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Our Best Advice to Help You Make the Most of Your Hard Earned Money
You work hard for your money. Shouldn’t it work hard for you? For those of us who aren’t born with a calculator in our hands, the threat of facing our finances is quite the nightmare. Yet, even the most numbers-averse Single Girl should know how to smartly manage her money.
There is a lot of great advice out there to help you decide how to best budget, save, and invest your hard-earned dollars. Before diving in too deep however, I recommend first checking-in with your current checking situation. Start this week on a smart foot and make sure you aren’t making any of these 5 money mistakes.
1. Not keeping track of your budget
A while back I shared my tips for creating a budget. Whether you choose to adopt my system or use your own, I believe this is one of the most important habits to start. Before you can figure out how to save your money, you need to understand how you spend your money.
Personally I’ve found that a simple Excel spreadsheet does the trick for me. If you’re looking for something a bit more technical, I would recommend taking a look at Mint.com or Learnvest. The most important thing is to pick a system that you can stick to.
2. Not paying yourself first
It’s easy enough to remember to pay your rent, utilities, and car insurance. These are all required payments you have to make if you want to continue to have a place to live and a way to get around. It’s not so obvious however, to remember to pay yourself.
Start thinking of yourself like any other required monthly bill. Take on the mindset that you need to pay yourself (e.g. your savings account and/or your investments) each month. Whatever amount you can manage, put aside your savings before buying another nail polish, happy hour, or cute new top.
3. Not paying your credit card off each month
Credit card debt is a rabbit hole you don’t want to go down. If you’ve managed to steer clear continue to avoid the temptation. If you’ve already gone down that path, make it a priority to find a way out as quickly as possible.
There are few situations I’d agree that debt is an unavoidable outcome. For the most part, I believe we should live by the mantra, if you don’t have it you don’t need it. Otherwise said, if the money isn’t in your bank account to pay for something then you shouldn’t buy it.
4. Not investing your money
When you’ve reached a point that your paycheck is more than you need to live on, that’s not a green flag to spend more. It’s a sign that you need to start investing your extra income. The first thing you’ll want to fund is a savings account however, if you stop there you’re cutting yourself short.
Put some effort into researching your investment options. Your money will work much harder for you if it’s in stocks, mutual funds, or business ventures than it will sitting in the bank. Granted these options carry more risk than a simple savings account but if you do your homework, you’ll find options that can almost guarantee steady growth. If you’re wondering where to get started, I personally recommend looking into Charles Schwab.
5. Not using the best bank
When was the last time you took a hard look at your bank’s T&Cs? Do you know what fees they are accessing? How about how much interest you’re earning on your checking and savings accounts? These things very from bank to bank and depending on which you choose, you could be losing or saving a lot of money.
To begin, a few things I would make sure to take a look at include: ATM fees, international fees, and APY. A great bank will allow you to use any ATM free of charge, exchange foreign money without penalty, and will have a high (+.10%) APY aka the interest you earn just for keeping money in your account. Again, I recommend Mint.com as a great source for sorting out your best options.
What are your money-saving tips? Share with us in the comments below or tweet us @SingleDiariesXO!