Friday, June 11, 2010

if only i was good in math.

lately i've been itching to learn something. today i almost bought a chinese brush painting kit in barnes and noble. i didn't though. it was almost 20 bucks and our mortgage is due on tuesday. so i thought about a billboard i saw driving into work on the parkway that said, "teach your children to be a more financially responsible generation."

so instead, i bought two books. (on ebay, used of course!)

for whatever reason, i've become fascinated by figuring out how this ridiculous life works. mostly in the financial department. so much of it is complete and UTTER bullsh*t. (like the fact that we just refinanced our home and in essense saved ourselves 200k) -although in the same vein, most of us are not the best with our restraint, and will jump at anything new and techy, or fast and shiny, so why shouldn't it all be bull and we're the ones letting the big companies "trick" us into the poorhouse!

personally, some things i've learned since i graduated college would be:

a. knowing the difference between needs and wants. i know that i need toilet paper, i know that i don't need 60 addidas joggarinas. (but i WANT them)

b. i'm working on not paying interest on ANYTHING other than our mortgage. although i know it's a necessary evil (my school loans and cars) those are low interest, and somewhat "ok" and justifiable to me. plus, school loans are considered "good debt."

c. i will never under ANY circumstances buy a new car. ever again. EVER. hands down the dumbest thing i've financially ever done. i will super glue my daughter's ass to a wall if she ever tries to do that.

d. live like you're dying. but still save as much as you can! in our case, we pay WAY too much for childcare, but still somehow manage to save over $200 dollars a month for lottie's college/wedding fund. it's not much now, but when she's out of daycare that we could technically save for her over $900 a month. i care about my daughter and i want her to be accountable for some debt, but i want her to start her life out right.

e. if it's not there, you won't miss it. this is how we put money away for lottie in her "fund" and also how i've been saving for a new car (the old ones are going to blow at ANY minute i'm fearing) and also for our family vacation to mexico. for the short terms things (mexico and car fund)- we use www. it's a great solution for the short term and you can even get 10 percent back for certain retailers. amazing!

f. just because we look poor doesn't mean we are. i have to get over that we drive 2 clunkers, and live in a modest house. but we have our 401k's, savings accounts and kids are not cheap!

g. people won't know if you got their kid's birthday present from the dollar store. get over "showing off."

h. don't buy on impulse (if i want something, i stop, and walk away from it for a day, and usually it was emotional and not because i needed it) and also, buy clothing on the off season! everybody that complains about how much kids clothing costs isn't doing it right. i can usually outfit my daughter for a whole season for around 30 bucks.

i. i absolutely don't get people that have children in diapers (and wipes) that don't have a costco membership. it's saving us over 700 dollars a year. if you don't do this, your money is literally getting sh*t on.

j. i absolutely can tell you that taking all of your debt and combining it into 1 low interest loan is the way to go. it gives you something to focus on instead of being so scattered about your debt. it also forces you to take a good hard look at what you actually owe. we did this around november. we took out a 7k, 30 month loan, and now have it down to 1.5k. that's in 7 months! i loved that i could actually see it going down and it forced me to make extra payments and almost became like a game.

k. scratch and dent people. seriously. get 500 knocked off a new appliance with a tiny scratch? OH YA.

so anyway, that's just some of the things i've learned and i wanted to put down in writing. (there's so much more, i could probably write 16 pages, typed!) hopefully i can teach some of the basics to my daughter because i feel like i was totally financially clueless. i'd even avoid opening bills. (who does that!?) a 22 year old i guess. i remember laying on a fold out couch with my then boyfriend, and even crying a little because one of us bounced a check.

i know there is SO much that i don't know. i want to learn about stocks, and bonds, and have learned a little, but nothing solid enough to go on etrade and invest a couple hundred.

if you were patient enough to read this long ranting post, what are your favorite tips!? i'd LOVE to know! :)


Adrienne Jewelry Designs said...

Great ideas Dev! I really liked your tip about impulse buying. When I was a teenager with my first job (eons ago) my mother told me to figure out how many hours I would have to work to buy any given item. It seemed I was always putting some item I just had to have in the shopping basket only to return it to the rack before leaving the store. It made me realize how valuable my time was and how much I could live without!

3StinkyBoysAndMe said...

Great post, Devon! I'm such a thrifty girl as well and really enjoyed all the tips. Keep 'em coming!