Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Money Matters.

Today this teacher feels like she's got everything she needs and whole lot more.

I know it won't always feel like this, because it certainly has NOT always felt like this, and I know tighter times will be upon us soon (especially if the state decides to cut teacher salaries in the next couple of months), but I feel very fortunate today with my family's financial situation.  And I'd be remiss in not mentioning both my family and my husband's family who have helped us out financially in numerous ways, and are much of the reason we find ourselves in our current state of financial comfort.

Having said that, I think there are a few reasons we find ourselves with a few extra dollars in the bank account this month.  And here are some things that will probably work for you too, no matter what your monthly income is.

1) Refuse to pay retail for anything.

From phones to cars to clothes to vacations, there are SO many ways to get a better deal than the first price you see. The internet is your absolute very best friend for finding better deals. For me, paying retail equals wasting tons of money I could be spending on things like pedicures and massages.

2) Budget furiously and consistently.

Know your income and know how much your monthly expenditures are. In the beginning, budget for EVERYTHING- eating out, movies, and let's be honest, liquor. And when you're out of money in that category, then you're just out of money! Guess it'll be a card game kinda weekend! If your income changes or your monthly expenditures change, re-budget. Easy as that.  Good 'ol pen & paper planning. Write out your categories and distribute the dollars accordingly.

3) Know your credit score and keep it high.

Lots of different factors affect your credit score. The main things people do to get LOW credit scores are not paying bills on time and carrying too high a balance on credit cards. Your budget will help you pay your bills and pay them on time. Your budget will also help you eliminate the need to use credit cards, as you'll be paying cash for everything. You can even put extra money toward paying off your credit card balances in your budget.  And wah LAH! You'll have a higher credit score in no time. And we all know the key to getting nicer things for less money, like nice houses and cars, is to keep your credit clean.

In my early twenties my financial situation was dismal. And when we got married, even though I'd worked very hard to restore my own credit, my husband's personal financial situation left a LOT to be desired. But in about a year or so, after teaching him the art of budgeting, he was back on his feet and we had a much brighter financial outlook as a couple. So if you're in a bad place, it's possible to recover. You just have to be committed to doing it.