!) and so...even though I wouldn't consider myself a genius by any means, I think I know a thing or two about how to get yourself in a good place financially.
First, in the words of my super-down-to-earth husband: money is just money. Yes, it provides for us and helps us survive in our society but if you look at it for what it is....its just money. I've learned that I have to be faithful with my finances and in turn God will take care of your needs.
Second: if you don't already have one, start a SAVINGS ACCOUNT. Tomorrow. Get one that allows for automatic withdrawals from your debit/checking account. Even if you are only putting away $5 a month; it's still something. The number one rule about savings accounts is that you can't touch it, EVER, unless you need it to survive (buy food, pay rent etc). Savings accounts have to be for rainy days only so don't withdraw from them unless you absolutely have to. NEVER pull money out of a savings account for anything less and say "I'll put the money back when I get paid next month." You're a liar :)
Third: Have a credit card? (You should! Read my credit card post). Only use a credit card for groceries and gas. This way you can pay it off montly and start building great credit (that you need for cars, homes, etc.) If you're over the age of 21 and you don't have any credit...it's time! Even if you're a student, credit cards are a good idea to build your credit. Most banks have "student credit" programs and will give you a small limit to protect you from going caraaaazy.
Fourth: Plurge on what you care about, save on what you don't care about. For example: I have expensive hair products because I really need it. My hair is crazy curly and is hard to care for if I don't nourish it correctly. However, I could give a rat's behind about toilet paper, toothpaste, make up, coffee mugs etc. I buy those things cheap cheap cheap. Pick your priorities.
Last: Plan your meals for the week with the groceries. Special event? Go out and have fun! Normal day? GO HOME and eat what's at home. It's not the most exciting thing ever but you'll appreciate the extra $ in your account at the end of the month.
Hope this is helpful, feel free to post questions if you have any!