Resolved to Improve Your Finances in 2010?

So have I. One of my New Year's gifts to myself this year is to continue reigning in my financial life; a process I started 3 years ago this April. I've been inspired by numerous sources along the way and, below, I've listed the wise advice of some of my favorite personal finance bloggers:

From The Ten Most Important Things I've Learned About Money and Life Since Starting The Simple Dollar by Trent Hamm:

The willingness to accept that you’re often at fault when things go wrong is a major step towards being in control of your finances and your life. Analyzing those faults and figuring out what you can do differently so you’re not susceptible to such problems is vital.
J.D. Roth at Get Rich Slowly offers his 10 Steps to Financial Success in 2010. Step #3: Review your accounts (and ask for discounts) is my favorite tip! A good place to start is with a visit to BillShrink.

Teaching your children about advertising, saving, earning and gift-giving to help you save money in the long-run is a great idea shared by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits.

Are you willing to do what it takes to reduce your spending? Ramit Sethi at I Will Teach You To Be Rich shares 30 tactical tips to help you do just that in the "Save $1,000 in 30 Days" challenge.

Jason White (Frugal Dad) reminds us that credit cards are just loans wrapped in plastic. When you go to pull out the card to purchase the newest whatever, be your own banker and ask yourself...

..."How long will it take me to repay this loan?" (a simple starting question that evaluates whether you can afford not only the purchase price but the additional cost of the interest)

..."Am I willing to suspend the purchase for 30 days?" (an effective way to limit the effects of impulse spending is to note the item on a list with the date and consider the purchase 30 days later)

...And, a question I ask myself is, "Is this worth leveraging my future?" (Sure I want this thing, and right now too, but do I want the added problems that can arise from getting it now versus saving up to buy it later?)

As you increase your awareness about your finances, I hope the wise advice of those above will help you zero in on what really matters to you and what doesn't.

Until next time...Take Care Of You!

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Suzanne Sergis said...

Hi Suzanne, great post and awesome resources! I've learned a lot about finances from great blogs, too, more than I was taught growing up or even from a college education, for that matter!

One of the best things I ever did was learn to pay myself first, to take a set amount of money out of my income and not touch it, no matte what, and make do with the rest. Between doing that and not racking up new bills, my financial life is is much more serene than I ever thought it could be... Wish I could have known those lessons longer ago!

Miche :)

Suzanne Sergis said...

I must have been lucky as I have never been a spender for spending sake. On the contrary, I had to learn to spend on myself. However when I am tempted to buy something my first question is always "where could I put it" not knowing where to put it and then having to have to deal with that problem would ruin my urge to purchase straight away.

Suzanne Sergis said...

You and me both about knowing these lessons long ago! ;-)

My parents taught me zero good stuff and all I learned was that I didn't want to follow the example of the bad stuff. Well, I did accomplish that but then made different goof-ups. The mechanics of utilizing money smarter, saving, etc. was something I had to learn through trial and error. I'm extremely fortunate to have went through that time with the help of the internet and all the awesome insight I could absorb, like the posts of those authors! Now I am fortunate to share my adulthood "rebirth" with you all here and get the support/encouragement it provides. What luck!

As an all-or-nothing thinker, I didn't fully realize that paying myself first (and all the good stuff that brings about) can happen whether the amount I set aside is a nice-sized chunk or just a couple of dollars.

During my adulthood "rebirth", my babysteps have went from just contributing the minimum 4% to my 401k at my old work for the employer match (I didn't pay attention to the dollar amount because I couldn't actually acknowledge that "lost money" or I'd lose my will to continue. So crazy!) to now regularly increasing my contribution to my 403b at my new work as I get raises and saving 20% after taxes for other things than retirement. We really do learn to adjust our living to what's left over and those savings start showing their immense rewards very quickly. That has been a part of this journey; learning that buying is not (always) fulfilling but that saving is.

Look at the size of this reply! I always get so chatty with you. Thank you for your thoughtful comments here, Miche. I greatly appreciate it.

Suzanne Sergis said...

Wilma, some might say "Lucky you!" but I wouldn't be so quick to jump to that. Not being able to balance our spending includes not being able to feel alright spending on ones self. I'm glad that you have learned how to include yourself in the priority line.

And, for the clutter-clearing side of me, I am thrilled that you have the wisdom to balance your purchases with a question like that! Hopefully, you have ended up with a more peaceful life with less mental and physical clutter, and few regrets.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I always appreciate it when you stop by!

Suzanne Sergis said...


You certainly found some of the best advice that is out there in the blogosphere. Ramit, Jason, JD and Trent, are voices that have left a strong imprint on me this past year, and i know they will remain there for quite some time.

Here's to you starting 2010 off on the right foot and hopefully it will be a successful year for you and your finances.

Suzanne Sergis said...

Thanks Brian! I agree; out of the numerous PF blogs out there, these guys write good stuff, or at least what resonates with me.

So far, some goal setting changes I made at the end of last year have overflowed quite nicely into 2010 and influenced more positive changes. I'm still not completely out of that crack in our financial foundation that I felt into but I'm on my way!

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