How To Manage your Monies
Save and don’t touch
Before getting into any deep thoughts on money management. Simply set an amount per paycheck you can live without. Set your account to automatically direct these funds to your savings account every pay period. Leave this account out of sight and out of mind. This is not meant for spending or even as a buffer. Create an emergency fund and leave that as a buffer in your checking. Simply don’t touch your savings until it’s necessary. All banks have restrictions on how many withdrawals you can make from your savings.
Stay away from credit
I got my first credit card when I was 31. I am happy I resisted it this long. Google the word obfuscate. Credit cards help to render your financial management into confusion aka obfuscation. It’s not worth the hassle. Keep it simple, spend only what you have. If you chose to forgo this advice, since there are some great benefits of having credit. Pay off your entire balance to zero at every statement. Not just the statement balance, I mean it, to zero. If you credit card is currently a debt, start aggressively pay it down.
You need to know what is coming in and what is going out. Print out your last two months of bank statements. Create a spreadsheet and figure out what is your monthly take home pay income and what are your recurring monthly expenses. (Round up to the nearest dollar) Budget for eating out, groceries, gas, and other predictable monthly expenses, round up. List out all your recurring annual expenses, divide that number by 12. Now you should have a rough idea of you expenses and what you have left over for spending and saving. Once you figure out your savings goal treat it as an expense, it’s important to never perceive your savings as spending money.
To save or to pay off debt
First save $1000, this will be your emergency fund if your car breaks down or any miscellaneous repairs. Then start a goal to save roughly 3 months of living. Do this based off your current lifestyle. If something goes wrong with your job you got 3 months to continue living your normal lifestyle or you can pare down your expenses and be able to extend those funds for more time. After you have both emergency funds fully funded. Start paying down debt. Pay off the smallest balance first. Regardless of interest fee, the motivation gain by achieving this lower hanging goal will be priceless. Now move the funds that were allocated to pay off the previous debt to your next lowest balance. This is called the snowball effect.
Reduce your expenses
After you have taken inventory of your bills, see what you really need to survive. Start cancelling all your subscriptions one by one. You can re-subscribe back to them a la carte. Crazy enough, a lot of the services you are subscribed to will give you discounted rates not to leave. Take the savings you just earned from cancelling and roll them into funding your savings goals or paying off debt.
Have a goal in mind
If it’s saving for something big like a trip, paying off debt, or just the knowledge you know you are good. After you hit this moment it’s time to think about investing.
My current setup
For checking, I use Simple. I really enjoy this online bank. There are zeros fees and no such thing as overdraft. I been with them for a year now and I have been extremely happy moving to them. They have great features that help you manage your expenses, goals, and savings.
For Savings, I use Marcus by Goldman Sachs. When I initially started with Simple they did not offer savings, now they do. I still enjoy having my funds move over to Marcus. It aligns with my ‘out of sight out of mind’ philosophy of no touching your savings. Additionally, it will take 2-3 business days for these funds to transfer back to your checking, I see this as a plus, since you be forced to always see your savings as untouchable. I have a portion of my emergency funds in savings at Simple, so this would not be an issue. Lastly, Marcus has one of the best interest rates for savings accounts and it continues to go up ever couple of months, so that is more money in your pocket.
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