Personal Finance Advice: Being Broke Ain’t Cute: Robbing Yourself of Today to Pay for Tomorrow

Jennifer Lynn of the personal finance site, Broke A** Student, gives us tips on how to stop robbing ourselves of a successful financial future.

True wealth accumulation dismantles the philosophy of, “let’s forget about tomorrow only to live for today

Are you still frittering money away on purchases through credit cards by paying for ‘stuff’ with future earnings? Does the thought of savings (or lack thereof) still leave you squirming and feeling uneasy?

Isn’t it time to break free from restrictive habits and follow a wiser path to complete financial freedom and peace of mind?

In essence, has your debt overwhelmed you and made you finally declare, enough is enough?

Throw away the attitude of paying for today with tomorrow’s earnings

What types of financial mentalities exist? Let’s examine a few. Do you:

  • Use credit cards to acquire the things you desire – and each month pay the minimum 2% of the total balance … forever
  • See a desired item and immediately wonder if you can afford the monthly payment
  • Quickly, conveniently and unconsciously buy as much ‘stuff’ as you can afford with current credit limits, without ever paying cash
  • Essentially, rent your lifestyle instead of owning it?

The points outlined above can be extremely seductive in a consumerist society – as well as a recipe for disaster and financial suicide. As you accumulate ‘stuff’ through frenzied credit card purchasing, you unknowingly continue building negative wealth.

Bare in mind that when you purchase an item or service, someone immediately becomes richer while you are almost instantly poorer. Therefore it’s essential to transform your consuming philosophy into a healthy outlook which allows more conscious spending. After all, wealth is no good if wasted carelessly.

So how do we shift toward a more productive and sound financial lifestyle? Here are a few starting suggestions for any income level.

  • Savings. Put away a consistent amount of income for savings (between 10% – 15% of every paycheck)
  • Goal Recognition. Keep a clear, concise list of goals and establish a ‘wish’ list – what you want now, in a year, in five years and in ten years
  • Goal Utilization. Brainstorm a realistic way to translate your wishes into specific goals with reasonable deadlines
  • Wise Spending. Slowly work toward your goals while investing prudently
  • Reap the Rewards. Align your spending habits with specified goals as you continue focusing on making your dreams a reality
  • Frugality. Keep overall spending habits down as your wealth increases
  • Conscious Spending. Learn to avoid status symbols and other unnecessary purchases (what I lovingly refer to as ‘stuff’)
  • Use Credit Cards to Your Advantage (and not the credit companies). Use credit cards with money all ready in the bank and diligently pay off the balance in full each month

Not all debt, of course, is inherently bad. When in doubt,  remember that good debt has the ability to appreciate over time (such as low-interest loans to finance a home, educational loans or starting a new business venture).

Once you find direction with your finances, it becomes much easier to reign in wild splurging and get spending under control.

Now, today, is the day to plan for tomorrow. It’s time to lift away the shackles of needless debt and chase after your dreams.

Baby Steps Are KeyStop sacrificing your tomorrow for today

Jennifer Lynn is a young, twenty-something student and writer from Western New York with a passion for financial management and personal development. She enjoys chronicling her own journey toward obtaining financial freedom and spirituality, even as a broke-a** student.

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  1. Judy says

    This is very sound advice from a 20-something.  I suspect she may be looking at her boomer parents and seeing how worried they are about their retirement years. I AM a boomer so I know the terror that most of us middle class folks are feeling.

    Credit card debt is so out of control in the US encouraged by our obsession with technology and comsumerism.  I think people think that they have their credit card limit to spend EACH month along with their salaries.

    My dad had it right when as kids we would grumble about our modest home as we would look at our neighbors’ more lavish homes and lifestyles.  He would tell us “BUT THEIR STUFF ISN’T PAID FOR”.

  2. janey says

    thanks for all the great financial advice this week!  it’s scary for me to face the reality of my debt from school, and educating myself about finances has been difficult but the only way for me to get the overwhelming feelings under control.  it’s nice to be taken back down to earth sometimes when I’m obsessing about shopping!


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