Here’s Why Today Is the Perfect Day to Crush Your Money Fears Forever
So many national days, so little time to write about them.
This March 9, I’d love to write about National Meatball Day. But it’s also National Get Over it Day, and the team thought helping you get over some of your financial fears might be more appropriate than my “How to Pay Your Way Through Life With Meatballs” idea.
Money is a touchy subject right? Making, saving, spending and protecting it elicit negative feelings in some way or another. But if you’re going to become a money master, you need to get over your fears and hesitations, and do the basics with confidence.
Here’s how to get over some of the most common money issues today.
You Hate Budgeting
Budgeting doesn’t suck. A budget is simply a plan for your income. Living on a budget doesn’t mean you eat ramen every night or move to the country. If you want to budget $200 for cupcakes this month, you can totally do that — though your conscience might convict you for anything over $20.
Don’t let past failures or fears about what you’ll find keep you from budgeting. There are flexible options for every budgeting lifestyle. For example, you could set aside a percentage of every paycheck or spend every cent on paper before you spend it in real life.
You Feel Crushed by Student Loan Debt
Much like a big meatball sub, your student loan balance can cause that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. It may seem appealing to curl up into a ball and forget your debt exists.
Get over it. Check your balance, write it down and work on conquering it. You can find plenty of stories about normal people paying off their student loans and destroying credit card debt. You can be one of them; it just takes small steps in the right direction.
If you’re paying high interest rates, consolidation and refinancing might be worth a look.
A good resource is online lending platform Upstart, which can help you find a loan without relying on only your conventional credit score.
Unlike traditional underwriting models that use only the common FICO scoring model, Upstart’s technology looks at factors like your education and employment history to determine your creditworthiness.
You’re Afraid of Credit Cards
Credit cards require a certain level of self-control. Even the most responsible people can let credit card debt and fees get out of hand. You don’t have to let credit card fears stop you from taking advantage of the awesome travel and cash back rewards. Just get over it.
Set up autopay for your card so you never pay late fees. Pay your cards off in full every month to avoid interest, and check your statements at least weekly to catch fraud. Don’t worry — you’re protected by your bank.
Worried you’ll overspend with a credit card?
A new app called Debitize basically turns your credit card into a debit card, for free. With it, you can connect any credit card to a checking account.
Whenever you swipe your credit card, Debitize pulls the same amount of cash from your bank account. It stores the cash for you until it’s time to pay your credit card bill. Then it pays that bill for you a week before the due date.
The best of both worlds: You can build credit and get those sweet credit card perks, and also prevent yourself from running up unmanageable debt.
You’re Afraid to Negotiate Your Salary
Whether they make $20,000 or $200,000, people are always looking for ways to make more meatballs — I mean money. But it can be intimidating to ask for what you’re worth, especially for women.
If you’re starting a new job, don’t be nervous about negotiating your salary. It’s a normal process, and skipping it could cost you $1 million in lifetime earnings. If you’re asking for a raise at your current job, start months in advance by going above and beyond — without being obnoxious — to make it obvious to your boss that you deserve a raise.
You Have an Aversion to Online Banks
It’s 2018, people! Let’s agree that we don’t need all our banks to have brick-and-mortar locations with tellers behind bulletproof glass and pens on chains. Online banks aren’t scary, and they offer so much more than the other guys.
One of our favorites is Chime, an online bank that helps you automatically save every time you get paid.
The FDIC-insured account comes with more than 24,000 fee-free ATMs, has zero overdraft fees and doesn’t require a minimum or monthly payment.
Plus, when a portion of your paycheck is automatically shuffled away to your secret stash, well… what you don’t see, you won’t miss, right? In fact, one guy saved $800 without noticing when he opened an account. Chime also gives direct deposit users access to their money immediately, so you can get paid up to two days earlier.
Chime also has a feature that helps you save when you spend. It rounds up your purchases to the next dollar and puts the difference into your savings account, and it rewards you with a 10% bonus on round-ups each week.
Online banks usually have tip-top website security, are always available to help — even via text message — and just in case you do ever need cash, waive or reimburse most ATM fees. It’s the dawning of the age of the online bank account.
You Freak Out Each Month About Paying Those Bills, Bills, Bills
Do you have 12 alarms and reminders set on your phone to remember all your due dates? Do you scramble on the first of every month to get rent together? Are you second-guessing that decision to accept payment in meatballs? Stop it!
Work smarter, not harder. Automate your payments to eliminate the anxiety of forgetting them, and if you’re worried about having enough money in your account to cover them, you can try reducing those inescapable bills.
You’re Putting Off Investing
The market has been a little volatile this year, so it makes sense to be wary of upping your 401(k) contributions. But there’s never a better time to start investing than right now.
The sooner you start investing, the longer your money benefits from the magic of compound interest. So get over your investing fears so they don’t become nightmares down the road.
If you’re like most of us and wish your money would just take care of itself, consider starting an investment account through Acorns.
You can start small — with $5 — and stack up change over time with its “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account.
Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you.
This article contains general information and explains options you may have, but it is not intended to be investment advice or a personal recommendation. We can’t personalize articles for our readers, so your situation may vary from the one discussed here. Please seek a licensed professional for tax advice, legal advice, financial planning advice or investment advice.
Jen Smith is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and gives tips on saving money and paying off debt on Instagram at @savingwithspunk.