In the spirit of my last post, my friend Alison’s comment, and the fact that the first word of my subtitle is pennies, I’ve decided to write my very first money-related (doesn’t that sound so much less daunting than financial) post here as a little girl in the big world.
I love personal finance. I love reading books about personal finance. Stick with me here if you hate talking about money, unless it’s what you’re spending it on…I promise it isn’t going to be boring or overwhelming. Here are a few of my favorites that are good to get started with:
You have to read them all with a grain of salt and pick which tip you like best. Suze will knock you over the head with her 6-8 month emergency fund and you could play drinking games related to the number of times Dave Ramsey says “debt snowball”. That being said, they’re fabulous and a great way to dip your big toe into the world of money-related books.
This is where I got started. I owe it partially to my dad, who let me buy stocks with my allowance and birthday money growing up, and partially to my friend Darrah, whom I lived with after college and was also interested in these types of books.
My first move that set me on my way to understanding finances better was to open a high-yield savings account. I picked e*trade. There are so many out there that have good rates; I think e*trade is actually not one of the higher right now. When I started, I was earning 5.25% on my money, and that’s obviously not possible right now, but I can assure you that 1%+ is better than what your checking account or brick and mortar bank savings account is paying you. Go to bankrate.com to find a bank that you’re comfortable with (they have ratings and rates there). Then, start one! While I think I only made about $75 on mine last year, it was better than $0 leaving it in checking.
Once opening one (the big leap), I just got used to transferring money into it online every month. I started small, but once I saw the money growing, I liked to look back and see how much I was making once the interest posted at the end of the month. I made a commitment to myself that any money that I put into my savings account wasn’t to be touched unless it was something that I had pre-planned to save for. I’ve been good about this since starting; I was careful not to transfer something over unless I knew I didn’t need it for the month.
Getting comfortable with an online high-yield savings account was the first step for me in my financial journey. Since starting three years ago, I’ve continued to keep a high-yield account or two, but I’ve also ventured into other areas of finances. More on that later.
Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t tightened my belt to the point where I don’t splurge on an occasional