Are you bad with money? I am. That's why I was up to my eyeballs in debt. I've really had to learn how to have a good relationship with money. So today I wanted to share five tips for managing money when you're bad at managing money.
1. Know exactly how much money you make every month.
Now that sounds silly, right? That's just something you should know; like, "I make x number of dollars every month." But you'd be surprised at the number of people that do not know their annual income.
Have you ever listened to the Dave Ramsey Show where people call in and he's like, "What's your take-home pay?" and they're like, "Um, like, 45 maybe." No! Girl, you should know how much money you make. Look at your pay stub and multiply it by 12 or 52 or 48 or however often you get paid. Figure out how much money you make and know what you are working with every single month.
If you're operating on an irregular income, then you need to know at the lowest average that you make. So look at the last 12 months of pay stubs, or however you're paid, see what your lowest average was, and work with that.
2. Do at least 2 spending freezes a year.
I hate spending freezes. I hate them; I hate feeling restricted; I don't like it. However, I know they work. They work to show where your budget is leaking. They also work to help you save up extra money over the course of a month, to be less wasteful, and to re-evaluate your priorities.
Aim to do 2 a year. Like, do one in January; do one in September. You're good to go.
3. When it comes to saving for something big, save 20 percent more than you think you will need.
I call it The Rule of 20 Percent. Because no matter what happens, you're always going to need more than you thought you did. If it's a home improvement project, a medical bill, a car, or a vacation, save 20 percent more than you think you're going to need.
Budget 20 percent more than you think you're going to need. That way you have a buffer that you will probably use. If you don't, hey! You got extra money that you can put into savings or put towards something else.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for a cash discount -- or a discount, in general.
I have saved so much money in my life asking for a cash discount. My roof; my first baby (seriously, we got him 20 percent off of the hospital because I asked, like, "Hey, do you have a cash discount?"); I think, our upright freezer; some plumbing, our air conditioner (we saved $900 by paying cash up front).
So ask if there is a cash discount or if there's a loyalty discount. Or maybe you can negotiate a lower price.
Do you know you can negotiate to lower your bills? We did it with our phone and our internet. Check it out -- I made a video about it.
5. Do not give a crap.
It's amazing how much money you can save by just not caring what other people think of you -- by not feeling the need to keep up with people, or seek approval, or show people you care through gifts and how much you spend on things.
Not caring what other people think, not feeling that you have to keep up, not being afraid to say, "Oh, I'm sorry, that's not in our budget right now", "Oh, I'm sorry, that's not something I'm willing to spend money on" -- and not feeling nervous or embarrassed by that -- is so freeing. And you end up saving a lot of money in the long run.
So stop caring. Stop carrying around the weight of other people's expectations -- financial or otherwise. It is an amazing way to embrace freedom.