It seems counter-intuitive.
- Many people don’t make enough money, and when they live paycheck to paycheck, they easily end up in debt.
- The benefits of saving money for planned spending and checking your credit score can often not be overstated.
- Talking about money with friends, family, and even financial experts can be beneficial.
I’m not sure if I can call myself rich. I want to be, but I’m a work in progress. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m definitely improving. This is thanks to having a money coach in the corner and all the personal finance reading and writing you do at The Ascent. And ironically, being in debt (and now getting out of debt) has made me better at handling money.
I went into debt for a number of reasons, but in the end I never made enough money to save enough to live paycheck to paycheck. Many Americans are in a similar position, one more emergency to go into debt (or add to existing debt). There are many examples of unplanned expenses that have pushed us further into debt.
Thankfully, I switched jobs and worked more, which put me in a position to pay off my debt this year. I look forward to making big money in the next few years, such as buying Here’s what being in debt (and getting out of debt) has taught me.
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1. Save money for big expenses (planned and other)
This year, I budgeted and set aside money to cover an elderly cat’s teeth treatment and an older car registration and brake job (maintaining an old, paid off car is very wallet-friendly. friendly). My plan going forward is to set aside money as a slush fund for both emergency expenses and scheduled expenses that may not be covered by my average salary. It’s impossible to predict all costs, but I believe in the power of emergency funds.
2. Check Your Credit Score Regularly
Ignorance may be bliss, but knowledge is power. To this end, I am serious about checking my credit score and watching it improve as I pay off my debts. I use a consumer credit check service and I also use services provided by some credit card issuers. If anything goes wrong with my credit, I’ll be in a position to quickly find out and fix it.
Over the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has made me lose most of my preference for in-person shopping (with a few exceptions). And being able to track my money better has helped me budget for shopping trips and know how much I want to spend. I do the same when shopping online. It’s been known to keep browser tabs open for a while in order to have time to seriously consider whether to actually buy something. I also receive far fewer marketing emails than I used to.
4. Talk about personal finance
If you’re my friend, you’ve probably talked about money lately. In a group chat with your geeky friends offering some sage advice on how to save a good chunk of money before getting a new pet (like I did recently), you’ll find yourself getting pretty far . I actively discuss credit scores and overdraft fees with friends and family, always offering advice and sending links to helpful financial resources from The Ascent.
5. Ask for help when you need it
Sometimes I offer money advice that I find useful, but far more often than that I turn to others for advice. I rely heavily on friends who work in the financial industry. A fellow writer and editor at The Ascent has some great advice on retirement investing, freelancing taxes, and even sharing the money lessons you’ve learned along the way. I started working with her financial planner earlier this year and it changed my life. I look forward to our monthly meetings because I can learn and he praises me for all my progress.Financial before he has never talked to an advisor and doesn’t know how to manage his money and If coaching is available, we strongly recommend that you consult your financial advisor.
If you have money regrets too, you’re not alone. Take this opportunity to learn from your mistakes and ultimately become wiser.