Over the past month or so I’ve come across many great personal finance bloggers. Some of them I’ve managed to befriend and others I am constantly trying to get to know better. In an effort to accomplish two goals at once, (1) of getting to know each blogger better and (2) providing useful information to anyone who reads Pelican on Money, I thought it would be best to ask some very important questions:
- What is the best money advice you ever got?
- If there was only one money tip you could give, what would it be?
Some of the answers were a bit surprising, showing strong signs of family influence vs. personal experience. Well… I won’t spoil the fun, so take a look for yourself what some prominent personal finance bloggers have to say about money:
Know where you money is going.
The best money advice I ever got was from my Mom: She said, “Never let a man pay your bills. It gives him control”. It was ingrained in me, and I think it’s kept me from making some of the financial mistakes other girls have made. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve made plenty of financial mistakes that were hard to clean up. I can’t imagine having to deal with that and a bad romance on top of it.
My grandma told me a long time ago to always decide how much money you were going to spend before going somewhere. Grab that money in cash. Then be strong. Once that money is gone, you’re done! Go home!
When I was in middle school my teacher taught us all about credit. It was a bit odd seeing as he was our French teacher, but I have a hunch he had a rack of credit card debt and wanted to prevent his students from making the same mistakes he made. Anyway, he told us to only buy something with a credit card if we had the cash to pay it off right away. Ever since then I’ve been conditioned to my credit cards off way because I even get my monthly statements.
I never really got any direct form of financial advice as I started reading personal finance blogs in either late high school or early college. The best financial advice I ever read was to start saving for retirement with your first job and I did so with my first post college job! It’s definitely paying off.
The best money tip I ever received was fairly specific, but it was my then-boss convincing me that I probably wouldn’t find a better opportunity than after the crash in 2008 to start my retirement fund.
Save before you buy. It sounds so simple and so easy, but it’s one of the hardest things to do!
Always try and be your best, and don’t sell yourself short. If you believe you are worth more, strive for that!
The best money advice I ever got was from my dad. He always has two money clips in each of his pants’ pockets. One is for spending (for the family/himself) and the other is for giving. While saving money and earning more is great, the best thing you can do with your money is give it to someone who needs it more. There’s always plenty of time to make more money, but you make the best impact when you share and give of yourself and your money to others.
My mom always says “you can’t take it with you’. While it’s important to save and build wealth to achieve goals and live a comfortable, satisfying life, it’s equally as important to enjoy your money.
The best money advise I ever received was non-verbal. Watching my parents do things the right way was all I needed. I saw the way they planned out everything. I had a really nice childhood, but I didn’t always get everything I wanted. Sometimes planning for our family to go on a nice vacation came before me getting to buy that new video game or anything else I might have wanted.
Live within your means.
The best money advice I ever got is the same as my money tip: live on 50% of your net income, save 30% and party with 20%.
My high school economics teacher drilled into us the wisdom of the “great Indian chief” – Chief TANSTAFL. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Everything has a cost – know what it is or you’re the sucker in the room.
My first advice from my dad was still the best one I consider. That simple statement made the world of difference for me. One day while doing his gardening, he showed me seeds and said, “We can eat the seeds but, then the plant will not grow and we will not get the fruits.” On the same day he showed me a bill and said “like seed in the morning, this money will also not grow if I spend it now, this can only grow if I make it work, then we will have more money to spend.”
When I was a little boy, I used to collect baseball cards. Not only did I do it for fun, I realized as I’d go to the trade shows that the cards were worth money. So over time, I started to read the price guides and become aware of what the price was for these cards. Well, one time I thought I hit gold! A store had a few factory complete sets on clearance for $10. Being only about 11 years old and short on cash, I bought 3 of them and figured I could easily sell 1 or 2 of them for $30 each like the price guide said. I’d be rich! Unfortunately, when I tried to peddle them around at the next baseball card show I attended, I was only offered about $8 to $12 for each. ”This is ridiculous” I thought, “If the price guide says $30, why are they only offering so little?” That’s when my Dad told me something I’ve never forgotten: “It doesn’t matter what the price guide says. Those cards are only worth what someone is willing to pay you.” - Since then, I have found out throughout my life that those words hold true to a lot more things than just baseball cards.
The best money advice I ever got was from a former manager and mentor. She suggested I start an RRSP and said, “It’s pretty easy to set up and they just take $50 a month from my account. I don’t even have to think about it.” She was the most successful person I knew at the time – she had a condo, a cat and a dog, and she even rode horse riding competitions on the weekends. I wanted to be like her! So I started thinking about my own finances and what it would take to save $50 a month. From there, everything just fell together.
My mom always told me to get an education first and always be able to support yourself no matter what.
It all adds up! Even if you can only start out saving small amounts (or paying off small amounts), it will eventually add up over time, as will your momentum.
My biggest money tip is no matter what you do make a plan. If you are saving for something have your contributions planned out so you know when you should be reaching this goal. By planning things out in advance you are able to hold yourself accountable if you get off track.
If I could give only one money tip it would be to wait until your junior year of college to get a credit card. Kids rush out as freshmen and get one and they’re not nearly as focused or responsible at 18 as they are at 21. That two years makes a BIG difference, and credit cards are just too tempting for most undergrads who have never had to manage money before.
I think about my kids with this question. If there were only one money tip I could give them, it would be to always pay yourself first. This is one that took me years to learn, but I’m hoping they will catch on quicker! By paying yourself first, I mean that you don’t buy things you want before you have enough money to do so, and only as long as you have an adequate savings first.
Live within your means. I know it’s not really original, but I really do think it’s easier said than done and is the main reason why so many people are drowning in debt these days.
If I could only give one tip it would be spend significantly less than you earn and invest/save the rest. The earlier you do it the sooner you will be financially independent.
My best money tip would be to ask yourself one simple question before buying anything: do I actually need this? I could have saved myself tens of thousands of dollars by learning that question earlier.
Tell yourself “no” as often as possible when you are considering buying something. Most of our impulse buys only contribute to financial struggles.
Always spend less than what you make. Don’t put something on a credit card unless you are positive that you will be able to pay it off before interest accrues. Credit cards can work to your advantage with short-term increased cash flow, but if you can’t pay it back, then it can be deadly.
My one money tip is educate yourself. Never do something just because a financial expert tells you to, or because your accountant says you need to. Question everything – even notices from the IRS have been wrong and were corrected after I questioned them. Do your best to read blogs, books and other finance resources to educate yourself, because you are the only one who truly has your best interest at heart.
Start saving young. The younger the better!
Spend less than you earn.
Live on 50% of your net income, save 30% and party with 20%.
Spend less than you earn. A lot less if possible.
The best money tips is, “live below your means”. This is the one point solution for all financial worries. If you start following this one advice you may not need to read anything else.
The best money tip I could ever give is something I’ve been saying for a number of years now: “No one cares about your money the way you do!” Sure you can hire people to manage your money or seek advice from people you trust. But at the end of the day, it’s YOUR money, and you are ultimately responsible for what happens to it. That’s why I think financial education is one of the best things you can do for yourself. We all need to stop sticking our heads in the sand and start taking charge of our own finances.
Don’t be afraid of change. Doing things like going back to school for a better career, changing jobs for more income, or moving to a cheaper apartment in a new part of town will always make you more money than making your own soap or reusing yogurt containers.
Make goals and have a plan. Knowing what you are sacrificing/saving for will motivate you to stick with your plan and make it much more likely to reach your money – or what I like to call life – goals.
Find something you love or don’t mind doing that you can earn a living at then get the training or education to make it happen.