After writing 31 days to better finances, I wanted to take a step back and create a kind of user guide for all the steps. While almost all of the steps work on a stand alone basis and can be useful to anyone, regardless of your financial situation, I wanted to help you get through … Continue reading
After writing 31 days to better finances, I wanted to take a step back and create a kind of user guide for all the steps. While almost all of the steps work on a stand alone basis and can be useful to anyone, regardless of your financial situation, I wanted to help you get through the posts in a somewhat orderly fashion. I have divided all of the posts in the 31 days to better finances series into five categories: the Basics, Motivation, Tools, Quick Wins, and the Icing on the Cake.
These basics are things everyone should have in place to have a sound financial life. If you are just starting out, these steps will get you on good footing, and if you are already a millionaire, most of these steps still apply.
If you think about your finances and realize you need to make some changes, these are the posts for you. Whether you are deep in debt, or on sound financial footing and just want to figure out a way to retire when you are 55, these are the posts that will help you find the internal motivation to make the changes you need to make.
The basics of personal finance are not hard to master. What is difficult, is figuring out what it is that motivates you to get your finances in order. Is it finally knowing how much you owe and staring that number in the face? Is it figuring out when you can stop working? Or how much you need to save to send your kids to college? Maybe you need to spend some time dreaming and then use that vision to create some solid goals. Look to these posts to find some inspiration.
Tools for making changes
Now that you are inspired, these next set of posts wills give you the tools to make the necessary changes in your financial life. If you are not living within your means you can work at increasing your income or track your expenses to help you cut your spending. If you are deep in debt you can create a plan to start paying off that debt. Finally, if you know your finances are not quite how you would like them, but you are not sure what a solid financial situation looks like, find someone who has their finances in order and talk to them.
Creating some quick wins
One of the keys to making long term change of any type is creating some initial quick wins. Creating some quick wins can help fuel excitement and motivate you for the long hauls. Start by creating a found money account. Then commit to one month of making your coffee at home, not eating out, and car pooling to work. While you are add it, sell off items you are not using and see if there is any low hanging fruit you can cut from your budget. At the end of the month you will have a nice chunk of cash in your found money account that you can apply to your debt repayment, or use to start and emergency fund, or a college savings account. If you have a lot of debt or a big savings goal, see if you can keep this up for another month, or even until your goal is met.
The icing on the cake
Finally we get to the icing on the cake. These posts are about ‘free money’, or ways you can painlessly earn more money. Without cutting anything in your budget, you can have more money at the end of every year by earning as much as possible on your cash, earning either cash back or points for using your credit card, and paying as little as possible in investment costs.
I’m working on a series of profiles and interviews. My hope is that as these interviews go on you will learn a little, recognize someone in a similar situation to yourself, and also realize that even people who are very different can still have similar financial issues and goals. If you are interested in participating, … Continue reading
I’m working on a series of profiles and interviews. My hope is that as these interviews go on you will learn a little, recognize someone in a similar situation to yourself, and also realize that even people who are very different can still have similar financial issues and goals. If you are interested in participating, please email me at notrustfund <at> gmail <dot> com If you have any comments for MM, leave them below. You can read past interviews here.
I am 32 years old, mother of 2, and live in Chicago. I graduated from a large Big Ten university, which I chose largely in part based on it’s affordability and strong undergraduate business school. I worked about 30 hrs/week during college and because of that plus a partial scholarship was able to graduate without any student loans. That helped put me on very stable financial footing to start out. I majored in Finance and worked in the trading field from 2001-2009. My hope had always been to be a stay-at-home mom and upon having our first child I stopped working for a paycheck and have been at home full time. Knowing that I didn’t plan to work to full retirement age, I was conscious of the necessity to max out my 401k annually while I could.
A few thoughts as February begins. Housing Mr. NTF and I have been eyeing a house since this summer. We watched as the price was lowered once, and then again. This is the first house that has really caught our eye since we started looking, over a year ago. So we put in an offer. … Continue reading
A few thoughts as February begins.
Mr. NTF and I have been eyeing a house since this summer. We watched as the price was lowered once, and then again. This is the first house that has really caught our eye since we started looking, over a year ago. So we put in an offer. They countered. We were too far apart so we ended the negotiation.
A few months went by. Then a couple of weeks ago we got word from our realtor that there was another offer. We started talking about our ‘walk away’ price, the very most we could offer. We wanted to at least make sure we would not see the sale price and think to ourselves, ‘well we would have paid that’. And as we were talking and trying to come up with our price, some new information came out. The other bid was an all cash offer. CASH. Well we new then that this was not going to be our house.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of buying a house in cash, primarily from a philosophical perspective. While this is something I’ve touched on briefly before, this will likely be the subject of an upcoming post.
So now we are back to square one. Right now I feel like I cannot even look at another house. Hopefully this feeling will soon pass, because right now the baby is sleeping in the kitchen.
While part of me is sad that this house is not ours, another part of me is so relieved. This house was within our budget, but it would have been a stretch. And while the house was in my dream location, the house itself did not quite feel like home. Hopefully the next house we love will be a little smaller and less expensive. And on the same block. Hey, I can dream can’t I?
Save When You Can, Not When You Have To
While in our current house I’m trying to save as much as possible. Both for our down payment and also in our kids’ 529 plans. I know once we move, our budget will be a bit tighter, so we may as well save as much as we can now.
Most of the posts you have read over the past couple of months have been written with a sleeping baby on my lap. While I loved posting every day for the month of January, I will be returning to a once a week or so posting schedule. With a job and two little ones it is all I can manage right now.
Some of my favorite posts have been my interviews. If you have not read them you can find them here. I have a couple in the hopper, but if you’d like be interviewed in an upcoming post, please contact me. notrustfund <at> gmail <dot> com
One of my dearest friends has a parent who is very ill. This is something that has been weighing on me the last couple of weeks. This family is constantly in my thoughts and I am trying to send them all the strength I can muster up to help them get through this time. In the last couple of years my friend has made some big life changes and has been able to spend a lot of time with family as a result. It is such a good reminder of what is important in life.
So hug your loved ones close tonight. Thanks for reading.