I, like many twenty-somethings, have always struggled with budgeting. It seems like there is always a perfect purse, a new restaurant, a happy hour, or a new costly adventure – and I am only semi-embarrassed to admit that I typically fall prey to it. Or if I am being honest, I usually come up with a perfectly acceptable rationalization about how I completely deserve that drink/outing/bag/etc because of what a long week/day/life it has been.
Regardless, I have recently realized- after a particularly painful round of bills- that I need to get this whole budget thing under control. So I went to the source of financial wisdom in my life, my dad.
Here are his 5 tips:
1. Know how much is in your account – spend less than that.
At first I thought – really? This is your advice? But – the more I think about it the more I like it. It’s true, if I always spend less than what is in my bank about I will never have a budget issue. Unless something goes horribly wrong – like when my car was recently stolen. However, the fact remains – this just about as fool proof as it gets.
2. Never buy anything you can’t pay off at the end of the month. If you do buy something you can’t pay off at the end of the month, make sure you pay the minimum. If you can pay more than the minimum, do.
Carrying debt is a sad reality for most, but if you can avoid it, please do. Endeavor to never have a late or missed payment. If you have a little extra that month your bills are a worthwhile investment.
3. Make a grocery list and stick to it.
Who doesn’t head to the grocery store hungry, pile things into the cart, and scratch their head and say “WHAT THE HELL?!” when checking out? Don’t do it. If you are starving before it’s time to grocery shop eat a small snack, your wallet will thank you.
4. Just because it’s a sale – doesn’t mean it’s a deal.
I love a sale as much as the next girl. Dresses, skirts, Anthropologie home goods, booties – you name it, if it’s on sale I am interested. Plus, sometimes the sale is so good I feel like I’m actually saving money… That being said, I should rein it in. So should you – the last point will solidify this for you.
5. If you want to buy it, think about how many hours of your life it costs- Is it still worth it?
This may have permanently changed my shopping habits.