I’m a 27-year old single gal with no kids. I casually date here and there and obsessively seek ways to better myself personally, mentally, spiritually, and financially. Sorry to break the news to ya, but we will not be talking about my dating life. It’s not up for discussion! lol What I will let you in on, however, is my finances.
When 2017 began I dedicated myself to actively build my wealth and track my finances. While I was sitting in my home office doing my accounting, I thought that I should share a few things that I’m currently doing to build wealth.
Most articles preach about credit card debt and impulse buying. I never had any credit card debt (only college debt), and if I’m going to the mall I’d more than likely come out with food before clothes. Many articles also talk about retirement as well. The thing is, the idea of saving for retirement is a little hard to wrap your mind around when you’re young. If you didn’t have parents who sat you down to explain it, it’ll be a little hard to convince anyone that starting now is the best thing you can do for yourself as a twenty-something year old. I’ll come back to saving for your retirement later, let’s move on for now.
There’s a saying that I repeat to my Facebook audience when I’m discussing money. That saying is, money disappears from those who has no plans on what to do with it. My point being, if you don’t have a plan for your money every 2 weeks when your paycheck hits your account, it will go quicker than you can sneeze.
Here’s a scenario. Let’s say you’re someone like me. You don’t spend much on clothes or entertainment. You’re casually dating, and when I say casually dating, I don’t mean you’re out on dates a lot. I mean there maybe 1 or 2 people you’re interested in and you’ve both found other ways to enjoy each other’s company outside of spending a $100 each time you meet. PSA: Dating is also an expense!
Moving on… You work a regular 9-5, you make sure your bills are paid, and you’re always left with about 2-3 hundred dollars to spare. Not bad, but you can’t seem to build a reputable savings account. What can you do with what you have right now, to not only build a strong savings account but to also have a little play money on the side?
Let’s practically break this down.
Point #1 Track every dollar you spend
You know the 3-5 dollars that you spend on coffee every morning without thinking or the $1.50 burger you quickly pick up through the drive-through? Those few dollars are severely hitting your account more than any other $30-50 purchase (to splurge), although you think you’re saving money by eating a $2 meal. In this case, it’s not about the amount. It’s about the fact that you’re blindly spending without thought or any real reason. The $50 facial and spa that you paid for because you had a rough couple weeks was thought about. You looked around and compared prices. You found a Groupon or asked a couple of friends to come with you for a group discount. Again, it’s less about the amount of money spent and more so about how you practice spending your money. It’s possible that your daily coffee and $2 meal purchases supersede your once in a blue moon $30-50 purchases. Let me tell you, $1.50 burgers add up! Track what you spend.
Point #2 Properly Save
Depending on how much you make, always put a percentage of your paycheck in a savings account. You should have a minimum of $1,000 in savings in case of emergency AT ALL TIMES. Make it clear to yourself that a saving account is for emergency purposes. It’s not extra money you have to spend. Never touch your savings, even if you really need it. Oh, and FYI, being short on your rent or phone bill is not an emergency. You can borrow $200 from a friend. Leave your savings alone! It’s for emergencies ONLY, nothing else.
(Some may say that rent is an emergency, I say NOT WHEN YOU HAVE A PLAN AND BUDGET it’s not.)
Point #3 Take care of your credit If you have student loans like me, start making minimum payments on it. You can make payments as low as $5 a month. Bank accounts as well. If you have money you owe, call them up and begin a payment plan. Even though you’re swimming in debt, proof that you’re paying it off ON TIME counts for something. If credit card debt is something you need to tackle, click
P.S. If credit card debt is something you need to tackle, click here.
Point #4 Retirement
Open an IRA, even if you have a retirement plan at work. Some may say, you’re not old today, why start now? Easy answer, whatever you put towards your retirement today can possibly double if not triple when you’re quote on quote old. More importantly, your contributions may be tax-deductible (depending on your income), but your eventual withdrawals will be treated as taxable income. Click here to read more. The earlier you start the better.
Here’s what you can do RIGHT NOW!
Start with creating both a personal and operating monthly budget. Write down the prices of all of the things you need to be in tip-top shape every single day. You’re operating budget should list your monthly rent, car payment, phone bill, and health insurance etc. Your personal budget should entail things like hair, clothes, travel, and the cost for personal education (books, online classes) etc. The difference between your personal and operating budget is that one has a list of needs, the other wants. Once you’ve created both lists, you can accurately make decisions on what you can minimize in order to keep more money in your pocket.
Personal Budget Example: If you need a suit for a work trip go to Goodwill instead of buying a brand new suit. Besides, you should always have ONE tailored expensive suit in your closet. For the ladies, instead of buying hair and then paying someone to do it, either learn how to do it yourself or get creative with the hair on your head.
Operating Budget Example: Always, always be on the search for better deals! You can negotiate things like your health or car insurance. All you have to do is ask! Google for better prices, call up your provider and get to work. *Bonus: If you’re mainly using your phone for work, ask your job if they’ll pay for it or if you’re a business owner you can write off your bill.
There you have it! That’s it for now. This is what I’m actively doing to build my wealth. I think I’m going to do a part 2 on how to increase your income without having to ask for a raise. Who knows? You may even get to hand in a 3 weeks notice. Stay tuned!
Building wealth and making a comfortable income is not as hard as you think. I promise you, you don’t have to bust your ass to get the job done. It’s all about working smart and not hard!
Now that you have the information, apply it.
P.S. If you know of any other tips, please share! I’m always looking for better ways to save or to increase my income.
P.S.S. Check out Checkbook on Facebook for great times on how to save.