Get a handle on your wallet
It’s no secret among my friends and family that I am thrifty as heck. It’s part of what makes me good at this job; I treat my clients’ finances with the same penny pinching goals that I do my own. There are some resources that I use all the time to keep me on track, and I want to share some of those here!
Yes and Yes
Sarah Von Bargen has been blogging about money for 11 years (yes, 11 years of blog posts! Hooray!), and her free resources are some of my favorites. Her course, Bank Boost, helped me to shave a whopping $680 per month off of my recurring expenses, let alone my flexible spending!! Her Facebook group, Money and Happy, is full of people working towards similar financial goals, and you can ask questions and have them answered in a safe and non-judgmental environment. The best part, in my opinion, is that she focuses on a healthy balance of life enjoyment and financial freedom, because what’s the point of freedom if you hate your life? Click here to sign up for the next round of Bank Boost.
BONUS: Here are my favorite blog posts from her site—
How to Money
I only recently started listening to this podcast, but I LOVE it. It’s two thrifty guys drinking craft beer and talking about everything you want to know about money. Their range of guests is interesting and diverse, and I have used several of their tips to save money and stretch my dollar further. Check out my favorite episode so far, Jumping on a Low Cost Cell Phone Plan.
If you don’t currently budget, I’d recommend signing up for Mint today. You can “train” the software to automatically categorize your expenses into budgets, and can identify trends based on spending patterns to set reasonable expectations for your budgets (because setting budgets based on what you wish you spent can set you up to fail, and you’ll lose steam early on). I’d give the phone app a solid 7/10, and the web app a 10/10. I’ve used other budgeting apps like YNAB, which does actually cost $5/month, but Mint is so easy I can literally neglect it for months and come back to analyze my spending patterns when I want to.
Talk to your friends. Seriously. Talk frankly, openly, and frequently about money. Two reasons for this— you never know what your friends know, and you might be able to help them save a ton of money on something! Money is only awkward when you don’t talk about it, so start chatting. Don’t feel comfortable talking with your friends about money for one reason or another? Join a money related Facebook group like the one mentioned above, and ask away.
I put a question out on Facebook that read “What are your favorite online money resources? For saving money, earning extra money, or educating yourself?”, and got the following answers so far:
After putting the same question out on Instagram, I got recommendations for YNAB and Dave Ramsey, which brings me to…
BONUS: What I don’t love:
I think Dave Ramsey is fantastic. I know he has helped a ton of people get out of debt and fix some tough money habits, but in seasons where I didn’t have flexible income, his advice always made me feel trapped and deprived. In my opinion, his programs are GREAT for people who think “Yeah, I could do Whole30 for two more weeks, it’s not that hard!” and who have extra money to chip in towards their debts on a regular basis. If you’re tight with your funds, I’d recommend Yes and Yes instead.
I’ve used YNAB for an entire year, so I definitely gave it a full college try. The reason I liked it was the interface; it’s fairly easy to use and is strict with the way funds move around your categories. The reason I don’t like it is the $5/month fee— it’s not much, but every month when that would be autodrafted, I’d get so annoyed with myself for not using it every day. It’s also really manual, not as automatic as Mint. Again, this is a great tool for someone who really connects with Dave Ramsey’s envelope method (spoiler alert: I don’t).
What has made the biggest difference in how you think about money in your own life? Leave it in the comments below!