If you are doing well financially chances are you’ve had help in the past, maybe a friend, parents or a role model helped you become good at making sound financial decisions.
If you are in debt and finally ready to listen to some sound advice keep reading:
1- No matter how much you make always try to save
If you can only save 20$ per week it’s better than nothing. Over the years it will add up and you never know when you will need it for an emergency. I understand it’s important to live in the present but that’s not a reason not to think financially about your future. I’ve covered this point in another of my post on how to save money.
2- If you can’t afford it do not buy it
This sounds weird for some people, but it’s a FACT. You should live by this motto. If you can’t pay something right now, just don’t buy it. Save money first, and then buy it when you can actually afford it. Putting yourself in debt just to have a big screen TV or a car of the year is financial self-destruction. This brings me to my third point
3- Beware of the hidden costs
Often I see people buy things without thinking too much. Never purchase anything by impulse. Do not purchase accessories that require additional spending. For example, I’ve seen people buy a pair of shoes only to realize they need to buy new pants to go with them. Even worse, buying a new painting that they love but doesn’t fit their current decoration and then buying more decoration to fit with the new painting. I am sure some of you see yourself in one of my examples.
4- Never buy anything of credit that lose value
This works with point two, however using credit isn’t always bad but never purchase products that will lose great value (such as cars, electronics) with credit. Remember your credit cards have 19% interest rates. You never know if you will need to sell that object and if it’s the case it’s pretty sad to still have monthly payments on a object you no longer own. A good example is a computer, in two years that computer will be worth three or four monthly payment. A good credit example, would be a mortgage, when the money & interests you pay on such a loan is only beneficial as your property increases with value over time.
5- Only buy what you need and not what you want
This advice is key in controlling your spending. Each time you are about to purchase something, ask yourself if this is something you actually need. We live in a society of pure consumption, chances are you don’t need it. Each time you go and buy something ask yourself this question: What do I need this for? Chances are it’s not for something extremely useful.
6- Buy Quality items
Almost everything we buy today is made in China and it’s hard to find a product that will last a while. It’s funny that we see a lot of old refrigerators from the late 70’s and 80’s but we rarely see anything from the 90’s anymore. It’s important to buy items that will last a long time. There is no need to always get the newest gadget if what you currently have works fine, for example cell phones. Buy quality and keep it as long as you can.
7- Fix things yourself, Do-it-yourself
In today’s world it seems to be a lost trade to do things ourselves. The other day I changed the air filter on my car, it took me five minutes and I did not even get my hands dirty. I saved close to sixty dollars doing this myself, and this is just one example on how we can save money. If you have kids try to cut their hair yourself for example. So many people pay 20-30$ per hair cut per kid. These are all added expenses you can save money with. Stop paying someone to shovel your driveway, wake up earlier and do it yourself, it’s great exercise anyways. Same thing with the lawn in the summer, it’s fun and it’s something that can give you satisfaction. Even better, teach your kids some responsibilities and ask them to do it with you. You can even justify an allowance by making them do things around the house and show them how to save that money.
8- If your expenses are higher than your income, your interest payments will keep piling up
In one of my other articles on how to save money I clearly mention that it’s imperative to keep all your monthly expenses to the lowest. It’s important to think of your family/personal income like a business. Each month you need a surplus. Do not run a deficit, the interest you pay on your debt is money you don’t have. If you ask me it’s better to have money in the bank making interest each month than paying some.
9- Don’t compare what you have with others
Try to be smart and don’t compare yourself to the neighbors. The grass is always greener on someone else’s lawn, and most people purchase new toys they cannot afford. Even if the neighbors have a brand new car, lawn mower or new tools each month, they probably have more debt than willing to admit. It’s better to have money in the bank account than any material goods.
My grandmother who passed away a few months ago once told me something very important: “Keep loving what you have and not what you want”. I hope this post will shed some light on how some of us with money think and how we got to the point of having money and no debt. Remember it’s never too late to start saving.