Thursday, July 8, 2010

Financial lessons

As everyone should know (and if you don't, I would love to come live in your hole) the economy is not at its best.  Due to mortgages given out when they shouldn't have, extremely high credit card debt, etc., we are now in a recession.  And have been for some time.  A dear friend of mine and I are in the same "financial crisis" at the moment and we both realize that we should have been doing a much better job at managing our money when we had it.  To quote, "If I had known, I would have bought a whole lot less and saved a whole lot more."

I think many of us feel the same way.

In response to this, I have been learning how to better manage my money while I am unemployed.  I call it  self-improvement self-employment.  Using resources from my dad (that I neglected until it was too late) and a free online Quicken program called Mint, I am learning how to obtain a better hold on my finances so when I do have money, I'll know what to do with it.  And I felt I should share the wealth.

If you're new to responsibly dealing with your finances, I suggest reading "Personal Finance in Your 20s and 30s.  My dad gave me this book as a financial resource and at first I skimmed through, thinking I already knew what it had to tell me.  Wrong.  It has all the information you want to know about any and every bit of finances, from creating a budget to how much you should paying for rent to how and when you should buy a car.

I also encourage everyone to look into  It's an incredible budgeting tool that allows you to upload all your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, etc. so you know are aware of how much money you have and where it's all going.  Set up your monthly budget right down to the socks you're buying and away you go.  You end up having to see how far in debt you are as well so it does a great job using scare tactics to keep you from spending.

One of my favorite tools is the Goal tool.  You set a monetary goal for a vacation, getting out of debt, wedding plans or anything else you could think of.  State the specific date you want the money by and it shows you how much you need to save per month.  Not only that but you can connect this goal with a bank account to track how you're doing.

While there are times when there isn't much we can do to fix the current financial situation, there are at least opportunities to figure out what to do better next time.  I'm taking this opportunity and showing it who's boss.


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