The 5 Financial Hacks They Should Have Taught You In School, But Didn’t…
(Hint: every single one can save you money.)
Because who doesn’t want a fatter wallet?
1.) Start Using a Personal Financial Manager App NOW!
It’s FREE. It pulls in all your spending and loan balances automatically. It tells you what you’re spending the most money on. It can single-handedly make you less broke. That means more money to spend on things you actually care about rather than bleeding money on things you don’t care about at all. If you get nothing else out of this article…my job here is done. LEAVE NOW AND SET IT UP IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY! (I’ll wait for you to come back and finish reading later, I promise…)
2.) Live Below Your Means
If you like to live frugally or if your budget (that you created with Mint.com) forces you to live frugally, don’t over spend on things you don’t absolutely need. That means passing up on the manicure this month or going for the off-brand toilet paper instead of the more expensive kind. Don’t go out to Best Buy and get the $900 T.V. if you simply can’t afford it. It’s ok to splurge here and there but only if that means you can do it responsibly. When you are really committed to this, eventually there will come a time when you can actually afford to splurge more. Whether that time is in a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or even years down the road, knowing you are not going to feel any negative repercussions for buying the more expensive pair of shoes you’ve been wanting, is extremely comforting and also makes you feel pretty great about yourself too. You worked hard at saving up for those shoes; you were patient and now you’ve earned them. So rest easy, my friends. You can enjoy those shoes freely!
3.) Student Loan Forgiveness
Student loan debt in America is pushing about $1 Trillion these days. It is a relatively “new debt” and because of that, people that have student loans are often unaware of the factors that come along with them. Depending on the loans you have, you could qualify for repayment plans that offer something called student loan forgiveness. What this means is that you have an opportunity to acquire a lower monthly payment- and in a lot of cases, it even means having your entire student loan balance wiped away. There are Income Based Repayment Programs that offer qualifying students as low as a $0 monthly payment. It sounds unbelievable but since the programs are truly based off of your income, unless you start making a drastic amount of more money, your monthly payment doesn’t fluctuate much, if at all. So, say a student qualified for a forgiveness program… and on top of that they also qualified to lower their payment (most do). Can you imagine the thousands of dollars that student could save? This is the student that has mastered their student loans. Seriously, it’s happening now and it’s not very common knowledge that these programs even exist. If you have student loans, and you have not already checked these programs out, you could be missing out on massive savings.
4.) Stop Paying Money To Borrow Money!
Compound interest can work just as hard against you as it can for you. The higher the interest rate, and the higher the balance — the harder it is to get rid of the debt, and the more money you are paying in order to borrow money. A great way to put money back in your pocket, is to stop putting money on credit cards. You can eliminate your existing credit card debt (or wipe out the interest) through debt settlement, bankruptcy, or by simply paying them off (I know, easier said than done…)
5.) Pay Yourself First BEFORE Anyone Else
The legendary investor, Warren Buffett, once said on the subject of paying yourself first, “Don’t save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving.” The moment you get your paycheck you should be taking a portion of it and devoting it specifically to yourself. I know that money can be tight sometimes, but if you are not taking at least 10% of your paycheck and putting it aside for yourself, you need to ask yourself what the point of working really is. Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t much fun for anyone. That’s why learning to budget out your pay so you can actually save for the future will help you float with the tide instead of vigorously paddling upstream. You can open up a simple savings account with your bank for short term savings. Or you can go for the long term savings and open up an IRA or 401K. I recommend saving for both. You can set up a TDAmeritrade account really easily and start investing into yourself and even into future stocks. Your future self will thank you.
Have any other financial hacks you think they should start teaching in school? Go ahead, let us know about them! We love to hear from you and are interested in what you have to say.