Amanda Christensen, AFC
Utah Money Moms Editor; Extension Associate Professor
Well ladies, married or single, graduated or just starting your education, working your first job or years in to your career, it’s never too early or too late to start budgeting. Even if you’re already a ‘budget queen extraordinaire’, below are three common budget missteps to avoid.
Melanie Jewkes, M.S.
USU Extension Associate Professor
Now that the holidays are behind us, you may or may not be a little anxious to peek at your bank or credit card statements. No surprise when Americans purchase about $1,000 worth of holiday joys on credit. But now might be the perfect time of year to make a better plan for next year. There is a better way!
My favorite budgeting magic trick is to avoid using debt or credit, especially for small purchases but also for larger ones, buy paying yourself first. Maybe you’ve heard that phrase before “Pay yourself first.” This is a seemingly simple principle to encourage use of cash instead of borrowing.
In other words-- save money and avoid debt so that instead of paying somebody to use their money (i.e. money you have to pay on interest and late fees or even loan origination fees), you “pay” yourself by putting that money into savings. In some instances you earn money on interest (though, admittedly, the interest rates right now on bank accounts is minimal) or at least avoid paying more than the cost of whatever the item was you charged. Pay Yourself First also applies to long-term savings for things like retirement, but for now we’re talking about “small” purchases that can sometimes irritate, if not wreak havoc, on our monthly budgets.
Let’s talk more about the real, life-changing application of this principle and how to apply it.
By KristiLyn Wilkinson, M.S.
USU Extension Empowering Financial Wellness Program Manager
I don’t know about you, but I am not sad about leaving 2020 in the past. If anything, I am more committed to doing what is in my control to make 2021 a better year for me and my family. You might not be a fan of setting new year resolutions. Maybe setting goals in January seems like an arbitrary unimportant date to you and you set goals whenever you feel like it. Maybe you don’t believe in setting goals because they feel restrictive. Maybe you have had your new year resolutions mapped out since last October. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, I would highly suggest that you set some financial goals…at some point in your life…preferably right now. Why? I will tell you, but first, grab a blanket (it’s freezing here in Utah) and settle in. We are about to get touchy-feely.
Guest Contributor: Andrea Schmutz
USU Extension Assistant Professor
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” croons Andy Williams on the radio. When Christmas decorations started appearing while I was still debating on which Halloween candy to buy, instead of feeling frustrated that people were leapfrogging Halloween and Thanksgiving to get to Christmas, I felt my spirits lift. COVID could alter life in many ways, but it could not take away the positivity and joy that I feel during the Christmas season. However, one thing started to tug at my thoughts, threatening to dampen my spirits. With so much time to think about Christmas, would it be harder to stick to my holiday shopping budget? As I pondered my dilemma, I had a most bizarre thought: the words to a Christmas song started dancing in my head and I realized they had some great advice that would help me in my efforts to not overspend this season. I started looking at other Christmas songs and found that there were hidden budgeting messages in many of them.
Guest Contributor: Callie Ward
USU Extension Assistant Professor
Guys, it is WRESTLING SEASON at our house!! Wrestling was always big in my high school and with my family, and now with a son that loves it, the tradition continues. Like many sports or extracurriculars, wrestling has some cost associated with it: Registration / Team Fees, Uniform and Gear Costs, Tournament Registration, Travel, Concessions or food (This one is a HUGE cost!), Team Swag for the participant and the family support, Fundraisers (every parents favorite). These add up fast and so do the collection of team t-shirts too! (TIP: For a cheap and fun way to save your t-shirts here is a step by step guide for a t-shirt quilt.) As a parent, I can see the benefits of any kind of extracurriculars for my kids, physically, socially, and emotionally and make sure to plan for them each month within our budget. Researching how to save on this cost, I have come up with some tips to get you through the season:
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