Be Money Wise


Money-Wise image credit: Good Search

Be money wise.

None of these tips cost you anything but will save you and others headache if you keep them up to date.

  • Have three-to-six months of income put aside.

I prefer not to call it an “emergency” fund, but I advocate putting money aside for the future. The money’s in savings, so as you save more, you have more money put aside, even without an “emergency.”

So, you don’t lose your job, or don’t land in the hospital for months on end. You’ll have money saved  for a smaller unexpected something (a car’s flat tire, a dishwasher that conks out, a dog needing a visit to the vet.) Did you know 70% of people don’t have money put aside that could over three-to-six months of living expenses. Can you save $20 a week? Make sure it’s accessible; liquid.By putting this money aside, you build a cash-buffer over time. You don’t have to start big, but you do have to start.

 

  • Check your credit reports.

Credit reports are free (one a year from each credit bureau), just make sure you’re on the legitimate industry’s official website www.annualcreditreport.com. Eighty-one percent of people don’t check their credit reports. It’s not only about your money, but your identity that your checking. The three major credit bureaus are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Stagger your report requests every four months. Related post: Credit Report/Credit Score

 

 

  • Update your will.

Eighty-six percent of Consumer Reports survey respondents said they either didn’t have a will, and other  estate-planning documents, or hadn’t updated it in over five years. Even if nothing has changed in your life, check your beneficiaries on your will, insurance accounts, and retirement policies. I had a friend who didn’t update his will and when he died, his surviving wife was left with a mess. Some of the people he’d listed as beneficiaries had died years before. It complicated the process, and relatives had their hands out on behalf of the deceased beneficiaries. What a hassle. Update your will.

 

These are easy, free things you can do to keep your finances in good condition. Make becoming money wise a habit!

Turn Hard Into Easy!


After a short skimming of the internet for some post ideas, I figured it out: People make budgeting waaaay to hard!

No wonder folks don’t set up a budget! In my short internet search, I came across a page chock-full of graphs, grids, analysis and assessment. For a budget! People get stuck in the “get ready to get ready phase.” People think they can’t budget because it’s too hard (or too boring.)

You don’t need to know Excel, or have a computer program to budget. You don’t even need to have a piggy bank. —Although, one of my favorite piggy banks as a kid was from Mexico. A white pig, with some colorful abstract paint designs. Another favorite bank of mine was a big blue “mailbox.” Two of my favorite things: money, and mail! Those banks are long gone.

Almost as old, a tin can with a plastic lid. The tin is covered with bright, colorful tissue paper I cut into primary shapes. The pieces overlap. I cut out a coin slot on the lid, and around it glued a Henry David Thoreau affirmation, “Keep moving in the direction of your dreams.” Every so often, I fill the empty coin rolls sitting in the tin—even if I end up with $7.50, I take it to the bank for deposit.

That’s part of budgeting. (Saving.) The other part is (no, not spending) tracking what you spend. It can be on paper, computer (again, you don’t need Excel. Just keep track of what you’re spending money on.) You can even use an envelope. Put receipts for one month. If you don’t get a receipt, grab a scratch piece of paper/napkin/business card etc. and write down $10. movies. Put it in the envelope.

At the end of the month, add up your expenses. Subtract them from the amount of money you have to spend.

income minus expenses equals extra or short.

What’s your plan?

THAT is a budget in a nutshell.

 

The Joneses:


First: MYOB (Mind Your Own Business.)

Second: Just because you see someone in a new car, new house, or with a hip gadget, it doesn’t mean it’s paid off. It doesn’t mean they could afford it. Don’t get distracted by other people’s flash. If someone tells you their gross income, don’t even blink an eye. Gross income is what they got paid, not what they took home.

Keep focused on your goals. Don’t let side shows distract you. Be confident in who you are, not based on the money. (Pssst…The Joneses are trying to up with you!)

How do you get back on track when you notice you’ve slipped into focusing on the “Joneses” instead of yourself?