Anybody who knows me knows that I am a big spender. I have been in the process of developing a healthy and stable relationship with money since I was 16. I am now 27 and I can honestly say that I am getting there. My greatest challenge continues to be not being able to save, but I can say I have committed myself to being debt free. I was able to reach one of my New Year’s resolutions; being able to pay off my two credit cards before the summer. I still have my student loan debt (which is being tackled), however, I will always believe that student debt is good debt. It’s a pain to have, especially considering the accumulated interest. Yet, without the loan, I wouldn’t have been able to afford my post-secondary education. I’m not an expert – in any way shape or form – when it comes to handling finances, but what I can say from experience is that it is never too late to push yourself to be debt free and to save a little each pay. Remember that saving can come in many forms and below are a few ways:
- Set up automatic withdrawals from your chequing account to your savings
- At the end of the day or week, put away any loose change that you may have, in a safe place that you won’t be able to access easily
- Keep your money in different banks
- Set up a simple savings method; This is when a fixed amount (of your choosing) goes directly into your savings account, every time you do a transaction using your chequing.
- Have a goal of what you want to use your money for and give yourself a time limit to reach these goals; for example setting goals such as wanting to travel, or buying a car – or eve a lump sum to pay a loan. Reward yourself if you achieve your goals, especially if you achieve them before the time you’ve set
- Give someone you trust a preferred amount of money, in order for them to put it away for you
- Cut back on things you don’t NEED
- Learn from your past financial mistakes and try to break out of your bad habits
- Create a financial board (Mine is actually, still in progress) (A financial board is a method used to help maintain focus on your personal financial goals.)
- Invest your money into something that will grow or benefit you in the future. Something I am still learning how to do.
How I Became Credit Card Free In Under 2 months
I was able to pay off my credit cards before the summer, which was one of my goals from before 2017. I am proud to say I was able to achieve this goal, well before my perceived due date. I have paid off my credits cards about 5 times, however, I kept continuing to use them and maxing them out. Online shopping is my biggest addiction, so I had to cut up my credit cards, which motivated me to get them paid off, faster. I also set up automatic pre-authorized payments from my chequing account to go straight to my credit cards (this method was quite effective because it secured my commitment to my financial goal and freedom), I worked extra hours and I cut back on a few unnecessary expenses. All of these strategies helped me become credit card debt free and I believe they could also work for you. I’ll admit that at times, I lack financial discipline. It’s something that I struggle with on a daily basis. If I had great financial management skills, considering how hard I have worked and continue to work, I might have been able to purchase a home, a car… you name it. In spite of this, I can truly say that because of my savings, this past summer has allowed me to travel to a few places on my bucket list, and was able to give me and my sister the summer of our lives – attending concerts that we’ve been dreaming about. I don’t regret any of my experiences with money, the good and the bad. I know all my financial experiences have pushed me to start this new journey of building a healthier relationship with money. My commitment to my finances has allowed me to better my savings skills. I practice 7 out of the 10 saving tips above and the other 3 are still under construction.
Where I am Now
My relationship with my finances is a work in progress, but money and I definitely have a better relationship than we once had. I know that with my newfound commitment to this, it can only get better from here. I’m hoping to invest in financial books to help me with this journey, so if anyone has any good suggestions of financial books, please drop comments below and/or tips on how to save money! I know the looming fear of student loans always lingers in my head, regardless, it feels good to only have one debt to worry about, as opposed to many. I’ve begun to save towards my travels again because I miss traveling, A LOT. I want to have a balance between my finances that will allow me to travel. I refuse to use my finances to become complacent and my financial board will make sure that comes to pass. Make a pact with yourself today, to create a more positive relationship with money. I remember at a store once, a lady told me that “It’s not how much you have or make, but rather how you manage how much you have.” This concept has stuck with me until this day. I don’t have it all figured out and maybe I never will, but taking steps to have a healthier and more positive outlook on money definitely seems like a good start.