8 Not So Free Ways to Change Your Money Habits
by China Brooks
1. Read books and magazines
Some titles are not offered at the library for free and this is where sending some money comes into play. Alibris always has great prices, Amazon is good, and I always support my local independently owned bookstore. I recently spoke with a successful retired broker who told me that The Economist is a good magazine. Do you know of any fantastic financial periodicals that are worth spending money on? Please let me know!
There are countless financial seminars you can take. I'm sure they will try to up sell you while you're there though, so be careful of that. But if you know what you're getting yourself into, you could get some fantastic information.
3. Classes and Workshops
Take classes at a local college or university. If you need help taking action, a class or workshop can work wonders for you. You can also ask your tax preparer of any learning opportunities they are aware of. The IRS offers classes as well, just check their website.
4. Dave Ramsey and Robert Kiosaki
There is free information on their website (YouTube as well) but if you want most of the really good stuff, you have to pay for it. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover which I believe is well worth the money. If you aren't familiar with the Rich Dad Poor Dad series (Robert Kiosaki), please make that happen. I own about nine the books from that series. In 2004 Kiosaki predicted everything that is going on right now. I wish I had discovered his books years before I actually did.
5. Column Note Books and Money Tracking Software
Buy some column note books from an office supply store. I use them to keep track of everything from taxes (I have to log my mileage and expenses), keep my checking account balanced, and keep track of my savings accounts/ fund accounts. I like to know exactly how much money (down to the penny) I have in my checking account, which keeps me from ever over-drafting and shows me where my money is going.
Digital software such as XERO and QUICKBOOKS can help you keep your finances organized.
6. Cushion That Checking Account!
If you always keep extra money in your checking account (a cushion of $300 and up), you will never overdraft.
7. Overdraft Protection
We all overdraft sometimes, it happens. I have even over-drafted when I had tons of money in my savings, simply because I was lazy and didn't transfer any money to my checking. Overdraft fees are ridiculous though and be to avoided all together with planning. If you have access to a credit union, I highly recommend you bank with them. My credit union (SAG) has an overdraft protection program. Bank of the West (regular banking) has a program where you can pay $10 a year and receive overdraft protection. You have to qualify for these things which is why keeping your money organized is essential. If you are organized and pay your bills on time, your credit will be good and you will gain access to privileges that some citizens don't get.
8. Pay Your Bills In Full
If you pay certain bills (like car insurance) all at once, you can save money over the course of six months to a year. Instead of paying month by month, see if paying six months to a year in advance will score you a discount.