I turn 30 next week [gulps audibly]. Now that I’m an old man, I thought this would be a good time for me to share some of the financial things I did right, plus a few of the things I did very wrong during my twenties. [Note: I wrote this with my 5 day old daughter sleeping on my lap. It would have been 10 things, but I could only think of 7 before she needed a diaper change.]
- I started saving for retirement early. You’ve heard it a million times, but I’m telling you, start saving for retirement NOW. I got my first post-collegiate job at 22, and I promptly set up my 401(k). Every time I check the balance these days, I can’t help but smile.
- I spent too much money on cars. I’ve mentioned before that the biggest financial mistake I ever made involved a car. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that they’re just tools for getting you from point A to B. I should have known that new car bliss only lasts for about a month, but the payments last for years. Thankfully, I learned from my personal tendencies, and do what’s best for me in the long run.
- I kept investing even when things looked bad. A lot of people decided to sell their investments when the market bottomed out. I decided to keep buying, and I doubled that money when things came back around. Remember, buy low and sell high.
- I stayed at a job I hated for way too long. The money was good, and I couldn’t walk away despite the fact that my health and relationships were suffering. The term “golden handcuffs” is a real thing, and I’ll never fall victim to it again. It’s just not worth it in the big scheme of things. On the bright side, the things I learned at that job helped me with this site.
- I automated everything. I can’t tell you how much money I’ve saved by having my bill payments and monthly savings automated. I socked away more cash than I would’ve if I had been moving it manually, and I avoided late fees from missed payments.
- I splurged every now and then. Spending more than you should is good for you now and then. However, there is a smart way to do it. Spend your money on experiences, or things that can be sold later to recoup some or all of the cost.
- I started this blog. I wanted to share some of the things I had been taught with the world, but I ended up learning more than I ever imagined. Over 178,000 people follow this site these days, so I feel more of a responsibility than ever to give sound advice. As I dig for content for this site, it has led me to awesome advice that I never would have come across otherwise. If you want to take your expertise in something to the next level, just start teaching what you know to others.
Q:to buy or lease a car?
Why do you really want a new car?
Anyone who owns a car has felt that itch to get a new one at some point. We see the newer models drive by, and our mind begins to think about how great it would be to ditch our old ride for something shiny and new that doesn’t have crumbs filling the seat cracks.
But, think for a moment about the reasons you could be tempted into trading in your car for a new one. You’re at the car dealership looking at the sun glinting off the hood. You climb into the driver’s seat and take notice of the shiny dashboard, the freshly vacuumed carpet, and the wonderful smell. You glance over at your old car and notice how crummy it looks in comparison. Sure, it drives fine, but it just seems so…meh.
Now, think about what’s actually selling you here. It’s not that the car is new. It’s the fact that it’s clean. You’re just yearning for a car that isn’t filled with dust and the smell of old french fries.
The good news is, you can have that without dropping $20,000 on a new car.
You might be surprised at how much more appealing your car is after it’s been washed, waxed, and detailed. That’s how the dealerships can buy a 10 year old car for $2,500 and then turn around and sell it for $5,000.
Many people view a car detail as an unnecessary expense. But, if spending $100 on a thorough cleaning keeps you from taking on a new monthly car payment, it’s actually one of the best financial moves you could ever make.
Articles like this make me shake my head.
I’m all for cutting back on the amount of fuel used to help the environment, but simply posing it as a money issue is only fueling the histeria (yes, pun intended!) surrounding gas prices.
Admit it. We start to act a little crazy when gas prices go up a few cents. It’s because we face the problem every time we fill up, and we are reminded of it every time we pass by a gas station sign. Purely from a psychological standpoint, it’s no wonder that it drives us nuts (yes, pun intended again!).
We start to drive across town to save 5 cents, become driving hazards by attempting to coast everywhere, and spend precious time pouring over articles on how to improve our fuel efficiency by 7%.
The fact is, we all have bigger fish to fry. By that, I mean we all have other issues to work on that have a much greater impact on our financial lives.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Technology That Saves You Money
Have you ever been ripped off by a mechanic? If not, you probably don’t own a car.
Mechanics are notorious for inflating the seriousness of your car problems, and the only way to combat it is to be informed.
If your car’s check engine light comes on, or it starts making a weird sound, plug in an Auto Scanner to get an idea of what the problem could be. When you take it to the mechanic, tell them up front that you know what the problem is. The more you appear to be informed, the less likely they are to try and rip you off.
It could pay for itself in one visit to the shop.
Some auto parts stores will scan your car’s computer for free, but you can’t always guarantee that you’ll be able to make it to one when there’s a problem with your car.