For those of you who don't know me personally, me and finances haven't had such a great relationship in the past. I got my first job when I was 15, at Ben and Jerry's. I had a lot of fun scooping ice cream and it was the perfect place for friends to come and visit. Unfortunately, I wasn't too smart about my paychecks and that led me down a road of being not so financially responsible over the following years. Fast-forward almost 7 years and 6 jobs, I finally decided it was time to get my act together and clean up my finances.
Personal Capital is an online company geared towards empowering individuals and their money by providing a better money management experience for consumers. They sent over their 30 Day Money Cleanse for me to check out, and I was so impressed that I thought I'd share it with all of you! I think that for those of us who don't have much experience being on top of things, this is an easy way to start figuring finances out, one step at a time.
The first thing I did at the beginning of the quarter was write down all of my predicted expenses. From there, I was able to understand how much money I would be able to spend on miscellaneous expenses (i.e. eating out, shopping, traveling, etc.) and how much I should be able to save. My next step was writing down every single thing I spent money on. I know this might sound a bit excessive, but it helped me see what I could afford to keep doing (bi-weekly coffee dates with friends) and what I should probably cut out (tri-weekly bagel runs to bagel cafe). Recently I've been trying to incorporate a few money-saving habits into my everyday routine. I try not to eat out unless it's a special occasion. Cooking at home can be really fun if you do it with friends and loved ones.My roommates and I have tried out a few new recipes and so far it's been a success (Kasia-I'm thinking about your minestrone soup now). We've also made an effort to find deals in our own community. We really like to rock climb, but a day pass is $15 at our local gym and that can add up if you're going often. Luckily, our gym offers half-off nights twice a week, so we've been heading over there on Tuesdays and Fridays.There's also so many things you can do in your community that don't involve spending a ton of money, like going for a hike or taking lunch to picnic in the park.
Though we're only in the second month of 2017, my life has been so much easier since cleaning up my finances. I no longer hold my breath when I swipe my card at the grocery store and wonder if I transferred over enough money from my savings to my checking. I highly suggest starting off 2017 on a high note by getting your own finances in order. If you're in a different boat then me, Personal Capital can still definitely help you out! They have resources for everything from investing your money to planning for retirement. They also have a lot of really great articles that cover a multitude of money topics. Even for someone like me who doesn't have a lot of financial planning background, I really enjoyed how easy the pieces were to read and understand.
Well there you have it folks, my little shpeal about finances. I know that financial planning doesn't exactly sound fun and exciting, but it is important to think about if you want to do things later in life like pay off your student loans, buy a house, or travel around. Just take my advice and give it a try, and visit Personal Capital if you're unsure of where to start.
Lets make 2017 our most productive year yet!
(cheesy I know)