Thursday, February 9, 2012

#WorkingGirlProblems: Money, Money, Money

No matter if you are still a #CollegeGirl, a recent grad, or have been a #WorkingGirl for a few years now, money, or the lack of it, is always a challenge. Money is at the top of the list of all #WorkingGirlProblems but with a little sassy planning, you'll never lose a wink of sleep.

5 Money Mistakes
  • I already have a lot of debt, so what's the difference? I might as well buy what I want.  Let me tell you, it matters.  I had this attitude throughout my college years and managed to leave school not only with student loan debt, but also several thousands of dollars in credit card debt.  Luckily, once I started working, I quickly curtailed my spending, but I wish I had made better decisions while in school.  Keep your spending under control, you'll be grateful later.
  • Co-signing on a loan for ANYONE.  If you have ever watched an episode of Judge Judy or Suze Orman you would have heard many this said many times, "never co-sign a loan for anyone".  You are 100% responsible for the loan repayments.  Just don't do it.
  • Not making your student loan payments.  Your student loan will NEVER go away as it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.  So before you pay any other debt, credit card, personal loan, or other, pay your student loans FIRST.  If you don't the interest will continue to compound and the fees will pile up.  No one wants to be sixty and still paying for their student loans.
  • Paying bank fees.  I always believe it is OK to spend money, it's not OK to WASTE money and paying bank fees, ATM, overdraft, or check fees is wasting money.  With just a little effort, these can be 100% avoided.  Don't be lazy.  
  • Not getting a credit card.  Maybe you have seen others struggle with debt so you figure you will avoid the problem altogether by not getting a credit card.  #FAIL.  You need a credit card to begin building your credit, no credit is the same as bad credit.  So find a credit card with no annual fee, make a few small purchases each month and pay it off in full and you will be on the yellow brick road to success.  
5 Things You Can Do For Yourself Today

  • Have a career plan.  The single most important thing you can do for yourself is to have a plan.  Where do you see your self work-wise in 5 years?  Does your income grow steadily or do you work in a profession where your income is likely to double several times over during your career?  Whichever it is, it is important to be realistic.
  • Create balance with your money.  Money, like life, is all about balance.  You can't spend it all and you can't save it all.  So take a bite (just a bite) and find the right balance that allows you to enjoy a little of everything.
  • Contribute to your 401k.  If I asked you if you wanted a free $500k, would you take it?  Of course you would, you would LAUGH hysterically at anyone who would turn it down.  Except instead of doing the laughing, you will be the one everyone is laughing at if you don't contribute to your 401k up to your company's match immediately.  There is no where else anywhere that you will have the chance at guaranteed free money.  The only catch is you have to contribute that same amount yourself and you can't touch it until you retire.  But so what? Free is still FREE.  
  • Build an emergency fund.  They don't say "save for a rainy day" if it never rained.  Let's face it, it rains all the time.  Your car breaks down, your dog gets sick, or worse you lose your job.  Put some cash aside and you will never have a sleepless night.
  • Review your balances.  It sounds simple, but keep an eye on your accounts.  You don't have to fret about balancing your checkbook like your parents, but it never hurts to log into your online banking account a few times a week to ensure everything is as it should be.  Don't forget your credit card accounts too.

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

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