Welcome to another year and welcome back to my blog! If you’re new, make sure to look around at my other blog posts. Since many people try to start new habits at the beginning of the year, I wanted to share some financial lessons I learned last year. I hope that you can learn something new and incorporate these things into your financial habits. So without further adieu, here are seven financial lessons I learned last year…
Tweak Your Budget, Then Stick To It.
The amount of financial responsibilities was greater last year, when I was living on my own. It was during that time that I decided to really get serious about budgeting, so that I could ensure I was paying all of my bills on time. I went through a few variations for my budget, each time, tweaking how much I really needed to spend in an area like groceries. As I experienced income increases, I was able to expand to more categories within my budget and put more in each category. The biggest way I was able to stick to my budget was by using cash envelopes. Basically, the cash envelope system encourages you to set up your budget and only use cash. I loved the idea so much that I started selling them on Etsy.
Enjoy the Present, but Don’t Forget About the Future.
In my job, I process retirement claims…specifically, disability retirement claims. One thing that has been instilled into my mind since working here, was that I need to start saving now. Many of the people that I help did not foresee something happening to them, where their career would abruptly stop. Even more, many of them are bringing home less income with a disability retirement than their regular income. That being said, I am more conscious about the amount of money I am spending on non-necessities versus how much I am saving. We will never know if something will happen to us where our income is negatively affected; however, we can take steps now to create a financial safety net.
Take Advantage of Automatic Financial Allotments
Speaking of saving money, electing automatic financial allotments is an easy way to save money. I recently started doing this, where I have $25 (for now) being deducted from my check and automatically going into a savings account. Sometimes we may have the best intention to transfer money into our savings account, but it doesn’t always happen. Or if we do transfer the money into our savings account, we transfer it back to our checking account to spend it. So to make it easier for yourself, set up a financial allotment to your savings account.
Continue to Learn About Financial Management
A lot of what I learned last year about financial management came from watching YouTube videos and following certain people on Instagram. There are many support groups on Instagram if you want to manage your debt or save for your future. They are able to give you advice from their own personal experience, and there are some that even provide tools and resources. A speaker at a leadership conference I attended last year, stated that people become experts when they are constantly consuming information in their field. If we want to become better stewards of our money, we have to continue to learn what habits are beneficial for us.
Pay Off Your Debt
I know there are people that may disagree, but I am a firm believer in paying off your debts as soon as you can. It would be great if you don’t have to take out a loan; but if you do, the faster you can pay it off, the faster you can be released from that financial stress. My goal is to pay off my $31k student loan off this year. How you ask? With a lot of praying lol But seriously, I plan on living off less than I make, and then earning more with overtime and my side hustle. With determination and hard work, I’m hoping to pay it off so that I can start aggressively saving for my own house.
I started investing a little, but not as much as I need to be investing. The main thing that is preventing me from investing more is my student loan debt. I’m focusing on my student loan so that I can have more income for investing. However, you can invest in many ways outside of the stock market. I started watching a show on Netflix called Million Pound Menu, where investors look to invest in start-up restaurants. I thought this was a really cool way to merge my passion for food with investing. Just make sure to do your research before investing in any business, person, or idea. I almost forgot, don’t forget to invest in your children’s future. I know where I live, there’s a fund that you can start that will essentially pay for your child’s tuition when they go to college. It’s worth looking into.
Give Back Giving back can do the soul good.
It can also help us see the world from a different perspective. One of the many ways I give back is by tithing at my church. With all of the tithe money, our church is able to support organizations aiding the vulnerable in our community, in our nation, and in the world. If you want to learn about the advantages of tithing, check out this amazing sermon. Another way to give back is by offering to pay for someone’s groceries or food. A local radio station encourages its listeners to participate in Drive-thru Thursdays, where they pay for the food of the customer behind them. The recipient of that kindness gets a note where they learn what the other person did. That action can make a difference in their lives. The possibilities of giving back are endless. Give, and it will come back to you
Well thank you so much for reading my first blog post of 2019! I hope you enjoyed reading it and learned something new, so that you can achieve your financial goals this year. If you have any lessons that you’ve learned, I would love to hear them in the comment section below. If you have any questions for me, I would be happy to answer them. And make sure to follow me on my Instagram @My_Attempt_At_Adulting to keep up with me during the week.