First, a disclaimer: I AM NOT A FINANCIAL ADVISOR. IF YOU ARE BROKE OR LOOKING FOR INVESTMENT ADVICE, SEEK ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WHO IS, ETC ETC ETC!
Man. Money is a bitch. Seriously. But there is a certain sort of pride one gets from being on top of things which can’t really be gotten any other way.
As some of my readers may know, I have a lot of debt. When I graduated college, I owed $80k and change to various financial institutions for paying my way. Goddamn private schools.
Well, I have recently lined all my debts up (car loan, credit cards, remaining student debt) and I am now only $70k and change in the hole. Not bad, considering that I finished school only 6 years ago and for all but the last year or so was living paycheck to paycheck.
I attribute this to a number of strategies, largely developed through long discussions with Antwon (who has hella financial acumen. Seriously. He was making wise money decisions when he was like six or something).
- Pay off higher interest things first.
I have been doing this faithfully and it’s working.
- Credit cards are the devil.
I knew this but let them run away with me a little. It’s easy when you first start getting fat paychecks to live beyond your means without realizing it, especially if you’re trying to rack up points on a credit card that has a deal like frequent flier miles or (like me) free money for books.
- Whenever possible, get your debt shifted around so it’s at a lower interest rate.
Antwon is helping me with this – I’m shuffling my credit card debt so it’s all at 4% or less, and not using my cards until that’s paid off entirely.
- Learn as much as you can about this stuff.
I’ve been reading a blog with great writing and info, but a kind of scammy title: IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com. I am a huge fan of its author, Ramit. He has good info and writes clearly without being a condescending asshat.
- Track your spending.
Antwon and I are currently trying out Wesabe, which is sort of like the love child of Quicken and Flickr. It is really amazing how much money one can spend without realizing it. I mean, seriously. I am spending a surprising amount on subscriptions, for example. I am determined to get that down. I gotta make a few calls and make sure that my auto-renews get turned off and that my subscriptions to things like, say, Writer’s DIgest get cancelled. Seriously. After however many years it’s been reading that ‘zine, there is almost nothing new they have to tell me.
I think that’s everything. If I think of more stuff, I’ll add it to this post and post an update so y’all know to come back and read it. Anybody got other tips?