Find your funds in fundamentals
Personal finance is full of good, bad, and just plain weird advice. Most people are looking for the simplest advice they can implement. Thing is though, money is a deeply emotional and personal thing. Although there are over 17,652 personal finance blogs, with lots of good advice, everyone has a personal take.
That being said, there are some universal truths to personal finance that can’t be ignored. Successful people pay attention to the fundamentals of personal finance because it empowers them to maximize your existing income to its potential.
Can’t repeat this enough. Budgeting is the most fundamental skill.
Budget in a way that works and feels comfortable enough for you.
Have a plan on where you money goes every month and track those expenses. Whether it’s a paper log, an app like Mint.com, Quicken, or just tools built into online banking, or heck, even simple envelopes, budgeting is the single most important skill that successful people do.
Take advantage of automatic bill pay, transfers, separate accounts, payroll deduction, etc. This not only helps remove the human error, but you’ll save money on late fees. Also, you’ll get time, and nothing helps you be successful like more time.
Make sure you read contracts, research products, and are actively engaged in planning for your future. Planning ahead of time saves time and of course, money, by preventing you from making costly mistakes.
Check for mistakes on your credit report or your accounts statements. Check for charges for that monthly subscription box that you forget to cancel, or thought you canceled.
This means asking yourself if every splurge is worth it. Do you spend too much on a service you don’t use? Do you have too many shoes? Do you pay for things you don’t even like? Less can be more, in that if you take out the waste and focus on things that make you happy.
And that less saves you money.
Also, don’t try and deny yourself all the luxury and small pleasures – it doesn’t work, it’s demotivating, and you shouldn’t be miserable.
No matter how you save, make sure you do it. “Paying Yourself First” is a great thing you can remember, not just because of interest rates on debt, or being prepared for an emergency, (smart things!) but because as a philosophy it reminds you that your money is supposed to work for you.
NOTE: No financial plan will work for you unless it puts your needs front and center. Remember that. Saving isn’t just pocketing money for later, it’s investing in you.
Success is out there
These are just six little truths – we could come up with ten or a hundred and get into detail. If you like that kind of thing, there are TON’s of blogs (PS: AAA CreditGuide has a great list if you are interested.), books, and classes about personal finance.
Key thing here is about finding success for you: money that is meeting your needs and helping you live the best life. You need a good relationship with money, so you can focus on all the other things that matter.