While I was helping out a coworker with a project, I began flipping through random pages of personal finance articles I found in publications such as Black Enterprise, Ebony, The Next Step Magazines and even online at Yahoo! Finance. I completely forgot how much of I nerd I am about this stuff.
Experts say that the Great Recession might be coming to an end, but I don't plan on holding my breath anytime soon, especially since it's costing me. Everything from gas to cheese to clothes and health insurance plans seem to be going up, except the cost of living. College graduates have decided to stay home alittle longer with their parents until they can themselves together beyond the college debt, and even young adults who previously moved out of mom and dad's house are back in the nest again. Aside from reduced income and living within one's means, what more can we do?
What about those in the position of barely getting by but according to papers and numbers, they don't qualify for public assistance? People are upset and angry because the system is failing and they feel they are being cheated. The ones who claim that hard work and following the rules helped them get to the top keep telling the suffering ones that. People are dying on the job and still can't afford their own funerals. [Sorry for the sidetrack digression; sad but true.]
Financial literacy is more important now than ever. Credit cards, school loans, and overdraft go unnoticed by the young (sometimes older) and the reckless. It's surprising how the little things you keep track of can make a big difference in your spending habits. IRA's, wills, and trusts are a whole nother thing I'm still coming into knowledge of (and I've been a banker for over a year now, go figure) but like I said, let's start with the basics.
- Keep track of everything that you spend whether it's on card or cash
- Implement the NEED vs GREED analogy (do you need this product or do you just want it)
- Shop around for checking, savings, and CD accounts. See which ones earn you the most interest
- READ THE FINEPRINT!!! Battles over overdraft fees and hidden prices are no fun. If you have to ask for a list of service fee charges, do it!
- If you want a credit card, one is enough. Use it for emergencies only and keep the balance low. I learned this the hard way...
- Talk to a parent, guardian, teacher, professor, finance advisor, or someone who know how to handle money.
- Don't diss the bargains; Kraft Macaroni & Cheese tastes just as good as the generic brands...just add a little garlic pepper.
As a matter of fact, some banks and credit unions hold seminars about money management. Check out your local bank for programs offered. There are awesome tools and websites, such as Mint.com, Bankrate, and Plan it Forward on Her Campus to help you plan and reach a money goal. And check it, all this info is FREE! Just putting it out there...