This post is the second in a series about developing good habits with money.
People can offer as many tips as they’d like, harp on any point to no end, and lecture ‘til they’re blue in the face, but you probably won’t learn anything.Especially when it comes to money. That’s where habits are different. When you develop a habit, the action is second nature. You don’t need to stress over what you’re doing and divert your attention for too long of a time. Instead, with a habit, you’ve already established the rules for yourself; doing it is automatic.
With money, this is especially important. Students (or anyone, for that matter) can’t spend all their time thinking about managing their money. Personal finance should be something that’s second nature. That way you’re not spending all your time thinking about what you need to do with your money.
Start Saving Early
The sooner you start putting money away in a savings account, the faster you’ll start making money. However, remember that this isn’t money for you to spend right away. It’s only for then you need it in the future.
Put money away regularly – on a monthly basis – to reap the full benefits. You’ll be short changing yourself if you only put money away when you have it. Instead, here’s some advice for saving:
A Good Habit: Put $20 in an account every month. Think about it like a gift to yourself, and always put that money away before you pay your other bills. This way, you can never short change yourself for the future. You’ll always have your savings before you pay off your current bills.
Finding the right savings account is important to get the most out of your money. You’ll need to find an account that offers a competitive interest rate that requires a low balance to keep open without a fee. Compare savings accounts in order to find the one that meets your unique needs. Regardless, students should also look for a free to open savings account. Being a student has a few financial perks; access to free savings account is one of them (low interest rates on credit cards is another).
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Asking for help is incredibly difficult. But don’t be scared to ask for help when you’re in need. Instead of suffering alone and making mistakes alone, guidance from someone who is experienced with money can help save you the misfortune of making even bigger mistakes.
This could be someone at a bank, a friend, or a family member. If you have a question, ask it. If you are unclear about something, ask someone. With money, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Good Habit #1: Never be afraid to ask a question.
Good Habit #2: Ask lots of questions.
Still, bad things can happen even with the best of advice. If you happen to get into debt there are ways to get help. A credit counseling service can help you get your debt under control, but you’ll be spending even more money to get yourself out of debt. This should be a last resort; first, ask the advice of your family, or friends of your family, to see what your option are to manage your debt.
This article was a collaboration between Thomas Samph and Kyle Espinola. Thomas is a recent Graduate of Boston University and Kyle is a senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Both Thomas and Kyle work for FindTheBest.com, an unbiased data-driven comparison designed to help you find the best of anything from a financial advisor to section 8 housing.