I have an okay high school education and excellent college degree yet no one ever taught me about money. I however mastered the art of finding x in algebra, creating a sound structure with Popsicle sticks, how to microwave Pop-Tarts, and extensively studied the connection between South Park and the philosophy of logic. All this and there was not one course on how to manage my coins once I collected them. Being an adult without these skills is kind of like playing Mario Kart with a blindfold (Good luck).
Through a lot of trial and error and having more month than money, I finally figured out how to survive adulthood and ensuring I run out of month before I run out of money. It’s only right that I share a few pointers on how to not make my mistakes (hey, but we’re human).
Make a Simple Budget and Stick to it
How cliché it is to ball on a budget! You know what’s not a good look? Not having a budget and running out of money halfway through the month. The easiest way to create a budget is to take out a blank piece of paper and draw as many columns as you have pay periods in a month. Then fill in those pay periods with everything you pay in one month ensuring not to put your highest bills in the same pay period. Don’t forget to think about due dates on your bills.
For instance, I pick one bill that’s due at the end of the month and put it in my first pay period because it’s cheaper bill and it balances everything so it’s not too much leaving my wallet at once.
If you have a super high bill like rent, split that bill up into two pay periods. For example if your phone bill is your highest bill and it’s $300, pull $150 out of each pay period if you get paid twice a month. It’s helpful so you’re not seeing a lot of money disappear at once. It takes a little trial and error to sit back and look at what goes where on this awesome spreadsheet called adulthood.
Add up the amount in each column and that’s how much you spend on bills per pay cycle. If you get paid the same amount every pay, you’ll also be able to see how much money you have to play with by subtracting your total bills from your total gross.
Sticking to a budget is easier said than done. Find the discipline to do it or it’ll hurt you and your credit in the long run.
This is the easiest way to save money! But carrying cash is so 1998. I’m terrible at carrying cash as I don’t like fumbling with it at the cash register or pulling out my wallet for that matter. If you find yourself not being able to stick to your budget you created pull out a certain amount of cash each pay period as your “play money.” Then watch how careful you are with dropping coins because it goes to show that when you see the money leaving you’re better with it than just swiping a card and letting magic happen.
Avoid Credit Cards
The people who invented credit cards must be the same people who invented word problems in math. Credit cards are the worst because at the end of the day the money you’re spending isn’t yours. You have to pay it back with interest. Interest is another thing I wish college or high school would’ve taught me. You may not be able to drink at 18 but hey, you can go into eternal debt with credit cards and student loans because interest doesn’t have your best interest, like 90 percent of the time. If you already have credit cards find a way to pay them off. Maybe use that budget we created a minute ago and go to work on it. Instead of buying something ridiculous that you’ll forget about with your tax refund check, pay towards your balance.
Use an App
There’s an app for that! Budgeting apps can connect to your bank account and tell you what you spend most of your money on. Apps like Mint almost made me cry because it showed me that I spent way too much money and time at my local Starbucks. When you see the numbers beside some of your wants and not needs adulthood gets real. Mint will also remind you of due dates.
Early on in life I adapted the mantra that money isn’t everything but I forgot to add to that. Money isn’t everything but it’s important to manage it right. It took having jobs that paid me once a month, once a week , and even bi-weekly to figure it out. The sooner you figure out how to run out of month and save your money, adulthood gets a little more manageable.
Just in case you’re having a problem with discipline here’s a little motivation from rapper Lil Dicky to save your money.