Monday, April 25, 2011

Don't bank on it!

Today I get to climb on my soap box (sort of.) I've decided to start shopping for a new bank. I've been with my current bank for over 3 years, but sadly their locations just aren't convenient any more. As I begin this process, I'm reminded of how scary financial stuff can be for young people.

As I was standing in line to make a deposit today, I overheard a young man asking a teller where his pay check was. She explained that it hadn't been deposited (via direct deposit) but he didn't understand. He just thought the bank had his money and he wanted it. In reality, his company hadn't paid him yet. However, in the moment, to him it seemed like a bank issue.

So, I decided that today would be a good Take Control! lesson day to talk about finances for young people. It's not my place to discuss the in's and out's of personal banking, but I can share with you a list of tips that I've found to be particularly helpful. They come from the website and will serve you well.

1. Eat breakfast at home. First of all you should always breakfast in general because if you do not then you do not save the money, you actually end up spending more money throughout the day on lunch and dinner because your energy levels are so low and your body is starving for food. The reason you should eat breakfast at home is because it is usually over priced to the max. I did not realize how cheap breakfast could be until the day I purchased a carton of eggs, some toast, and some juice. Not only was this breakfast healthier, it was cheaper and it lasted a week.
2. Look into your cell phone plan. I know that most of us are content with our current cell phone plans but we should not be because cell phone companies are in constant competition for our business. Just simply call up your cell phone provider and ask them for the available monthly plans. Once you hear all of your options tell yourself that you will pick a new plan that is at least $10 cheaper. I will discuss this matter in a later post when I try out a few tips on obtaining lower monthly plans myself.
3. Stop using your debt card. There are two reasons I recommend everyone stop using their debt cards; 1. There a lot of hidden fees that most of us have are unaware of. 2. You spend money more carelessly when all you to do is swipe a card to purchasing something. The first thing you should do is check your monthly bank statement and check how much money you pay towards bank fees. Typically, these bank fees are attributed to all of the times you swiped your debt card. On top of these bank fees, some money machines and stores charge you anywhere from $1-2 to access money through your debt card.
4. Avoid the extra latte or extra coffee. Yes I do support having a cup of coffee in the morning, but there is no point to purchase a fancy latte or to buy another cup of coffee in the evening. The reason many of us make these useless purchases is because we say it’s only a couple of bucks. It is only a couple of bucks but if you manage to save $2-3 a day by not having more caffeine than you need, you can save anywhere from $60-90 a month. Obviously the $60-90 a month will not get you rich, but over time it will add up to a good chunk of change.
5. Avoid the vending machine. On top of all the calories you will avoid, you will also avoid spending all your pocket change. Most of us have a tendancy where we walk by a vending machine and notice that we have some change in our pockets to spend that change on a bag of chips or whatver we choose to buy. Next time you walk by a vending machine and decide not to purchase anything, hold on to that dollar you just saved because after 30 days you will have $30 dollars saved.
6. Cancel something. That’s right, go ahead, and cancel one of your many monthly subscriptions. If you go to a fancy gym that costs a lot of money then try going to a cheaper gym. If you order a lot of magazines then try reading the content online or sharing with a friend. If you have an iphone or blackberry then try cancelling the data plan, chances are you already have internet access, so do you really need to see those pictures of yourself drunk from the weekend on your phone?
7. Start a change jar. Everything ties into this final point, which may seem very childish. I started a change jar in my room a year or so ago and ever since then I will wait about 6 months and then wrap up the change and take it to the bank. The change usually adds up to at least $50-80 a month, coming from all the money saved by some of the tricks above. I use this jar to hold all of my change, absolutely no exceptions, every little bit of change that I have goes into this jar. Every time I save any bit of change I throw it into the jar, even if I find a quarter or dime around the house. Believe me it all adds up.
What are you doing to Take Control! of your finances?
Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

1 comment:

  1. 1. Also do this for lunch. Cost of 2 weeks lunch ~= cost of going out for lunch 1 time.

    2. Lots of employers (including schools if you're a student employee) offer discounts on cell plans. Also, riding along as an "extra line" on your parents plan (and paying them back!) is a great way to save some dough.

    3. Know your bank's fees and policies! The more familiar you are with them, the less likely you'll be to receive a surprise $30 charge!

    4. Two words: french press. It tastes great, it's cheap, and you look like an expert while doing it.

    6. In the Age of the Internet (dun dun DUNNNNN), who needs cable TV? Netflix + regular Hulu is < $10 / month, and has more media streaming than you can watch in your lifetime.