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Live within your means.
As I was sitting in a cafe this past weekend, sipping my hazelnut coffee (sweet and light of course) I couldn’t help but think about life and all the money tips I wish I learned much sooner. I’m sure you already know most of these tips, but it’s never too late to refresh your memory.
It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. –Seneca
Credit cards can be deadly, be careful.
If you are able to pay the full balance each month, have the opportunity to accumulate reward points and don’t have to pay interest, credit cards can be beneficial. But if you start to fall behind on payments, the interest will start to pile up. What started off as $1,000 Christmas shopping spree could turn into much more, especially if you are only paying the minimum balance each month.
If you are in high school, please don’t even think about a credit card, and in college, only if it’s absolutely necessary. I know you may have friends who are living these extravagant lifestyles, always traveling the world and eating at nice restaurants, but they may be swimming in debt and U.O.E.N.O! Be smart; if you don’t have the money to buy something, save for it.
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Pay more than the min. amount on your student loans.
If it seems like your loan balance isn’t moving it’s probably because you’re only pay the minimum amount. I wish I started paying more than the minimum amount much sooner. I learned a great tip from Tiffany The Budgetnista she recommends paying your student loans bi-weekly.
“Send half of your monthly loan payment every two weeks, rather than sending the full payment once a month. 26 half payments add up to 13 full payments per year instead of 12. Those extra payments decrease the life of your loan and the amount of interest you pay.” Read more here.
Want to Eliminate Debt Fast? Learn how in my new book The Debt Slaying Challenge, I talk about the strategies I used to help 10 people pay off $39,500 worth of debt in just 11 weeks. Get an online high-interest savings account.
Online bank accounts are great because they have higher interest rates than companies such as Bank of America or Citizens Bank. I also love my online bank account because I can have multiple saving accounts for free and give them nicknames.
For example if I’m saving for a vacation, or for Christmas gifts I can specifically create separate accounts just for these goals. It’s easier when you don’t have all your money lumped into one place. If you don’t already have one, Ally Bank or Capital One 360 would be a great place to start. I also love using digit, which automatically saves money for me without me even feeling it. It’s $2.99 a month but I’ve been able to save over $800 so far. I’ve used the savings from Digit to put towards my debt. Sign up for Digit today You can set up multiple saving accounts for each of your money goals for free.
Invest in an IRA the sooner the better
According to The Simple Dollar “An IRA, or Individual Retirement Account, is basically a savings account that has a lot of guidelines and restrictions. It’s the best way to invest your money to get upfront tax breaks or pay no taxes on your gains when you take your money out later in life.
While you do enjoy these tax breaks, you’ll incur a heavy tax penalty if you withdraw any funds from an IRA account before you’re 59.5 years old.” For more information on IRA’s you can learn more here.
Retirement can’t wait.
Whoever told you to wait until your 30s or 40s to start thinking about retirement has misguided you. Again, the sooner you start the better because you’ll have compound interest working in your favor. If you’re working for a company that offers you a match, take it. If you don’t, it’s like saying no to free money! If you switch jobs, don’t cash out your retirement. Rather, have it switched to your next job. Roth IRA is great to have as well.
Pay yourself first.
After you’ve paid your student loans, rent, car payments, and bought groceries, you probably won’t have much money left to save. The first bill you pay each month should be to yourself. Set aside a portion of your money to save. You can put this money into your retirement accounts, stocks, savings, or dream account (future business ventures, vacations, etc.).
You can start with a small amount and increase your savings over time. The easiest way to do this is to have it automatically taken out of your check each pay period.
Need help paying off you debt? I used these strategies during my debt challenge where I helped 10 people pay off $39,000 worth of debt in 11 weeks.