We learn all sorts of the things in school — geography, history, algebra and countless other subjects we may or may not have actually put to use. Yet there’s one discipline you need to apply almost every day of your life, from the time you graduate until the time you retire and beyond, and it isn’t even taught in school. Can you guess what it is? It’s managing your money. We’ve rounded up the best money advice we could find, and we think a few of them may surprise you.
Money Advice 1: Wait a week.
If you truly want something, it’s worth the wait. Look before you leap and give yourself time to make sure you really want to spend your money on that Flowbee you saw on TV.
Money Advice 2: Pay yourself first.
Who’s No. 1? You, my friend. While you want to always pay your bills on time to protect your credit, you then want to put money into your savings before you even have the opportunity to spend it on something you might regret.
Money Advice 3: Give your credit card the cold shoulder.
Put your credit cards on ice … literally. As crazy as it sounds, here’s the idea: Freeze your cards in a block of ice, and then give the block time to thaw before you spend. If the impulse hasn’t waned by then, you can consider making your purchase.
Money Advice 4: Invest for the future.
If you’re not making money, you’re losing money thanks to inflation, which eats away at your purchasing power each and every day. Start investing today.
Money Advice 5: Go minimalist.
Jerry Seinfeld reminds us that everything we purchase eventually becomes garbage. Save your money and the planet by reducing frivolous purchases. When you de-clutter, consider selling your used goods for a little extra cash or even a tax reduction.
Money Advice 6: Make a budget (and don’t just say you will).
A budget is the foundation of any personal money management strategy. Yet surprisingly, many people have not taken the time to write down all their monthly and yearly expenses. Doing this one simple thing could be the difference between being in the red every month and getting back to black.
Money Advice 7: Know the difference between price and value.
Be frugal, but not cheap. Being cheap doesn’t pay off in the long run, if what you buy doesn’t last. Being frugal, on the other hand, may mean investing in higher quality items that will stand the test of time. If you buy a $1 umbrella that falls apart after the first rain, that’s not a good value compared to the $30 umbrella that lasts 10 years. In the long term, that’s actually more money in your pocket.
Money Advice 8: Time is money … or it can be.
Use your spare hours to earn extra cash. Take on a few extra hours at work, get a second job, or freelance if you can. Put what you earn toward paying down debt, or feather your nest egg.
Money Advice 9: Keep your eyes on the prize.
Keep a reminder of your financial goals nearby, where you can see them on a daily basis. For example, you could put a picture of the car you’re saving up for in your wallet. Then, the next time you have the urge to splurge, you’ll be reminded to put that money toward your goal.
Money Advice 10: Take a personal finance course.
Learn from the experts, and take a personal finance course at your local college or online. Also, take advantage of the AutoPayPlus resources to get you started.