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Maturing Kindly: Stacking Those Coins

Money is an essential tool for getting through our day-to-day routines, but unless you’re rolling in dough, adults of all ages struggle with keeping their finances afloat.

As a broke college student, I had to quickly discover a balance between spending money 'just because I have it', and preserving money 'in case I need it'.

Here are 4 ways to effectively stack your coins:

1. Prioritize.

With every paycheck, determine the costs of your bills and subtract that from your paycheck first, then work with what you have left. If you’re a visual learner, create a chart or calendar that states when you get paid and how much is needed for each necessity during that time period. Cross off each priority and when you’re done, note the extra money that’s left so you can reference it later.

2. Tuck it away.

Depending on the amount you’re comfortable with, establish a set amount to put into the bank and how many times you’ll add to it a month. Open a savings account with a complex password or with security answers that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of. This complexity can serve as a reminder that this is your 'untouchable account' that should only be accessed in times of emergency. When you’re ready to begin, choose an accountability partner that you trust to give this information and ask them to be a source of encouragement. This way, if you have an emergency and can’t remember your password they can give it to you or talk you off the ledge when you’re ready to risk it all. If you’re a pro in keeping track of your credentials, then don’t give anyone your password, however, having a person in your corner to help maintain self-control never hurts.

3. Act like you don’t have it!

We all enjoy spending time with the people we love and it usually involves one of our favorite pastimes: eating. Especially with the upcoming holiday season, our families and friends will have plenty occasions to go out to dinner or a celebratory event. But if we’re saving, we have to be creative when we don’t want to be anti-social. Before agreeing to attend, research menus, cover charges and things of that sort so you’re able to make a conscious decision about if you can actually afford to go and how much you're willing to spend. No matter how the night unfolds, once you reach your spending limit, say your goodbyes and go home! Peer pressure won’t put money in your wallet.

Another budgeting alternative for social outings is to “cash out.” Use cash so you can’t overspend as easily as you would with a debit/credit card.

4. Make being frugal a new way of life

Although there’s often negativity associated with being frugal, I’ve become quite comfortable with balling on a budget.

Of course, I’m not advising you to go completely crazy and become an “extreme couponer”, I’m simply encouraging us to live within our means. It’s good to reward ourselves with something we want every check or once a week, but otherwise, find ways to lessen your costs like shopping at quality but low cost stores. If you want to explore the beauty area, learn how to do your own hair and nails to avoid paying so much at your local salons.

Look for bargains at the mall instead of paying large amounts on a couple pieces of clothing.

Without a goal to revamp your views on money and spending, none of these suggestions will mean anything. I challenge you to take a long, thorough look at where you want your finances to be in the next month or year then go after it.

You’d be surprised how far a dollar can stretch.

Would you be interested in KAE forming a small group of people who set weekly spending amounts and aim to hold each other accountable?

Moments matter.

- Mel

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