Back in college, when they took their dates out for candle-lit dinners, your diet consisted exclusively of Ramen. After graduation, they lived in a bright and airy loft, while you lived with several roommates and you could still only afford a tiny basement apartment. Now, they have a have a huge house, nice car, and a growing family thanks to landing their dream job. You, on the other hand, are still working on all of that.
We all have that one friend who, no matter what, manages to get what they want. Since day one they’ve been good with their money, avoiding all of the typical financial pitfalls of their generation. They manage to spend, save, and invest the right way at exactly the right time to land them their every desire. Between stories of their excellent vacation and promotion at work, it’s easy to feel jealous when you catch up over drinks and apps.
By contrast, your financial situation is what most people would want to avoid. Strapped for cash and facing multiple bills, you struggle to pay for the basic necessities. All those extras your friend enjoys aren’t on the table for you at this time. And if your spending habits continue unchanged, they won’t be for a long time.
If you expect to get the same rewards as your friend, you’re going to have to start thinking like your friend. It’s easy to claim luck, inheritances, or even magic as the reason why they’re so good with money, but in reality it’s often a hard earned skill that lets them book that vacation or lease that car. That means it’s something you can learn, too. Start by incorporating these healthy money habits in your life and you’ll be on your way to become the friend who’s good with money.
- Review your budget often
If you don’t have a budget yet, it’s finally time to make one. Download an app like Mint or use the budget guide offered by Consumer.gov. Once you’re done don’t just set it aside and forget it. Making a budget only to ignore it is as bad as living without a budget to guide your spending. Make sure you set aside time each week to go over your accounts and track your spending to ensure you’re on the right track. Once you get the hang of things, it shouldn’t take up much of your time.
- Start thinking about how you spend your money
Once your budget outlines how you spend every dollar, it will highlight bad spending habits that put your financial goals at risk. For most Americans, overspending’s biggest culprit is the impulse buy. You walk by a Starbucks and think nothing of grabbing a $5 latte. The online shop suggests a half-priced sunglasses case with your new shades and you accept. You pick up a bag of gummi worms on display in your check-out aisle before the reaching the cashier.
On their own, they don’t cost much, but together they can do serious damage to your savings. The next time you feel the urge to splurge, identify what it truly is: wasted money. Be mindful of your habits and save your cash for things you actually want.
- Read terms and conditions of any loan
Until your budget helps you set aside a considerable cushion of savings, you’ll rely on financial products to help you make the larger purchases. Auto loans, credit cards, and even payday loans have their advantages, but it’s important you do your research so you can avoid their shortcomings.
Reading the full rates, terms, and conditions of every loan you accept is just one way you can protect yourself as you borrow. It’s not always easy to understand dense financial language, but a growing number of direct lenders — with MoneyKey among them — streamlined their practices to provide simple and clear contracts. These lenders make a point of using easy-to-understand language at every opportunity. Direct lenders like MoneyKey also have a crew of loan specialists ready to answer any of your questions in case anything isn’t clear, so you always know what to expect when you secure an online payday loan from MoneyKey.com.
When you’re absolutely certain about the rates and interest applied to your loan as well as the date by which you have to repay it, you’ll know whether or not it’s something you should apply for or something you should avoid. You’ll also be better equipped to avoid overdue payments and late fees.
- Eliminate #fomo and #yolo mentalities
Scroll through Instagram and you’ll see half of your friends posting pictures of their summer vacation. Scroll through Facebook and you’ll see the other half posting personal pics of family get-togethers. What these curated pictures on social media fail to account for is all the downtime between each photo. Instead, we’re overwhelmed by the idea that everyone we know is doing something bigger, greater, and cooler than we are at all times.
It’s easy to fall victim to fomo or fear of missing out, and even easier to spend your money like yolo, or you only live once.
Try limiting your time on social media so you aren’t tempted to overspend. You don’t have to become a social hermit to save some cash. Speak to your friends about your financial goals and plan things that won’t cost any of your money.
Though small, these habits can help you get your finances back on track. Start by making a budget to outline your goals and the barriers blocking your way. With a few tweaks to your spending, you can start squirreling away more cash savings. No longer the financial ying to your friend’s yang, you too can be good with money.