How to Be a Grown-Up About Your Finances

March 25, 2011  |  

Sick of making the same wrong choices and feeling like you’ll never have “grown-up” money? Here are some basic rules that can help…

Don’t accumulate new debt past a certain age
So ya have the school loans, the credit card debt and all the not-yours money hanging over your head: fine. Now, you have to determine the point at which you will stop accumulating new debt. During your younger years, you may have made some financial choices that you wouldn’t necessarily make now. After a certain age, you need to work on being debt-free, not accumulating more debt–unless, for example, you don’t have any debt on your hands, and you’re buying a house for a really good deal. Other than one or two key scenarios, you have to shut down the debt party. See the next point on managing “necessary” debt.

Don’t commit to any payment schedule for which you can’t obtain the full amount
The last point was really saying: “no more overwhelming and unnecessary debt.” Don’t buy anything you can’t pay for in the short run. If you have to buy braces for your child that cost $3,000, make sure that you can most definitely afford that $3,000 over a year, if you enter a payment plan/schedule that allows you to pay off the “braces debt” in a year. Also, look for deals that allow you to get the same exact braces for less money, and create a budget that adds (3,000 divided by 12) = $250 to your monthly expenses, so that the payment is well accounted.

Don’t sign any financial documents without full review
If you don’t know what APR stands for, or what the terms in a financial transaction mean, then consult someone who does! Don’t just sign off on something without reading it, and don’t fall for marketing tactics used by banks and other sellers. The bottom line question for you should always be: how much will this cost me, and over a period of how long?

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