I meant F as in Finance! 😉 ‘Tis that time of the year, getting ready to file taxes for the previous year and budget for the next year. I am in the process of doing all that and also this year I decided to take my knowledge on finance a step further. So, I thought why not share what I know and maybe get a few helpful hints from you as well. 🙂
I am a techie by profession, no finance degree or experience, however, my knowledge on (Personal) Finance is sound enough to keep me on top of my money matters. I believe it is important for all of us to keep ourselves well informed with current financial happenings around the globe. It’s a circle where global economy impacts personal economy and personal economy collectively impacts the global one.
Regardless of your gender, if you’re working and earning money, it’s good to always know how and where your money goes. A paycheck shows all different deductions. Sometimes one may be overtaxed and is eligible for refund at the time of filing taxes. While it makes us all happy to receive some cash from the Government, this may not always be a good thing. If you are consistently getting back big refunds, you’re probably over paying taxes. This is the time, you look at your personal finances, statements, paychecks, etc.. to see where and why the extra money is going.
Up until last year, I would just do the bare minimum to keep my finances straight, save and invest a little bit here and a little bit there, but this year, I have been following economical/financial news around the world and in the US and have developed an interest to know more, learn more…. so I thought of taking this opportunity to share with you some tips I picked up along the way and helpful URLs.
1. Pay today, owe tomorrow: Back in the day, plastic money (credit cards) was not at all popular in India and we used cash everywhere. Many a times we’d go to a local store to buy school supplies and one time I had some left over money. So, I thought of treating myself with a bar of chocolate. I picked up a small Cadbury bar. The owner of the shop was a friend of my dad’s so I greeted him and put my items at the checkout counter. I fell short by 2 Rupees and I was about to put the chocolate away when he said that I could take the chocolate and pay the 2 Rupees later. As a child, I didn’t know better and overcome by my temptation of eating that chocolate, I took the chocolate and happily trotted back home munching on chocolaty goodness. Later that night, my I told my dad that he owed uncle 2 Rupees. Learnt one of the most important lessons of my life that I still carry with my today. This is what he said, you buy only what you can pay for right then. That was the first time and the last time, I owed any money to that uncle. Thankfully, that lesson has kept me from sinking in the ocean of debt.
2. Penny Saved, Penny Earned: While earning new pennies is always good, having a smart saving plan adds to that income.
3. Do not be penny wise pound foolish: Been there, done that in a very small way, but glad to have been there and done that in that small magnitude. I guess sometimes big lessons of life come in small doses, provided you learn from it.
4. As my mum says, don’t think twice before you act, think 5 times: There are times, when I’ve found this extremely useful and times when not so much, but the latter doesn’t apply to our topic today, only the former does! A lot of times, we may find ourselves carried away by temptation and might spend more than we’d like to, in such situations its always good to think over and over again, I am sure by the 5th time, you’ll be able to convince yourself out of it, I know I have 🙂
5. Make a budget: I have noticed that its much easier to implement a budget when you write it down on a piece of paper. Maybe its just me, but I think it’d work for most people. I think it’s psychological.
I’m sure you’ve heard all of these before, but some times it has more effect when it comes from sources other than your parents 😉
Here are some websites I visit, but again they’re more geared towards the US financial markets since I follow those:
- http://finance.yahoo.com (yahoo has a finance page for most countries it has a Yahoo! page for)
- world section of the Wall Street Journal
- The Economist
- Mint.com (I have not personally used this one, but heard a few good things from friends)