Spending money probably comes easy to you by now. But do you know what your money is really worth? We’re not talking about its monetary value, but its value in your day-to-day life. Here are some good ways to become money smart.
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re at the store and impulse buy something right away. But you’ll be better off if you make a list of what you want and how much it costs (do some research online) and then put together a plan on how and when you can get what you want. Sometimes that “must-have” thing you saw at the store isn’t what you want to buy a month later. Planning ahead gets you what you want without blowing all your money! Plus, it gives you an idea how much you’ll have to work to earn the money to pay for things on your list.
Not sure what your money goals should be? Then, play the “What If” game. It’s a combination of daydreaming and real planning. Ask yourself, “What if I had $1,000? What would I do with it?” Play it with other denominations as well, either larger or smaller. You might find the less money you “what if,” the more real your money goals get. Keep a record of your answers and then check back and update it every year. You’ll be surprised at how your goals change.
Do you have any idea what your family’s last grocery bill was? How about what your parents pay each month on the house and utility bills? Chances are you have no clue. Next time you go grocery shopping bring a calculator and add up every purchase as your parents put items in the shopping cart. You’ll soon see how fast it all adds up. You could also sit down with your parents next time they pay the monthly bills and see how much money comes in versus what the mortgage, gas, electric and cable bills all cost. After that, you might find yourself turning off lights without being asked!
While you’re sitting with mom and/or dad going over the bills, have them show you their credit card bill or bills. You’ll soon see how much a credit card really costs. The interest really adds up if you don’t pay it off – and credit card bills show you what you pay in interest each month. Before you know it those $75 pair of sneakers you had to have might end up costing your parents nearly $100 if they don’t pay off their balance.
If you take the time to do one, two or all three of the above tips you’ll not only be smarter about money – you could have newfound respect for your parents and every penny they spend on you. And if that happens, make sure you thank them every once in a while!