Personalfinance tips

Love Yourself

Sure, it may sound corny, but it works. Just ask this author, who paid off $20,000 of debt after realizing that taking control of her finances was a way to value herself.

Adopt a Spending Mantra

Pick out a positive phrase that acts like a mini rule of thumb for how you spend. For example, ask yourself, “Is this [fill in purchase here] better than Bali next year?” or “I only charge items that are $30 or more.”

Set Specific Financial Goals

Use numbers and dates, not just words, to describe what you want to accomplish with your money. How much debt do you want to pay off—and when? How much do you want saved, and by what date?

Draft a Financial Vision Board

You need motivation to start adopting better money habits, and if you craft a vision board, it can help remind you to stay on track with your financial goals.

Budget About 30% of Your Income for Lifestyle Spending

This includes movies, restaurants, and happy hours—basically, anything that doesn’t cover basic necessities. By abiding by the 30% rule, you can save and splurge at the same time.

Allocate at Least 20% of Your Income Toward Financial Priorities

By priorities, we mean building up emergency savings, paying off debt, and padding your retirement nest egg. Seem like a big percentage? Here’s why we love this number.

You Can Negotiate More Than Just Your Salary

Your work hours, official title, maternity and paternity leave, vacation time, and which projects you’ll work on could all be things that a future employer may be willing to negotiate.

Do Everything Possible Not to Cash Out Your Retirement Account Early

Dipping into your retirement funds early will hurt you many times over. For starters, you’re negating all the hard work you’ve done so far saving—and you’re preventing that money from being invested. Second, you’ll be penalized for an early withdrawal, and those penalties are usually pretty hefty. Finally, you’ll get hit with a tax bill for the money you withdraw. All these factors make cashing out early a very last resort.

Give Money to Get Money

The famous 401(k) match is when your employer contributes money to your retirement account. But you’ll only get that contribution if you contribute first. That’s why it’s called a match, see?

When You Get a Raise, Raise Your Retirement Savings, Too

You know how you’ve always told yourself you would save more when you have more? We’re calling you out on that. Every time you get a bump in pay, the first thing you should do is up your automatic transfer to savings, and increase your retirement contributions. It’s just one step in our checklist for starting to save for retirement.

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