Featured,  Finance

5 Things You Can Do Now to Manage Your Finances Better

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The wind is howling outside, but I’m thankfully tucked away in my cozy kitchen corner with the heater blaring so I can withstand the frigid temperatures outside.

For those of you who don’t know I am originally from Southern California and currently live in Michigan so I absolutely NEED my cozy slippers and my snuggles from my Cocker Spaniel named Layla.

my puppy
My sweet cocker spaniel is always up for a cuddle.

So what does a warm house have to do with managing your finances?

Everything! 

Purchasing a home was one of the best financial decisions I’ve made in my life, besides marrying my best friend and business partner, Peter. And while home ownership may not be something on your radar, it was one of the financial goals I had ever since I was a little girl.

london
This is my hubby Pete and I on our recent trip to London and Paris! The travel was budget, but the experience was priceless!

So here are 5 things you can do now to help you with your finances.

  1. Envision your financial goals & write it down Do you want to retire by 30? Would you like to put your child through college? Perhaps you would like to afford a European vacation. Perhaps you would like to open a business, give more generously to charity, or help out a struggling family member. Consider and reflect how this would make you feel. Does that thought make you smile, feel calmer, or less stressed? Remind yourself of that feeling and what you envisioned when you are struggling to stay in your budget!
  2. Create and stick to a budget. Use one of my favorite budgeting website and app mint.com. Another popular tool is youneedabudget.com
  3. Check your credit scores online. Print and review your credit reports for free once a year with annualfreecreditreport.com which provides you with the report information from the three main credit bureaus. 
  4. Set aside 10% of your income for savings. Ideally, you should save between 3-6 months of salary. Having a hard time saving your money?  Many employers have an option to allow you to set up a direct deposit into two different accounts. If this is the case you can deposit a percentage or dollar amount to a savings account. Still not enough money? You can also set up a reoccurring transfer on your payday (if it is the same each month) to transfer immediately to your savings account.
  5. Pay down your debt with extra cash you receive. Grandma gave you a $20 for Christmas? Pay down your highest interest rate or lowest balance. Found a $10 in your unwashed sweater? Put more money towards your monthly student loan. Tax refund? You guessed it, put it towards your debt. 

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Don’t forget to download my free Budget Basics Journal!

You might think, this all sounds all fine and dandy, but Melody…I really don’t make that much money at all so how can I save?

holy pants
Well, this picture goes in the, “I can’t believe I’m actually sharing this with you pile.” Yes, that is me. And yes, there is something wrong with my pants. Let me for real when I say I could barely afford new clothes and buying pants that weren’t worn was out of the question!

I’m glad you asked that and truthfully I know how that can feel. At the height of the recession, I graduated with what some people consider a “useless degree” a theater arts major. I held down own part time job and biked to work every day because I didn’t have a car. My student loans were killing me! And the weight of that adult responsibility was crushing! If this gives you any indication of how poor I was–I was broke and living on tofu, rice, and beans and my student loan monthly bill was 2/3 of my monthly income.

theater major
This is me when I graduated in 2011 with a theater degree at the height of the economic recession and over $50k in student debt! My highest interest rate was over 14%!

So, how did I flip my situation and get to actually making money??

During my next blog, I’ll be rolling out how I utilized my strengths to land me a full time gig!

rock on
This is me at my orientation doing what I love. Instructional Design!

2 Comments

  • Rachel

    great post. When it comes to paying down loans, you really have to be intentional and sink all your excess cash into paying it off. I paid off two cars with my tax refund and some other funds and it felt soooo good.