On a teacher salary, I’ve never been “rolling in the dough”.
However, I’ve never felt financially stretched too thin either.
A HUGE reason for this is because my husband and I manage our money well.
We know exactly how much money is coming in each month (I track it using my budget binder you can find on my blog and my bank app). We also track our spending so we aren’t rocked by a big expense that might come up out of the blue, or stressed when we plan a fun 2 week trip to Europe (coming this late June! :))
Money can be a gigantic stress in life, but it doesn’t have to be.
The “WHY” – Why is Managing Your Money Well Important?
I personally don’t believe there is just one correct answer to why managing your money is important. For me, a few answers come to mind that you might resonate with you as well.
1. Managing your money wisely will create a healthy environment in your home that is ultimately stress-free when it comes to finances.
I grew up in a financially secure home. I never had to hear my mom and dad fight over finances because we couldn’t afford something. We didn’t have debt. I was never told “no” to an opportunity because of money.
I assure you I am not telling you this to brag. It has nothing to do with me. It’s all because my Dad and Mom managed their money well. We lived in a modest house that my parents still live in today. 25+ years living in that home. It was the smallest house of all my friends. Nothing fancy but everything we needed. My parents didn’t feel the need to buy a bigger house to keep up with the Jones’s. They certainly could have.
I also drove a hand-me-down beater 1995 Subaru Outback throughout high school. It had been through the ringer – first my dad drove it as his commuting vehicle, then my sister, then my brother who royally crashed it and dad never bothered to fix the body work, and finally, me.
I assure you I’m not complaining. I chuckle as I think about that car. In the last months of it’s life smoke would billow out from under the hood as I was stopped at a red light. It constantly smelled of burning oil and the steering wheel would violently shake when I accelerated over 50 mph on the freeway.
I may have hated it at the time, but I am so thankful my parents provided a car for me to use throughout my high school days. And that car was just one more example of how my parents managed their money well. What’s the point in buying a new car if the one you own still works for your teenage new driver?
2. You will be prepared for the future.
It’s no mystery that the future can surprise us. If I were to ask you what you’ll be doing 5 years from now on May 5th, 2024, I don’t believe you’d be able to answer that question.
You don’t know if some major life event could happen that will leave you in a financial predicament. There are many different scenarios that could leave you in the bank account hurt tank. This is why saving money is so important.
Dave Ramsey teaches the importance of having an emergency fund, and I couldn’t agree more.
I also believe saving for retirement starting in your 20s (or starting today if your past your 20s) is vital. Here’s a quick guide to saving for retirement if you’re interested.
3. Our job is to manage God’s creation and everything in it.
If you believe in God, then I’m going to assume you also believe that everything in this world is created by God. In Genesis 1, God gave humans the job of managing the world and everything in it.
“God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:28 NASB).
“The LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15 NASB).
That includes money. Managing everything in the world includes creating with the tools God gave us, selling, and making money. We then manage the funds we receive.
When you manage your income well (by saving, giving 10% or more back to God, paying your bills, and not overspending/going into unnecessary debt), you are doing one part of carrying out God’s command of managing everything in the world by managing your money well.
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How Can I Manage My Money Wisely?
1. Know Your Income
Your first step is to track your income and figure out how much you make each month. I realize some jobs do not have a set salary or paycheck each month so track for a few months and get a ballpark range.
2. Track Your Spending
Your second step is to track your spending. There are all kinds of apps you can use (some free, some with a monthly fee) to track what you’re spending your money on each month.
If you don’t feel the need to use an app (I don’t use one), then get used to checking your bank account and credit cards to track what your spending money on. I have my credit card app and my bank app on my phone so I can login whenever I’d like to see what my husband and I are spending our money on.
Either way to track your spending works, it just depends on what you prefer.
3. Identify What Your Spending Unnecessary Money On
Whether it be subscriptions you don’t need, an abundance of clothing, food (usually a top contender), or something else, there are always ways to cut back on your spending.
4. Create a Plan
Now that you’ve discovered how much you make, how much you’re spending, and where you need to cut back, it’s time to create a plan.
Figure out what you need to do each month to stay out of the red and put money into savings.
You could create a plan completely on your own (perfectly doable), or you could use a resource that’s already been created.
I’ve created a 12 month budget binder that is helpful with tracking income, tracking fixed expenses/variable expenses, tracking bill due dates, paying off debt, tracking money put into savings, and identifying goals for future months.
The Budget Binder may not fit everyone needs (some people like all things to be digital). If that’s you, you could create a plan using some other resource such as the app digit, which tracks the money in your bank account and automatically adds money to savings for you (the easiest way to start if you’ve never saved money before).
Another option if you want a more intensive budgeting/savings/investment tracking plan is Mint.
If none of these options sound good to you, no worries. There are plenty of other budget planning apps and resources out there for you to use. Do your research and pick what’s best for you.
I encourage you to decide what will work best for you or you and your spouse when it comes to managing money. Find a plan and stick to it!
That’s The Ticket!
And that’s it my friends, the numero uno way to feel financially stress-free is to have a plan for your finances and stick to it!
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I know creating a financial plan can be daunting but you will be so happy you did. When life gives you lemons, you’ll be prepared to make lemonade because you’ve got an emergency fund and savings to get you through it.
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Resources That I Love:
Ibotta: Ibotta is an awesome cash back app that you can use on your smart phone to earn cash back rewards simply for shopping. It includes many popular stores such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, Costco, Fred Meyer, Thrive Market, and many more. When you download the app, use my referral code here to earn your first $10, and start inviting your friends to start earning huge bonuses!
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TIP: Download the free and easy to use cash back button on Ebates.com so any time you go to an online website that offers cash back through Ebates, you can click the button to automatically get cash back from your order.
MyPoints: MyPoints is a rewards program that gives you points for reading e-mails, shopping, taking surveys, doing web searches, and more. Once you earn a certain amount of points, you can redeem them for a gift card of your choice to over 75 merchants. They also offer free access to coupons to hundreds of different merchants daily. I’ve already earned a $25 AMC gift card and a $50 Amazon gift card in 2 months just by using Mypoints 5-10 minutes per day before I roll out of bed. Sign up and start earning here.
Groupon: Groupon is a deal-of-the-day recommendation service for anything from restaurants to vacations to electronics. Every 24 hours, Groupon broadcasts an electronic coupon for a restaurant or store in your city, recommending that local service while also offering you a 40% to 60% discount if you purchase that service. I use Groupon AT LEAST a few times a month if not more. I just had my oil changed at Jiffy Lube for $20 when it would’ve cost me $60 without the deal. Groupon has saved me thousands of dollars over the years. I never go anywhere without checking Groupon first. Use my link to save $10 on your next purchase with Groupon!