This is a guest post from my friend Parish. He isn’t a blogger, but gives me lots of good advice. Allow me to share some of that with you.
Whether you’re a guy in school, a bachelor living ‘La Vida Loca’, a family man or anything in between – saving is something we probably think about in abstract terms. In other words, as we buy that fishing rod (new stereo, season tickets, Mustang…), a small voice may wonder how we are going to afford this. My voice goes further and thinks about not only the short term, but the long term implications…if yours doesn’t, listen harder.
No matter what your situation, there are simple things you may need to do and consider. Note that I said simple, not easy. Worthwhile change is never easy, so don’t expect miracles and compact, happy endings…that only happens on TV.
Ask yourself – can I afford my current lifestyle on my current salary? If you can happily answer ‘Yes’, ask if you could afford your current lifestyle after being out of work for 6 months? Sadly, this is the reality of our current economy. I personally believe that (when possible) everyone should have enough ’emergency money’ put away to pay their bills for three months.
Also think about what and where you ‘waste’ your money, but understand that what may be extravagant for one person may be a necessity for another. Example: Some people have the most expensive DSL connections in their home, when all they do is occasionally check their email. Others work from home and need constant connectivity to the Internet. Look at your own situation and be honest with yourself.
Knowing what to do is one thing. Actually doing it is something completely different. We watch the commercials about comparing life insurance, nod our heads and switch the channel. We read about ways to lower interest rates on our credit cards and turn the page. Knowledge is great – but not acting upon knowledge is a killer to your budget (and health and life, but those are other articles).
About once every few months, I call my cable provider and ask if there are any promotions that they can add to my service that will bring my bill down. Most times, the answer is Yes. Taking time to take stock of all the things you pay/own/lease can not only save you money, but help you to keep things under control and not be overwhelmed.
Home economics is barely taught these days. Most people have no clue what’s going on with their own finances. Savings for today and tomorrow is almost a dirty word in most of our society. Many industries prey on ignorance to make tons of money off of you. *cough*advertisingandcreditcards*cough*
The only way to understand what is happening to your money is to learn how to take care of it – and understand who wants it and how to keep it. If you are reading this blog, you are on the right path – just keep learning…and applying what you learn.
Do things that make you happy. Sometimes you’ll spend money, but learn to balance things out. For every time you take your date to dinner, cook dinner at home for her. (Guys – if you learn to cook 2 appetizers, 2 entrees and 2 desserts well, you’ll never stop thanking me.) Find out when the most inexpensive time is to go to the movies – a place here has $6.00 features before noon. Balance the big nights out with inexpensive stuff…
Finally, remember that doing something is better than doing nothing, Go at your own pace, but just go.