The Two Most Important Financial Changes to Make in 2012
The road to financial success for women in their mid-20s may seem like nothing more than a pipe dream: credit card debt, student loans or even lack of paychecks — especially in this unforgiving economy — can prevent us from adding a few extra dollars into the nest egg. Life2PointOh caught up with Marsha Baker, a consumer finance professor at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., to talk about how we can fatten up that piggy bank to get more financially stable in 2012.
Develop a budget that works.
Creating a budget takes more work that just writing out a list of bills and the cost of rent. Baker said other expenses will always crop up, so accounting for those sneak attack expenses — like paying for car repairs — means putting a little extra dough aside in addition to an emergency fund. “Everybody needs to have an emergency fund of at least one month’s salary,” Baker tells us. “And a great target would be working from somewhere like three to six months.” It’s also important to really define what emergencies would necessitate cash from the emergency fund and to make a promise with yourself to not use that money for other reasons – concerts, dinners out, Louboutin splurge, etc.
Use the right tracking tools.
For tracking how much savings you have, Baker suggests using a good tool to keep your budget organized. Software like Quicken and free-to-use websites like Mint.com are good resources for outlining where your dollars are spent and how much is going in the bank. “You’ve got to have a tool that you’re going to be consistently using for that budget,” Baker said. “But first, if more is going out than coming in, you’ve got to face that.”
How are you getting financially stable in your 20s?