I was the worst with money. If there was a Spenders Anonymous meeting, I would still have to go once a week as I would be in recovery. I am the ULTIMATE overspender. But thanks to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Program as well as working as a bank teller, I have come to learn a lot about the best ways to spend and save money.
Now I know EVERYONE who ever talks about budgeting generally brings up Dave Ramsey, and I bet there are people out there who get really annoyed by that, but the reason is because his methods really do work and they help even the worst spenders and those with the highest debt to have better finances. And while I love what Dave Ramsey has to offer, there are a few ways I have tweaked his methods to best fit my family and our situation.
Before I go into detail about my tips for you, here are the best reasons why you should start budgeting and saving RIGHT NOW. I especially am talking to those in their early twenties or even those who are just starting college, but this applies to everyone of all ages!
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You need to be prepared.
The first step of Dave Ramsey’s program is to save $1,000 for emergency use. This is so important because you never know what could happen. There could be a medical emergency or a pipe could burst in your home, and if you are not saving money, that could really hurt you financially. There is just a greater peace of mind knowing that you have most minor emergencies covered no matter what. (And you don’t have to dig into your retirement account for it, either)
It feels so good.
Knowing exactly where your money goes is seriously the best feeling. Listen, I am not a Type A personality. I am not one to be 100% organized and anal about everything in my life being exact, so that should be a sign that it is not a personality trait to want to know exactly where every cent goes. It is simply a peace thing. If you want to be at peace, be on top of your money.
You will have way more time to save up.
Yeah duh, this is super obvious, but when you think about how much you can save if you start now versus starting a year from now, that could be like, thousands of dollars that you spent on things you didn’t need that could already be saved up by now! Lol okay that sounds really stupid but seriously! That’s why you need to start now!
It will keep you out of debt.
Okay now ignoring the horrible fact that most of us younger folks have about one million dollars in debt already due to student loans, budgeting and saving money will keep you out of debt. This is a key point to the idea of starting right now, especially at a younger age because you will be at a point in your life where you haven’t had the chance yet to make horrible money decisions such as racking up $3,000 in credit card debt because you are a stupid kid who doesn’t understand money (this is DEFINITELY not based on any sort of life experience I’ve ever had…). It is no fun at all to waste money on the ridiculously high credit card interest that you have accumulated when you could be spending it on something you actually want. Instead, budget and save wisely and you will never have to pay enormous amounts of debt back because your debt will basically never exist! You will be able to learn to save money without eating Ramen all day e’ryday.
Alright. So there are a few good reasons to start saving now. Next are a few good tips on how to get started, using Dave Ramsey methods + Kaity’s two cents.
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1. Work that Excel Spreadsheet.
Get super familiarized with Excel. If you don’t understand it, Google or YouTube tutorials for how to use it. Because seriously, my budgeting spreadsheet is like one of my BFF’s because it tells me the truth and not just what I want to hear, lol. Also because once you get it down, it is so easy to use and it is the best way to really see where your money is going.
2. Get friendly with Online Banking.
I would guess that 99% of banks today provide online banking. It is seriously the best tool. You can see all your accounts and at least with mine I can make instant online transfers, which makes it easy to put the money I want to save into a separate account. If your bank doesn’t have online banking or if it is pretty janky, get to know your bank well. Seriously the people at the desks at banks are there to help you and that includes helping you choose the right accounts for your money and budgetary needs. They will help you find the best accounts to where you can earn the most interest as well (it’s always nice to earn money for doing nothing).
3. Be sure to have multiple bank accounts.
Now you can always have the bare minimum of a single checking and a single savings account. No problem with that. If you are working the Dave Ramsey envelope system, you can just take cash out. But nowadays debit cards have become so much more user friendly, it may be easier for you to have multiple accounts where you can save for different things and have multiple debit cards as well which can be used in the same way as cash.
4. Start small.
If you are anything like me, you probably get really excited when you start something new and you want to go all in. I do this with everything from exercise to being friends with someone (everyone’s like: back off! You’re too much friend right now!). DON’T do that with your money! If you do you will give up saving in 10 seconds because you will be all like, “I have no money to spend on anything 😦 “. Allocate yourself money to spend on crap you don’t need first of all so that you don’t have withdrawal and suddenly spend everything. And then slowly build your savings account. Start with like $10 a month. That’s a super easy amount, right? And then as you get the hang of budgeting and spending money accordingly, bump it up to what you feel comfortable spending.
5. Finally, help others.
How does this help, you ask? Well, in my experience since having my husband and I have had our own money to spend, when we give we receive tenfold. Don’t have a fist clenched on your money when it comes to helping others. Have money set aside simply for giving. This is one area where you can allocate as much as you would like because there is no better gift than giving. God always provides what you need, especially when you are will to give.
So there you have it. There will be more posts along this line that will go into greater detail about finances, but for now, this is a basic starting point. I hope this can be useful to you and if you have any financial questions you can always ask!
Any good tips for first time budgeters??