We are halfway through the year and the fiscal year closes for Thirty One today. Each year, I review my goals and my finances. It has been a rough few months adjusting to the diagnosis of MS (#MSwillnotdefineme) and another possible auto-immune disease but I am not using that as an excuse to not move forward. For some that may seem harsh, for others they will understand that staying positive and moving forward is what gets me up every day.
I have learned (yes, in my 50’s) a few things that I wish I had of learned in my 20’s. Learning is an ongoing process and I am determined not to give up on my goal of being debt free from credit cards.
#1 A bigger and better job doesn’t mean you get to spend more. By keeping your costs the same when you increase your salary you’ll be able to save some. I always thought more money meant that I could spend more. Silly me!
#2 Never spend more than what comes in. And limit your card to the lowest possible. This has been the toughest for this recovering addict to conquer.
#3 Pay off any debt first. Pay your credit card debt as soon as possible, those high interests won’t be doing you any good. Then once they are paid off DON”T use them anymore.
#4 Student loans on autopilot. Students loans usually have a really small interest rate so make regular, steady payments to pay of your loan and it’ll soon be a thing of the past. Check out too if you are eligible for a “forgiveness program”. Make 120 payments on time & the balance of your loan is forgiven. WOOHOO!
#5 Build a back-up. YES, saving is still important even if you have debt. Make sure you always have a few hundred set aside for unexpected costs and bills.
#6 Insuring yourself is essential. A crashed laptop, unforeseen doctors bill or stolen bike can wreak financial havoc if you’re not insured. That cost per month will pay off in the long run for any unexpected mishaps.
#7 Set long term goals to help you focus on what you really want. Figure out how much you’re gonna need and start saving now.
#8 Monetize your talent if you can. Write blogposts, take photographs or try to monetize your special skills as (additional) income. I have been a crafter for as long as I can remember. I just wish I had of saved some of that money.
#9 Think about retirement. This is especially important if you are your own boss. Sadly, I learned too late that it’s essential to put away money for the future.
#10 Lastly, here is a marvelous piece of advice given by StickleyMan on Thought Catalog. It’s reaaaaaally good.
“Take some more chances. You know that idea that’s been ruminating in the back of your mind for years? That one that doesn’t have anything to do with your job or your mortgage. That one that falls outside your schema of living and routine and that you shrug off as some immature or impractical idea; as just some silly fantasy. Maybe it’s a crazy business idea or a trip to go live in a hut in India for three months or to breed Pygmy hippos or to become a juggling street performer. Whatever it is, explore it. Maybe even try it. I don’t mean take a stupid, life-threatening risk. I’m not suggesting a trying a lifestyle of meth addiction and bare-knuckle Fight Clubs. But something outside your comfort zone. Try it. Maybe you’ll fail miserably at it. But just try it. Because in about a decade when you’re responsible for more things and more people, you won’t be able to. And you’ll find yourself in a self-imposed mental prison of ‘what-ifs’. And take it for someone who didn’t because I was too scared, too embroiled in my own insecurities and addictions, and so heavily conditioned to fear failure – you’ll wish you did.
Any cash lessons you learned in the past year? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to hear how you spend and save.