When I was a little girl, it took me several tries before I finally mastered the art of riding a bicycle that was not equipped with training wheels and a pink and white basket. Conversely, when I was a high school student, it took me more than one trip to the DMV before I was the proud owner of a driver’s license. In short, moving vehicles are not my forte. But for real…in the midst of my maneuvering mishaps, I learned a valuable lesson:
It often takes more than one failure to perfect (or at least improve) the status quo.
The same situation applies to money management. I entered college completely oblivious about anything and everything that has to do with handling money. However, over the past year, I have learned more about money control than I ever learned in the past two decades. After my Dad set me up with a checking account at a local bank within the first few weeks of my college career, I took advantage of the belief that I had plenty of money to last me a semester. Nevertheless, as the weeks started to pass and my bank account started to dwindle, I realized that money is not disposable, especially since I did not have a job to replenish what I was spending. Wow; I could say that I had an epiphanic moment…or I could say that I had just gotten some common sense knocked into me.
It took me a couple of arbitrary purchases and a shameful conversation with my Dad in order for me to learn my lesson about money management in college. As I am entering my sophomore year, I feel as though my checkbook is in a better place than it has ever been. I regularly do several small tasks in order to make sure that my money is under control…under MY control.
First, I balance my checkbook on a regular basis; therefore, I always know the status of my checking account. One of my initial mistakes was writing checks and not recording the information in my checking log for several days, often weeks.
Next, my paycheck is directly deposited into my bank account. I worked at a food establishment for a summer in which I received weekly checks that I cashed at my workplace. It was definitely tempting for me to purchase unnecessary items while carrying around a wad of cash, using that rationale that I had plenty of green paper to justify the purchase. In layman’s terms, go for the direct deposit route.
Further, it is imperative to be intentional about purchases. Don’t go shopping just for the sake of going shopping; be evaluative. If you realize that you need a new pair of tennis shoes, go to the store to buy a new pair of tennis shoes; do not meander into another department or even check out the clearance racks. It does not matter if something is a good deal, for it is not worth buying unless you really need it.
After traversing over gravel for a little too long and getting stuck in one too many potholes, I feel as though from here on out it will be smooth sailing.
This week’s guest writer is Laura. We know that she’s a fantastic biker now, an avid reader, and a wild singer. She loves giving back to the community, and Aridni feels lucky that she’s offered her Indiana perspective for our Saturday Strategies.
If you’d be interested in being our next Saturday Strategist, let us know..