According to a survey and report published by CNBC, eight out of every ten Americans is in debt. I don’t know about you, but that’s a scary statistic. And while it might be biased, it still warrants a little thought from us with regards to how our society has placed itself in this debt-heavy position in the first place.
With access to the Internet, you should have no excuses for being financially illiterate or not budgeting correctly due to the vast number of resources published by authoritative bodies like the government and average individuals that are posted everywhere online. In the same way that children shouldn’t die from easily curable or preventable diseases due to a lack of medical facilities or personnel, if you have access to the Internet then you should strive to sharpen your financial reasoning and decision making skill set.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Comparing deadly diseases to bad credit is like comparing apples to oranges.” But hear me out on this one – they’re similar because they’re both preventable and people don’t always do all that they can to prevent the worst case scenario from occurring despite being aware of its possibility. With that concern in mind, let’s talk about what you can do to save money.
Visualize Your Finances
It’s true that most humans are visual creatures – think about the common saying that a picture is worth a thousand words and you’ll begin to see what I mean. Let’s back the idea that visuals make a big difference up with some research. When it comes to interpreting data, Harvard scientist and researcher Shia Chen remarks that: “Interaction is a big ingredient of visualization. You’re not just looking at information, you’re interacting with it.”
So one thing you’ll want to note is that article is from almost a decade ago – 2009. You can imagine the insight of that statement simply based on its history, and you’ll understand that we’re not just blowing hot air when we claim that visualizing your finances will help you regulate your financial habits more efficiently whether you’re an adult or a college student just starting out with their finances.
The process of visualization is simple – and free. You actually just download a program with some free, relatively comprehensive visual functionalities like Mint or You Need a Budget (YNAB), and you’ll be on your way towards the path of pie charts and similar statistics to really strap down on planning your finances better.
Don’t Pay for What You Don’t Need
Remember those times when you were a little child, and you wanted a piece of candy or a really, cool and awesome looking game or toy? Then you probably also remember when your parents jerked you away and brought you out of the store telling you that you don’t actually need it. That’s the same principle at play here except you’re an adult now and the financial game is just a little bit more complicated that restricting yourself from impulse buys.
If you’re not too keen or don’t trust your own ability to figure out or differentiate between your wants and needs, then your next best choice might be to hire a professional to do it for you. The specialists at credit and legal firms dealing with finances like Lexington Law can help you establish a threshold and get you a cleaned up credit report.
Google Is Your Best Resource
Google is your best resource for a variety of things. In fact, it’s your best resource for everything, and that includes free online resources. Want to learn about calculus or programming? Google will reveal a ton of OpenCourseWare sites sponsored by big universities like MIT or Harvard to help you accomplish just that.
What about a new instrument that you’ve always wanted to pick up, like the piano? Turns out there’s a variety of free sites that can help you accomplish a beginner’s level of proficiency in the keyboard if you dedicate yourself to the lessons and stay on track. The problem for most people here is that they have trouble sticking to a program and drop halfway through, so there really is no free lunch to picking up new skills since you still have to put in the effort.