Recently, I have fallen in love with Joanna’s blog, Things After the Rings. She describes how it really feels after you say “I do,” and I can’t wait to keep up with her blog after I’m married. Today, she is here to talk about simple ways to manage money successfully. I know we can all learn from this one! Thanks, Joanna!
Hi there, I’m Joanna and I blog about life as a twenty-something newlywed over at Things After the Rings.
In a recent post, Emily mentioned concerns about moving out and paying bills and things. Since I pretty much have a mortgage in student loan debt, I was motivated early to focus on my finances and have learned a lot in the last four years.
Here are some basic tips I’d give to someone just starting out on their own:
- Budget is not a bad word. A budget is a spending plan. Take the amount of money you bring in each month, subtract all of your bills, and then come up with a game plan to spend the rest of the money including what you want to spend in the future (ie savings). Keep an eye on it as the month goes on. It’s that simple.
- Never go to the grocery store without a list. You will spend a lot of money and not have anything to eat. To make a fail-proof list, figure out how many dinners you’ll need (think about whether you’ll be out some nights), make a list of everything you need for those meals. Figure out how many lunches you need too and then make a plan for those too. Add some breakfast items, some things you can take for snacks. You’re good. Happy shopping!
- The first year I lived on my own I bought breakfast and lunch multiple days a week. Ugh! I cringe to think about how much money I wasted doing that…hundreds of dollars, I’m sure! To prevent this: make dinners that serve 4. Pack the leftovers for lunch. Tip number two will help with this.
- Automate your bill paying. You can do this through your bank and then you won’t have to worry about making payments on time. It will be taken care of for you. All you have to do is make sure there’s enough money in your account when the debits are made and your spending plan will help with that so you’re all set.
- Ideal mantra for your credit card: What happens in the month is paid for in the month.
- If that doesn’t work, and sometimes it won’t, here’s another mantra: always pay more than the minimum.
- This is a learning curve so don’t be too hard on yourself if your budget isn’t perfect the first time around.
- If you have debt, play around with this loan calculator to see how you can accelerate paying off credit card debt, student loans, or car loans. I just found this about 6 months ago and I wish I would’ve known about it sooner.
My favorite money resources*:
Dave Ramsey—I haven’t read any of his books but I love his radio show, especially debt-free Friday.
*I was not compensated in any way by mentioning these resources, they are just sources I highly recommend.
What are your favorite money tips?
What money lessons did you learn the hard way?