2 Simple Tips for Better Finances

class="size-medium

Growing up, my family did not have a lot of money. My parents immigrated to the USA so they could provide more opportunities for me and my sisters. I am eternally grateful for that.

My aunt was recently visiting and, having lived outside of this country herself, she was surprised that my sisters and I worked while we went to school. I explained to her that is how things are here. My sisters and I have had jobs since we were very young to pay for our own things since the money my parents made had to go to monthly bills, the mortgage, groceries and, you know, real life stuff.

While working so young and seeing my parents work so hard provided a sound work ethic, I can’t exactly say that it provided the type of money education I believe everyone needs. When I was in college, I worked at a bank and one of my customers owned his own business and used to make regular (large) deposits on a weekly basis. He said to me once, “Work hard for your money when you’re young so your money can work hard for you when you’re old.” That has always stuck with me. I’m still learning myself, but here are 2 simple tips that will carry you far. What are your thoughts on money?

1. Figure out your magic number – This may seem arbitrary or confusing, but try to figure out what you think you will need for your lifetime. There are tons of calculators online to figure out your budget, retirement, college savings for kids, etc. Dream big, but keep it real. When you know your magic number, aim for the target and adjust your spending/lifestyle accordingly.

2. Live poor now, so you can live rich later – I admit, I am a spender and love to spend money. And, it seems, whenever there is a raise or bonus involved, I’ve treated them as extra money to spend instead of save. However, now I try to control that. You can still live in your dream neighborhood, just get a smaller space. Buy a nice used car. Go thrifting for fabulous clothes and furnishings. Plan things in advance (though last-minute things can sometimes save you). There are tons of resources online for saving / budgeting.

I’ll be performing some financial experiments on the blog in the next few weeks. Feel free to follow along or join me :)

Frugal Fridays – One Inexpensive Item With Many Different Uses

download

Money — the subject matter that seems to be taboo most everywhere. I have lots of thoughts on money from saving to investing to debt to spending and so on. I think it’s a discussion that, much like depression and mental illness, should be ongoing and not shameful no matter what your situation is. While I’d like to touch on this subject further at a later time, I will say this for now, I’ve experienced economic lows and highs throughout my life and coming from an immigrant family, the value of a dollar is not lost on me. While I love to buy things, I also know the importance of saving — the recent recession has been a huge learning experience particularly.

On that note, how I spend my money and what I choose to spend it on can be as complicated as it is simple. There are times where I will spend time researching and times where I can be impulsive (hello Cake Batter Chapstick at the checkout counter that I had no intention on buying while I was at the store, but somehow found a need for despite the 100 tubes of lip balm I already have at home). Throughout the years, I’ve found items that have been real money-savers and I thought I would share one or a few now and then.

photo

Vinegar. This may not be new information to anyone, but you’d be surprised how often I sing the praises of vinegar and it’s multiple uses and people are like “Oh, I only use it for cooking. I had no idea.” So yes, besides using it in cooking, I use it to clean many different things and soften my laundry. I buy it in large jugs and a couple at a time because I use it so often. It is so economical and such a money-saver. You’re welcome. How about you? Are you a vinegar lover? Do you have any economical items that you use for multiple things? I’d love to know.