Spring Cleaning Budget Tips – Give Your Budget A Spring Makeover!

Whether you are a budget beginner or you have been living on a budget for years, these simple spring cleaning tips for your budget can make a HUGE difference for your finances! Don’t let your family suffer because you didn’t use this opportunity to plan and maintain your budget for the upcoming spring/summer. Check out all these great budget tips, most are super simple and quick!

Happy Spring!

Whether it is still snowing in your neck of the woods or the flowers are blooming and the birds are chirping…it is now officially SPRING weather you like it or not (see what I did there? I can be very pun-ny ;) ).

This is a great time to sit down with your budget and give it a little makeover!

Don’t currently have a budget? Be sure to start here to learn how to create a budget.

Here are some tips for giving your budget a bit of a spring cleaning: 

Start Preparing for Summer Expenses: 

I don’t know about you, but our bills tend to go UP during the summer. For one, the kids are home more. Which means all of a sudden, they think they need 2nd breakfast every day and 35-36 snacks a day. As a result, we do try to accommodate for a slightly higher grocery bill during the summer.

In addition, if you live in a warm (or HOT) climate, like I do…you will see an increase in your electricity bill due to your air conditioner running 24/7. In some climates, your heating/cooling even each other out, but here in Texas we pay MUCH less to heat our homes than we do to cool them. This bill will double or triple sometimes in the heat of summer!

If you know your children always participate in summer swim team, travel baseball/softball, etc during the summer, it’s time to start budgeting for those expenses. Don’t just think registration fees, also think about gear, clothing, possible hotel stays, etc.

Action Tip: Consider adding a “Summer Bill Increase Expense” line item to your budget. 

Set Aside Funds for Spring Cleaning: 

Ugh, who wants to spring clean? I know at least a few of you are excited about this. Not me, but a few of YOU are. First off, I have a great spring cleaning series right here on FFF. You can follow along and break your spring cleaning down into manageable chunks!

With spring cleaning will inevitably come some extra expenses:

Cleaning Supplies: Some dollar store supplies are amazing (READ: What To Buy/What Not To Buy at the Dollar Store)!

No need to spend a ton for pricey items when you can pay $1 for a huge bottle of awesome glass cleaner that works just as well! Also, consider using natural household items for cleaning. Plain white distilled vinegar mixed with water can clean mirrors, floors, windows, etc. (you can get the spray bottle at the dollar store)

If you SWEAR by a certain brand name (I am snobby about the toilet cleaner I like personally), check out Amazon’s Subscribe & Save! Read this post for more details on how to save BIG using Amazon’s Subscribe & Save. 

Other Supplies: You might also use this time to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors, swap out your AC filters, plant a vegetable garden in your backyard, etc. Set realistic spending goals because these little items can add up and create a large dent in your budget if you are not prepared!

Action Tip: Consider adding a Spring Cleaning line item to your budget

Begin Funding a Summer Fun/Entertainment/Vacation Sinking Fund: 

Planning on going on vacation this summer (Read: How To Travel On A Budget!) ?

Most likely at this point, you have already started saving if you are planning to go on a BIG vacation. However, maybe you want to do a few road trips? Or have a staycation and enjoy your city (I live in Houston and there is SO much to do here!). Either way, now is a great time to start a sinking fund to plan for all those extra hours you have to entertain your children and to fulfill all those summer bucket list expectations!

For more details on setting up a sinking fund, click here. 

Action Tip: Consider adding a “Summer Fun” line item to your budget

Audit Your Current Budget for Excess: 

This has nothing to do with spring other than some people view spring as a fresh start. Sit down and audit your budget to see if it is still working for you and your family!

I have a great post here for where to find excess or flaws in your budget.

Action Tip: Consider DELETING some line items from your budget if possible! 

Do a Closet Audit for Everyone In Your Family: 

If you have children, especially young children…you already know about this. Maybe you have already had your first warm weather day. You pulled out last year’s shorts and realized that your 7 year old probably shouldn’t wear those Daisy Dukes to school this year.

It’s time to get into the closets and see what fits, what doesn’t, what can be passed down or donated and what just needs to be trashed (or you can thank it for it’s service if that’s your jam? ).

Now, I am a HUGE fan of thrift, resale and consignment shopping. I find SUCH great deals on items for both of my children (and sometimes even for myself) at the thrift store! Often I find new with tags items at the local Goodwill! In fact, I think I brag about this so much that eventually I am going to have too much competition from local friends at my local stores.

Here is a post all about shopping at thrift stores if you want to learn how to get the most bang for your buck.

Action Tip: Consider adding a spring clothing line item to your budget

Finally, take a moment to smell the flowers, to plan an outdoor picnic and to just enjoy the moment. We are already in season #2 of this year and it is amazing how fast life passes us by. Don’t let financial woes keep you from the joy of life!

If you need more help creating a budget or learning to save, be sure to check through my frugal living posts here on FFF. You can live a joy filled life on a budget!

Why You Need To Start Working On Your Christmas Budget Now

Whether you are on a tight budget, barely making it paycheck to paycheck, or comfortably setting aside a chunk of change into a robust savings account each week, it’s time to start thinking about your Christmas budget! Have a more joyful and stress free Christmas season by getting organized for Christmas NOW in 5 easy steps! 

It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is closer than you think.

If you are like me, I like to take life one day and one HOLIDAY at a time.

However, this can be short sighted when it comes to BIG holidays like Christmas. Preparation and good financial planning is important to truly enjoy these holidays that often come with a big price tag.

A well thought out Christmas Budget can make a HUGE difference in your enjoyment of the most wonderful time of the year.

Here are a few things you can do NOW to make your Christmas season a bit more stress free!

Christmas Budget Tip #1: Decide What Your Realistic Christmas Budget Will Be

What can you afford? This will involve you sitting down with whoever else is involved in the financial decisions in your household and having a conversation about what is realistic. Do you already have money set aside?

Do you need to start saving? What is a reasonable amount to save each week? Do you need to cut something that you aren’t really using anyways?

Some banks and credit unions offer special Christmas accounts that automatically take a set amount of money from your bank account each month and set it aside for you. This can be an awesome way to make adding to your Christmas Budget a bit less stressful!

Christmas Budget Tip #2: Write Up A List of Who You Need To Buy For

Who are you buying for this year? It’s time to make a list of alllll your loved ones and decide who is getting a gift from you this year.

In addition, don’t forget teachers, extra tips for hairstylists, etc.

Basically, if you even *think* you will spend more money on this person than you ordinarily would the rest of the year, include them on this list.

Christmas Budget Tip #3: Decide How Much You Will Spend Per Person

Now it’s time to decide how much you want to spend on each individual. It might be a good idea to write down your ideal next to everybody’s name and then work backwards. After you have all of the dollar amounts written down, compare that to the number you worked out in step 1.

It it’s equal to, or less than, your set budget…great job!

If it’s more than your set Christmas budget, you have a few options. First option is to go back and start decreasing the amounts you will spend on each person.

You other option is to see tip #4!

Christmas Budget Tip #4: Do You Need To Make Extra Money?

Maybe you only need a bit more money to hit your Christmas budget! Or maybe, you realized on your current income, you can’t afford Christmas gifts at all!

I encourage you to check out the following posts to learn how you can make OR find more money to add to your Christmas Budget:

Baby Clothes: How To Save Money and How To Make Money
10 Ways to Make Living On One Income Easier
WMFW: Small Trickles Make A Stream (Make Money Online)
How to Shop a Thrift Store
How to Start a (Money Making) Mom Blog
10 Tips For Learning How to Use Coupons

Christmas Budget Tip #5 Start Shopping

Start shopping right away!

I post deals ALL YEAR LONG. I highly encourage you to create a gift closet! If you periodically stock your gift closet all year long, not only will it help you at Christmas time, but it can also help you with birthday parties, housewarming parties, baby showers, etc!

If you have specific ideas for what you want to get each person, be sure to join my Family Friendly Frugality facebook group to keep up with the deals I post each day. You can also email me directly to let me know what you are looking for a deal on!

The 5 Biggest Budgeting Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them!)

Do you ever make big mistakes managing your money? Read this post to avoid making these budget mistakes! Stop living paycheck to paycheck. These are the 5 BIGGEST Budget mistakes and tips that you might be making. If you are still struggling with living paycheck to paycheck (or just are not saving as much money as you think you should be), you’ll want to read this post to learn how to STOP making these budget mistakes!

Do you have a budget? You should! (Here’s why you should and how to  create one).

Maybe you have a budget but your budget and your reality don’t always sync up. Basically, your budget is your best laid plans and your reality is that your budget is just a bit of busy work that gets thrown out the window each month the moment you walk away! I feel like this sometimes. Like we spend all this time on our budget. Doing the dirty work, having the discussions, only to discard all of that effort on a whim.

Here are some reasons your budget might not be working for you:

Budget Mistake #1: You are not being realistic

Look, it would be GREAT if you could feed your family of 6 for $75 a week. That would be amazing! Just because it can be done (although I’d argue it shouldn’t be done longterm unless you have a rocking garden!) doesn’t mean you are doing it.

Let’s be honest about your shopping habits. Have you EVER walked out of your local grocery store spending less than $150 a week?

No?

Then budget $150 a week.

If you spend only $75, perfect! Throw that money into savings!

Let’s be realistic though. Don’t create a budget where you pretend you won’t need new clothing a few times a year.

Budget for clothes.

Budget for entertainment.

Budget for EVERYTHING.

Be realistic. Don’t back yourself into a corner where breaking up with your budget is really the only realistic option to continue to live your life. Even Dave Ramsey suggests everyone sets aside some “blow money” if you can manage it!

Budget Mistake #2: Not staying vigilant

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…you have to be vigilant. You HAVE to keep revisiting your budget! Talking about it. Tweaking it. Keeping great records. Categorizing new expenses. Looking at it, period!

Budget Mistake #3: Not negotiating lower rates

Every year, certain companies love to jack up rates. They can do this because a huge percentage of people just accept it and pay the higher rate.

Don’t do this!

Your electric company raises rates? Call and request to go down to a lower rate. Shop around. Threaten to leave them, and actually LEAVE if you can find a better deal elsewhere! Don’t get stuck feeling like you are chained to your bills as if they are stagnate balls and chains. You have your non negotiables, but everything else is up for discussion.

Keep track of your rates in your budget planner and be sure to keep it updated so when you hear about a special, you can just take a quick glance at what you are currently paying. Here are some highly rated budget planners if you don’t already have one:

Budget Mistake #4: Not sticking to budgeted amounts

This plays into not being realistic. However, sometimes your numbers ARE realistic, you just aren’t sticking to them. Look, if you want to spend more money on clothes, and you are already budgeting a realistic amount each month to spend, then you either need to get another job, or start shopping at cheaper stores.

If you  budget to a $0 balance, straying from a budget amount means you are robbing another category of funds. Which basically throws everything off!

Budget Mistake #5: Not viewing the budget as a living breathing revolving set of guidelines

This seems kind of redundant. This falls a bit under vigilance and being realistic. Realistically, you have to remain vigilant so you can see when your budget needs revamping.

It WILL happen.

Your bills will go up, normal inflation, someone will lose a job, someone will get a raise, you will use a large chunk of your emergency fund. The budget is not stagnate and you need to understand that!

Once you do, the weekly/monthly discussions will be easier because you’ll have a more open mind about adjusting things where necessary.

Have you fallen into any of these budgeting mistake traps? Comment below!

Create a Budget: Staying Vigilant and Diligent

This is one of the most important but overlooked budget tips. You MUST stay on top of your budget at all times! Living on a budget does not mean that your money is set in stone. Your monthly bills will flucuate all the time! The ONLY way to stay on top of your budget is to have regular budget meetings. Read this post to learn how to stay on top of your budget. Don’t make this huge budgeting mistake! #budget #budgetbeginner #beginner #budgetideas #budgetmeeting #familymeetings

Okay, this is my least favorite step. Probably because it’s where the rubber meets the road. I’m great at big talk, but not so great at sticking to the implementation of things.

This is SO necessary though and it will make or break your budgeting success. You HAVE to look at your budget often. You HAVE to be willing to reevaluate as often as possible. You HAVE to keep good detailed records. The longer you put off looking at your spending/budget, the more out of control it will become.

At LEAST once a month, sit down (if you are married, sit down with your spouse!) and go over things.

Wow, looks like we spent a lot on groceries this month. Why? Oh, we had our yearly neighborhood BBQ! Well, that’s a yearly expense, we need to work that into our budget. Oh look, we spent a LOT on clothes this month. Let’s be sure we hold off on spending anymore next month unless absolutely necessary.

Have I told y’all how much I hate this step? Having these money discussions can be uncomfortable. They demand accountability for your spending actions. As a natural spender constantly fighting to be a “natural” at being frugal, sometimes this is an ugly ugly reality check for me.

Sometimes I find that I need to read something inspiring to get me in the mood to tackle our finances. Here are some of my favorite financial/budgeting books:

You also want to sit down and have a discussion if something big changes. Insurance goes up, you buy a new car, you bring a new pet into the home, you get a raise (yey!), someone stops working, someone starts working, etc.

During these meetings, you can also check in on your savings. How is your emergency fund doing? Are you getting closer to your goal of fully funding it? Is it already full funded? Does it need to be replenished? Are you saving for a vacation? Is there anything you can cut to save more aggressively?

Having these conversations on a regular basis can take the sting out of them! Set aside time for budget meetings and make sure they actually happen. Control your money, life is too short to let it control you.

Step 1: Decide Your Non Negotiables

Step 2: Write Down All Your Monthly/Yearly Expenses and Prioritize them

Step 3: Starting from the top, create your budget

Step 4: Revisit your budget often. At least once a month, more if your situation changes.

Create a Budget: Using Your Prioritized Bills List To Begin Your Budget

In our previous step, you should have calculated your net income and created a list of prioritized bills separated by category.

Now it is time to start paying your bills!

Here’s where I am going to be kind of purposefully vague.

How you budget for your bills (weekly,monthly,yearly) is going to depend on your consistency of income. Ideally you will figure out your yearly expenses in each category and divide those up over 52 weeks. Then you can create a savings account (Read more about sinking funds here) and set aside the money every single week so that when it’s time to pay your property taxes/insurance/other yearly fees, you have been saving for that bill all year long.

However, this might not be realistic for some of you who earn money on commission or who have seasonal work. So you will need to figure out how you are going to do things and create your budget based on your particular circumstances.

Everyone is going to start from the top of their list and work their way down.

Sadly, you might find that you can’t make it to the bottom of your list! This means that your expenses are too high for your income and it’s time to cut things out (or get another job). You have already prioritized your expenses, so this should be simple (although it could be emotionally difficult), you just start cutting things out from the bottom and working your way up.

You might delightfully realize you DO have money left. This can go into savings! You can use this to start a vacation fund. Or a home improvement fund. If your bills are paid and you have money leftover, you SHOULD be saving this money if you have tallied up all of your expenses correctly.

Create your budget to balance at $0 after all bills are paid. This means YOU are in control of where every penny of your spending goes. Not a penny that comes in isn’t in a designated spot in your budget. Congratulations!

Onto the last step of budgeting!

Step 1: Decide Your Non Negotiables

Step 2: Write Down All Your Monthly/Yearly Expenses and Prioritize them

Step 3: Starting from the top, create your budget

Step 4: Revisit your budget often. At least once a month, more if your situation changes.

Create A Budget: Make a Prioritized List of All Expenses

Now that we have a list of our non negotiables, and we know why we need to budget, it’s time to figure out how much you are actually bringing in each month!

To do this, you will calculate your take home pay on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis. If your work is commission based, try looking at the past few years and figuring out your average. This is NOT your gross income.

In addition to taxes/insurances/etc that already come out of your check, you will also subtract your non negotiables from your gross income.

After you have your net income number, it’s time to write out ALL of your bills. Look at a year’s worth of bills. This is the most time consuming part of this process and can be difficult if you haven’t kept good records.

In addition to your electric bill, you’ll also want to see how much you spend on clothes. How much are the kids school supplies each year? How much is the homeowners association fee? Once a year, do you pay for someone to pressure wash your sidewalk? Trim your trees? End of year teacher gifts? Every single bit of data you have on your previous spending needs to be extrapolated and categorized into a spreadsheet or just plain old pen and paper.

Once you have all of this info, it’s time to build your categories. Some common categories are:

  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Taxes and other home fees
  • Home maintenance
  • School fees
  • Extracurricular fees
  • Clothing expenses
  • Gift expenses
  • Groceries
  • Gas
  • Car Insurance/Payment/Maintenance
  • Etc

This list will likely be LONG! The more well established you are in life, the longer this will be. At this point, you might go ahead and start making some calls. See if you can negotiate a cheaper electricity rate. See if your cable can be bundled differently or you can drop some channels to make your package cheaper. Do whatever you can to decrease your overall bills without taking any drastic measures at this point.

Now it’s time to prioritize your bills! Obviously some of those bills are more necessary than others. Rent/mortgage should come well before your cable bill. Literally, prioritize these bills in numerical order. Starting at 1 and going all the way down the list from most necessary to least necessary.

Don’t compare this to your net income yet. That will encourage you to be unrealistic about these numbers! If you don’t have the amount you spent on clothing this year, overestimate what you think you might have. If you haven’t kept track of all the various fees/buyouts/costumes/etc you have had to pay for your children’s extracurricular activities this year, make an educated guess and overestimate if possible. Include in this list money you spend on entertainment, on relaxation, make up, golfing, going to movies, treating friends to lunch, etc. Get as ridiculously detailed as you can.

Next step, we’re going to pay these bills!

Step 1: Decide Your Non Negotiables

Step 2: Write Down All Your Monthly/Yearly Expenses and Prioritize them

Step 3: Starting from the top, create your budget

Step 4: Revisit your budget often. At least once a month, more if your situation changes.

Create a Budget – What Are Your Non Negotiables?

You have decided to create a budget! That’s great! Maybe you are sick of having more month than money. Maybe you are living comfortably, but you know that you could be doing better. Maybe you are doing quite well, but you want to start saving more aggressively. Regardless of why you are creating/revamping your budget, we all need to start in the same place.

Figure out what your non negotiables are.

First off, let me be clear…these typically are NOT your bills. I know you need to live somewhere. I know you need to eat. However, this does not include your grocery bill or your mortgage.

I’m going to argue that this only includes the following items (if they pertain to you):

1.      Tithing

2.      Saving for or replenishing your emergency fund (3-6 months of expenses)

3.      Taxes if you are self employed

4.      Retirement

5.      Health insurance (to a point…if you get the best rate through your employer, otherwise this would be a bill that you could possibly find a lower rate on)

The reasons these are non negotiable in my opinion is because they are too important to be missed and they are not items that can be changed to accommodate other expenses. Whether you want to or not, you can likely move to get a lower mortgage payment. You can negotiate a cheaper rate for your electricity (or once again, move to a smaller home to pay less in electricity).

Almost every bill you have CAN be decreased if it needs to be. If you belong to a religion that tithes however, your giving is usually set at a certain percentage rate of your income. Your emergency fund can/will vary based on what your current expenses are, but without an emergency fund, you are always going to be one emergency away from complete disaster. Taxes are a necessity and while they can go down based on your deductions, you will never stop paying taxes on the money you earn. Retirement is essential because you can’t count on your health, wealth or circumstances further down the line.

Everything else can be negotiated, sold, discarded, and/or deducted.

What are your non negotiables?

Go on to Step 2.

Step 1: Decide Your Non Negotiables

Step 2: Write Down All Your Monthly/Yearly Expenses and Prioritize them

Step 3: Starting from the top, create your budget

Step 4: Revisit your budget often. At least once a month, more if your situation changes.

How and Why You Need to Create a Budget

When You Create a Budget = Financial Freedom!

Serious question…do you have a budget? You better! Whether you are living comfortably or barely scraping by paycheck to paycheck, you need a budget. Why? You should always control your money, your money should  never control you. Read this post to learn how to create a budget and why it just might be your ticket to financial freedom! #financialfreedom #budget #onabudget #savemoney #budgettips #budgetforbegginers

Whether you are living comfortably or barely scraping by paycheck to paycheck, you need a budget.

Why?

You should always control your money, your money should  never control you. In fact, I would argue that the more money you make, the more important it is to have a detailed budget!

It’s too easy to throw money out the window when you aren’t being careful and purposeful about every single penny.

I know a lot of people feel like a budget is stifling.

I know this, because I am one of those people!

If I thought I could stay on top of my finances without a budget in place, I’d drop that B word like a hot potato.

It’s frustrating, it causes arguments between me and my husband and it’s just draining to have to sit down and talk about money on a regular basis.

people might love it, but I seriously hate it.

I think part of the frustration is that it is a constant reality check.

When you keep a detailed budget, it’s a way of shining a light on the gap between what you say your priorities are and what they really are. Your spending doesn’t lie!

This can be ugly on months when you don’t have enough money left to contribute to a worthy cause, and you see that it’s because you have been spending way too much on clothes or eating out.

When you want to sign your kids up for a fun camp, but realize you have been buying new clothes far too much to justify the tuition fee.

Ouch.

This is why budgeting is important, but constantly assessing and discussing your budget is non negotiable.

You can’t just sit down and hash out a budget in an hour and expect that budget to maintain you and your family from here on out. It’s a constant task, but once you do the initial legwork in setting it up, not an insurmountable one.

Never set up a budget before? Maybe you have, but think you could do better? Click the steps below to learn how to set up a budget:

Step 1: Decide Your Non Negotiables

Step 2: Write Down All Your Monthly/Yearly Expenses and Prioritize them

Step 3: Starting from the top, create your budget

Step 4: Revisit your budget often. At least once a month, more if your situation changes.

Now you have your budget! This is a living breathing budget that will constantly need to be revisited, discussed and possibly reworked on a regular basis.

Keep on top of your budget and your money will never control you again.

5 Important Financial Tips for Beginners

5 Important Financial Tips for Beginners

Are you a budget beginner? Here are 5 financial tips for beginners, or really, for anyone who is trying to learn how to budget, how to save money and most importantly, how to live their fullest life within the confines of their take home income! Helpful for grads, the newly married, or the family who just needs to start learning how to budget!

Are you a budget beginner? Maybe you are fresh out of college and just started a real “grown up” job?

Maybe you are newly married and what worked as a single person is NOT working as a couple financially.

Or maybe, you are already well established, but you have never really buckled down and kept track of your finances…

First off, good for you for starting off with a frugal mindset! It took me a LOOONG time to get here.

Secondly, I am by no means an expert. As I have said many many times…I started this blog because we were STRUGGLING. We still have times of struggle.

Frugality is not something that comes naturally around here. I’m envious of people who get a kick out of diverting 75% of their income to their savings account every month. To me that would be complete torture.

That said, I’ve learned a few things over the past 10+ years of “adulting” and I’d say these are the 5 things I WISH I could go back and tell 18 year old Heather.

Financial Tips for Beginners: 

Automate your savings – My church has a saying, “Automate the important”. This is in reference to tithing, but I also think it’s important to automate your savings as well.

The rule of thumb is to build up your “emergency fund” to $1000 (Dave Ramsey) and then from there work on 3-6 months of living expenses and then finally a year’s worth of living expenses.

You will thank yourself for taking care of this early on in life. This doesn’t mean it won’t be an ongoing process (after all, it’s an emergency fund…you will likely have many emergencies in life!

Not to mention, as your income goes up and you get married, have children, etc…your living expenses will also increase), but you can start working towards these goals as soon as you receive your very first paycheck!

Most banks/credit unions offer linked checking/savings accounts and allow you to automate transfers between the two.

Surround yourself with fiscally like minded people – This isn’t to say you can’t be friends with people who have more money than you (or just SPEND more money than you), but be wary of following in their lead.

I personally got into trouble with this a lot. Many of my friends were still receiving  money from their parents after we graduated and were able to go to concerts, out to clubs, etc without blinking an eye.

I was supporting myself and it was hard to keep up.

Find other friends trying to be financially responsible and make it fun! Find free things to do in your city, cook together and go thrift shopping!

Create a budget – The most important thing you’ll ever teach yourself is how to stick to a budget. I’m telling you, even today this is something I struggle with!

You have your savings, and your bills, and your charitable giving and…then maybe some fun? It can be difficult to prioritize what is fun over what keeps a roof over your head. It’s hard for EVERYONE.

This is why you need to budget! Please, please be realistic about your budget as well. Incorporate an entertainment and clothing line item. You will shop and you will go to the movies. Do it guilt free by working it into  your budget!

Live below your means – Notice I didn’t say to live withIN your means. Nope. Live below your means. This is SO hard. If you start off this way though, your lifestyle can improve with every elevation in job status and every performance raise.

You aren’t destined to Ramen noodles for the rest of your life.

If you start off with a Lexus car payment though (even if you “can” afford it), it’s REAL hard to drop down to Ford budget. Don’t try to live like the Jones’s. They’re broke and in debt.

Make sure you understand credit, whether you use it or not – I got my very first credit card when I was 18. I charged that baby up and then stared at the bill in shock when it came.

I had NO idea how interest was calculated. I had NO idea what interest rate I had even agreed to when I signed up for the card. The bill was like reading a foreign language and I remember very vividly setting it aside and NOT paying it because I was overwhelmed (I eventually paid it. Late.).

Clueless.

I was completely clueless and my credit got away from me VERY quickly. It’s a sinking ship. Promise me you will know everything about credit cards before you ever sign up for one?

Promise me?

BONUS: Read and educate yourself about financial matters. You might be young, but that’s the best time to start planning for retirement, saving for college for your children, etc. A few books that come highly recommended for graduates:
Amazon.com Widgets

Finally…this is an ongoing process. Financial education NEVER ends. Those 5 tips up there? Still struggles for me. All of it.

Financial responsibility (like math, and science and cleaning) does not come naturally to me. I constantly have to work at it and I constantly make mistakes. I love saving a buck or two, but boy do I love spending three!

It doesn’t matter though. Even the rich have to budget their money and even the rich have to have an emergency fund. The gist of this is that it never ends. The sooner you embrace it, educate yourself on it and LIVE it…the happier and fuller and RICHER your life will be!

Do you have any tips for beginners? Comment below! 

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