Admittedly, I think I’ve been spoiled by my parents who have helped me facilitate most of my “adult” tasks such as buying my first stock, helping me read through stacks of prospectuses when I ventured into mutual funds and eventually sat with me (rather via Skype) when I was on the market for a new home.
It was completely inevitable when I stumbled upon a number of roadblocks, while not too big, were detrimental to my day (and yours, too) if not taken note of. I’m new at going beyond the age of 25, where it’s a little bit clearer but still hazy. Hopefully, my little tips will pave the road better for you. Read on:
- Automate it. I’m pretty proud of my credit card history because no matter how good or bad I get with spending, I pay everything in one go. My banks never earn from me because I’m always prompt with paying. The one time I was ever late was last billing period when I paid online, an hour late from my due date, because I was coming from a trip where there was no mobile signal. Thankfully, because of my habit of diligence, my Php 4,000 late fee was waived. Lesson learned: Automate it. This tip is also applicable to your savings. Or your mutual fund investments, if you can.
- Maintenance Checks. This is a tip I learned from my mother, which applies to both oneself and utilities like a car. In both instances, when I had flu and my car was due for a brake pad replacement, she easily told me that I could’ve foregone the hassles of both inconveniences if I had gone to the doctor for a maintenance checkup (APE, for example) and to the car service station on a regular basis. Unlike normal adults, it took me several times to realize that.
- Run your financial life like you would your social life. I owe this piece of advice to Learnvest.com founder, Alexa von Tobel. When other people told me to list down every single expense, it didn’t resonate as much. When it was equated with something that was important to me, as important it was to have a me-time, it made sense. Financial Life was no less important than the time we allot to our family, to our friends, to our job and all of those, when not paid attention to, can go awry. Write everything down, what you earn, what you save and what you spend. Write your to-dos such as the bills you need to pay and the money you ought to receive.
- Create a spending plan. I abhor two words in the English dictionary: diet and budget because almost always, when you go into it, it never happens and you end up eating and spending more. This is why I call mine a spending plan — wherein in an Excel file, I list down everything that I could possibly spend in a month, following the 50/20/30 rule. Only 50% is for your important allocations (mortgage, rent, utilities, bills), 20% is for your financial obligations (tithing, investments, debt payment), and 30% for your lifestyle expenses. List down any event that will trigger increase in spending such as school enrolment, vacation, Christmas etc.
- Time is gold. Really. Ah, time. What a joy to be doing what your heart wants you to do at a certain hour of the day. When you’ve amassed a long list of friends whom you will rotate on a social life calendar roulette, it’s safe to choose really well who to spend those precious hours with. You could rest, could read your books, could clean your apartment or could do nothing at all with those hours. Exercise your right to choose.
Got any smart moves too?