My financial responsibility is that of a 7 year-old girl. I find myself reaching into my purse for my debit card to fund my lip gloss addiction, various sweet cravings and the occasional unicorn themed accessory. The only thing that has changed in this last decade, (cough, please don’t try to guess my age, I’m 21 if anyone asks), is the fact that I am now, footing the bill for my lifestyle. God bless my parents, I’m not sure how they handled life for 5 of us and I can barely maneuver life for my self and my dog!
Going through college, it seemed that all of the sound financial responsibility my parents attempted to instill me, was erased from my mind with every new chance at “fun” that I had. Saving? Hell no! Paying off debt? TUH! Paying my bills on time? Not my problem! (Seriously, this was my mindset) I am still reeling from how dumb I was!! Now, I’m no Suze Orman, AT. ALL. I’ve still got college debt and maybe a few folks looking for me (if anyone asks you about me, we never met!) BUT my growth is TOO real.
Once I made a major lifestyle change (I packed up a few essential and left my college town to move to another, choosing to work in the new town rather than party) my sense of responsibility began once again and I realized how much of a mess I made!
My first step was creating fiscal normalcy. I’m not certain if I’m the first to merge those terms, but if so, please pay up when you use it! 😛
It reallyyyy sucks to sit back and analyze errors you have made, ESPECIALLY financial errors. It’s QUITE humbling to know how much money you actually owe, make and how much you dish out monthly! But it’s necessary! To kick off my financial growth and steps to fiscal normalcy, I began a Financial Life Audit. What’s a Financial Life Audit? Read on!!
DISCLAIMER: None of my tips will catapult you into millionaire status, (but if it does, please slide me a check!)
- Record your monthly income and frequency, if you have a steady income, wonderful! Calculate the usual taxes, insurance, etc. taken out of your paycheck for a more accurate number.
- Record ALL debt owed. Include full amount owed, interest rate %, minimum payment required and when it’s due monthly.
- Create a list of your monthly bills, their amount and due dates.
- Create a list of monthly staples and OVER budget a few bucks to be safe. Such as: Gas, Groceries, Beauty Rituals, Fun/Gifts.
Calculate these numbers together!! These are questions that you should be hoping to answer when you glance at your Financial Life Audit:
- Does your income exceed your monthly bills?
- What bills are due during which pay period? (If you get paid more than once a month)
- Which debt(s) are pertinent? Which debt(s) can be postponed or an arrangement made?
- Are you receiving all of the discounts you can on your monthly bills? (My local utility company allows for a regular bill based on your average in the last year, which can be a major benefit for many. My cell company also saves me $5 when I sign up for autopay!)
- How can you save on your monthly staples? Have you looked into a Rewards Card at your local grocery store? These cards can often save you money! (Winn Dixie offers 5 cents off of Shell gas for every couple of $50 you spend) Ever looked into couponing? I buy a lot of fresh and organic items, so I can’t always personally benefit from coupons, but I am the Queen of Grocery lists and Grocery Store fliers so I don’t miss a deal! Like to pamper yourself? Check out Groupon to lower the cost of that mani/pedi!
I hope these steps sound just as easy as they are! Sitting and taking just about 15-30 minutes can truly shed some life on your money! There’s no reason why any of us should be a stranger to our finances, as tempting as it may be. With Milennials constantly being considered the underbelly of responsible adults, it’s our duty to take the cards dealt to us and turn them into pure excellence! It’s okay to stumble a bit, this world is made to push us to BUY, BUY, BUY, reject us no matter the number of degrees (and the debt it took to get us there), but continues to call us irresponsible.
So today, take back the fiscal normalcy in your life!
Let me know how your Financial Life Audit went and how it has changed how you view your money!