If this is your first time here, Molly’s Money is a regular series I write on this blog that includes ALL things personal finance – debt management, budgeting, home buying, savings,investment, etc. I am NOT a financial advisor, but I am married to one! These are just things that I have learned over the years as I struggled with my own personal finances and ultimately, became debt free in 2012. Got a question about money that you want answered? Leave it in the comments below or email me!
I have seen so many financial articles and blog posts lately spewing all kinds of negativity at people telling people why they’re failing with money, why they’re broke, etc. etc. etc. That kind of attitude (in my humble opinion) doesn’t help people… it only makes them feel worse about their situation.
So, instead, I kind of wanted to turn what I’ve seen on its head and talk about ways to WIN and be SMART with money. Start with even a few of these things and you are well on your way to having a healthier financial life.
10 Ways to Be Smart with Money
- Set up a detailed, MONTHLY budget (Have I mentioned before the importance of a budget??)
- For real, though. Having a detailed monthly budget is an absolute necessity if you want to be on the way to good financial standing
- Make sure you have an emergency fund.
- Saving for a rainy day is so important because that way when your air conditioning goes out (like ours did last weekend… UGH), you can easily afford to have it fixed and it won’t crush you
- Make sure you’re saving money outside of your emergency fund, too.
- Having additional savings (for things like a car, maybe a down payment on a house, kid’s college funds, etc.) is also super important. It’s important to plan.
- Don’t spend more money than you earn (It’s easy to avoid this if you have a budget… see #1).
- This should go without saying.
- Don’t set up bills for automatic draft.
- I realize that setting up bills for automatic draft sounds like a good idea, but what it does is it takes you out of the process. You forget about them and then, one day, a bill drafts before you get paid and boom… you’ve overdrafted your account… or something with your account information changes and boom… you’ve missed a payment. It’s important to be a part of the process… it keeps you in charge.
- Speaking of bills, pay them on time. Always.
- Again, goes without saying.
- Don’t co-sign on a loan. Ever.
- I realize you’re probably doing it to be nice, but you assume just as much responsibility as the other party if you co-sign on a loan. If they fail to pay, it falls back on you… it can really kill your credit report.
- Speaking of credit reports… be sure to regularly check your credit report.
- This can help you look out for cases of identity theft, fraud, outstanding cards, etc.
- Make sure you have insurance. Good insurance. Auto, home, rental, life, etc.
- There’s no perfect formula for this. Too much insurance and you’re hurting your bank account. Too little insurance and you’re not protected. Talk with a qualified agent to see what’s right for you.
- Start saving for retirement. Now.
- SO many people think they’re “too young” to start thinking about and saving for retirement – this is just false. The earlier you start saving, the more money you’ll have down the road.
So that’s it! Well, not all of it… but it’s a start. These are 10 GREAT things you can start working on to be smart and win with your money!
What things have you not thought of before? Are there things you’re already doing? What would YOU add to the list?