I recently read this post about personal finance bloggers giving their best money advice on an index card. So I wrote my own! I present to you my philosophy on money on a single index card:
This is probably against the rules, but here’s a little elaboration…
Make it easy– Automate your accounts. Use index funds so you don’t have to waste your time stock picking. Use an app to track your spending. Take advantage of your employer’s retirement accounts so that it’s automatically deducted from your paycheck. Streamline these processes so they’re just done.
Look for a deal– I firmly believe that there is always a deal to be had. I’m not the type to drive 10 miles out of the way to save 3 cents, but I always do my research before making a purchase. I typically check other websites for better prices, I use websites like fatwallet.com to get cashback and to get coupon codes, and I use my credit card rewards points towards my purchases to ensure that I get items at the lowest price possible. I also do my grocery shopping almost exclusively at the commissary, which saves us tons of money. And don’t forget to ask for a military discount!
TSP!– It’s no secret that I’m the TSP’s biggest cheerleader. If you are a federal employee, you need to take advantage of this tax-sheltered retirement account. It has the lowest expense ratios I’ve ever seen.
Or tax sheltering– Maximize your IRA and take advantage of your employer’s tax advantaged accounts, whether that be a TSP, 401k, 403b, whatever! And be sure to maximize your employer’s contribution if applicable.
Set priorities– When it comes to budgeting and spending money, we have to make our own choices based on our priorities. Choose what’s important for you and skimp or completely cut out the things that are a low priority.
Just start!– I’m currently reading I Will Teach You to be Rich (Published in 2009 so I’m a little late to this party). He says something about how trying to manage your money and getting it 85% right is better than doing nothing and getting it 0% right. That really stuck with me. After my mom died I inherited some life insurance money and I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t do anything with it for about 2 years. I was scared of making a mistake, especially because there was some sentimentality attached to it, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy a house or if I should invest it. I wish that I had taken the leap and just started.
And that’s it! That’s all it takes to have a solid financial foundation. And if you are looking to “Just start!”, check out our Getting Started Series.