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The First Steps to a Money Makeover

We’ve all said it or have at least heard a friend say it: “I need to learn how to save my money.” Textbooks have been bought and dorms have been decorated. By this point in the semester, funds from our parents and refund checks have been used. There’s always a ‘but’ in conversations with our friends regarding money. The desire to learn how to save money is often followed up with a “but I need a new purse” or “ I have a little bit of shopping to do before I start saving.” We need to learn how to serve up a dose of tough love to ourselves sometimes. If you need to save money YOU BETTER START NOW.

How’s that? Be harsh on yourself. There’s not really a need for one more pair of Uggs when you can’t afford to fill up your gas tank or purchase something from the Union. If you need to start, you WILL start. And you’ll start now. Pull out your wallet and dump out your purse. Place all of your receipts, debit/credit cards, and spare change out and let’s take charge. Take a look at all of your receipts. If you don’t have the item anymore or can’t use it for a return or a reward of some kind how about you trash the receipt. But first, look at that total. Most likely it won’t be a pretty picture, or maybe you don’t even know what possessed you to buy the items. This is the all too common problem. It’s easy to come up with some reason why you HAVE to have it at the moment, but once we leave the store we realize maybe we didn’t need it so bad.

Now, take all of your debit, credit, and cash or credit value cards and take a look. If the debit card is over drafted put it to the side. If the credit card is maxed out put it along with the debit card, and if any cards that can carry cash or credit value such as a gift card have no value put them to the side. Last but not least, look at the cash and coins you have had buried in your bag. put the coins to the side and count up the cash. Most likely you won’t have enough or maybe you’re the type of person to take advantage of the all too enticing cash back service offered at most department stores and supermarkets.

Take a look. You should have 3 piles: the first being debit and credit cards that are in a positive status (debit cards with a positive balance, and credit cards that aren’t maxed out) as well as gift cards with money, the second being cash (not coins), and the third being those all too negative things such as maxed out credit cards, over drafted or negative balance debit cards, gift cards with no value and use anymore. Last but not least, you should put coins to the side in a box or container since they are money.

You’ve taken a look at your current state at this point in time and the next step will be to look deeper into your financial status and see how you can begin to build or rebuild. That’s all going to come though. Small steps should be made first. So the cash you have, whether it’s $5, $15, $100 or whatever. Place it away if you won’t need it for the next week—and when I say need, I mean you urgently need to pay for or purchase something. Take the bank cards you have, put them away and try not to swipe unless it’s as urgent as the need to use your cash. Now that those rules are set in place you can learn how to curve your spending and be a more fruitful spender.

Until next week,
xoxo Shaquana

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