My Dad used to work a very high stress sales job. He earned a middle class income, and yet we enjoyed some luxuries often reserved for the wealthy. We lived in a nice, waterfront home, he paid for my sister and my college educations, and we rarely were disappointed on Christmas morning. How did he do it? Good financial planing and smart spending. I may not be up to par with what he has achieved, but I feel like what he taught me has helped me a great deal from the minute I entered adulthood. I hope that I can encourage my kids to be responsible spenders and savers, too.
Here are the basics of what I learned, and how you can achieve financial success in 2015.
1) Spend within your means
This is the most important piece of advice. If you don’t have it, don’t spend it. This is why credit cards can be dangerous in the hands of some people. If that’s you, pay cash instead of credit. This tip has really stuck with me over the years, because it’s so simple.
2) Sit down and make a realistic budget
Plan a budget based on your known income and expenses for the year. Don’t forget to build in miscellaneous and emergency funds if you can, and also for contributions to a retirement account.
3) Stick to that budget
As with any personal achievement, you have to make yourself accountable. This means sacrifice. You may not be able to buy every latest gadget or it may me less dinners out. You will find that by spending less, you will enjoy what you do that much more, and without the stress.
4) Be organized
File your bills and receipts so that you can easily refer to them later if needed. I am a big fan of financial tracking systems like Quicken to help manage your income and expenses. It helps to have an overall idea of how you currently spend your money if you are looking to make changes.
Like I mentioned before, it’s important to save something every month, even if it’s only just a few dollars. Even with the best financial planning, things do happen. You may not be able to count on your income, which is why you should at the very least have enough saved to pay 6 months worth of bills.
One of the ways I help stretch our dollars is by shopping smart. I try to buy things on sale and use coupons if possible. And at the end of the month I write a check to be deposited into my Capitol One 360 account. There is no better time for financial planning than around the holidays. Just don’t forget about yourself this season and take advantage of Capital One 360’s Black Friday Sale on banking, brokerage and mortgage products. Come January, you will be happy you did it!
|ShareBuilder||Up to $1,250 bonus (tiered offer)||
|Home Loans||$1,250 off closing costs||
|360 Checking||$100 bonus||
|360 Savings||$100 bonus||
|Refer a Friend||$40 bonus per successful referral||
In addition to taking advantage of deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products yourself, you can give your friends and family the gift of financial peace of mind by encouraging them to take advantage of the deals and refer them to the sale. If they sign up, you may be eligible for a $40 referral bonus.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.