I am back with another interview! We all know how I feel about talking to others and finding out how they became the person they are today, especially if they have a business or are debt free. This time I decided to talk to one of my sisters. I find it very interesting that you can have siblings who see the same things growing up, but have different habits. I know that’s normal because everyone is different and responds to situations differently but still… it intrigued me. Even though we grew up in different households – I still wanted to know how her money habits developed because there are things that I remember my sister, Wendy, doing from a young age.
Let’s jump right in.
Here’s a quick into – I mean realllll quick.
My name is Wendy. I am from Beaufort SC, and currently located in Dayton Ohio. I am active duty Air Force and my job is in finance. I am a budget officer.
What’s three goals you set for yourself this year?
The three goals I set for this year were to 1. Get rid of all credit card debt 2. Stick with the budget I created 3. Save more money. I try to make a realistic budget so I can stick with it.
I’d like to say that you’re good with money, do you think that?
I would like to think I’m pretty good with money when it comes to budgeting and saving.
Do you remember learning about money growing up? If so, what did you learn and when?
When I was a little girl I remember my mom paying me a couple of dollars to help her do hair (pass the weave & cleanup). I would take that money and save it for my toys. I remember buying a doll baby and 2 typewriters in elementary school. By the time I was in middle school I started doing my friends hair for money and I bought my own school supplies. I always had the mindset to save money to get what I want and that stuck with me.
I remember you going to the store and getting money orders so that you could save your money when we were younger. What motivated you to save your money at an early age?
I think my motivation was seeing my mom (our Mommy) struggle financially. I knew that if I worked and saved my money I could buy the things I wanted and needed and it would take the burden off of her.
Was/is saving hard for you or do you save first before doing anything with your money?
I have found that when saving money if you have the money automatically taken out the day you get paid you won’t miss it. So I set up an automatic transfer and on payday my money is automatically moved into my savings.
Do you use special accounts like money market accounts or certificates to save money or are you just that disciplined?
I invest 10% in my Roth TSP off the top. I also have a Roth IRA that I have not consistently contributed to but my goal starting Jan 2020 is to max it for the year investing $500 a month. I also have money going to my savings on both paydays.
Do you have any debt or do you save up for all things you want and wait until you can afford it?
The only debt I have is my vehicle and my mortgage. I do not have any other debt. I like to save up for things so I don’t get myself into a lot of debt. It’s very easy to get into and hard to get out of.
I like to use credit cards to keep revolving credit and to get points. I pay of the balance every month.
Do you let your money “work for you?” Are you currently investing?
I have a mutual fund with USAA that I invest in. My hobbies have gotten more expensive over the years and I don’t save as much as I should. But for the most part I am very disciplined with money. I just had a conversation with my leadership about investing in the stock market. I’m still learning about it so I’m not that knowledgeable about it. Right now I just have the TSP, Roth IRA, and mutual fund.
Do you budget? Would you recommend a budget or is there another way to handle and keep track of your finances?
I definitely budget and would recommend everyone to create a budget and follow it. Recently, I created an excel spreadsheet for my budget. I sat down and looked at my monthly bills and spending habits. You would be surprised how much money you spend on unnecessary things.
After analyzing a few months of my bank statements I created a budget that support my habits and also eliminated some. At the end of the month I like to compare the plan I made to what I actually did. It is important to keep track of your finances because small things add up and before you know it you will be wondering how you got in debt.
One of my sister’s hobbies is to compete in figure contests. She’s pretty good if I do say so. If you’re interested follow her on IG @priceless_ misfit!
Do you have any tips for someone like me who isn’t good at saving but has savings goals?
The tips I have is that something will always come up…..there will never be a good time to save money. You have to just do it and in doing that you will adjust habits and spending. I remember when my friend told me she couldn’t afford to get braces. We went over her budget and she got the braces. Til this day she said she don’t know how she found the money to pay for it. You will adjust to fit the need. If you have a hard time saving put it in a different account that you don’t have an ATM card to. You are most likely to forget about it if it isn’t your main account. I would also say start small. You would be surprised how fast $50 a month adds up. It’s better than nothing at all…if you get a raise put the extra money in your savings as if you never got extra money. You would never miss it because you never had it.
Always pay more than the minimum balance on car notes, credit card debts or mortgages. You’d be surprised how much interest you avoid doing that. Pay off credit card debt as soon as possible. Most have interest rates. I am very goal oriented so I would make a realistic goal and focus on reaching it. When you set goals on paper you’re more likely to reach them.
To recap here are 5+ ways to create better money habits (in no particular order:
- Track your spending (in a notebook, budget diary, your phone, etc.)
- Create a budget (use an app, excel, or pen and paper
- Use auto transfers to save and build your savings up (emergency fund). Send money to your savings account straight from your paycheck . Or you can have your job transfer a percentage to a different account – maybe an online bank like Ally or Chime). You can also have your bank do it after your paycheck is deposited on each payday.
- Invest in your retirement (traditional IRA, Roth IRA, 401K, 403b, HSA, etc.).
- Invest in the stock market, real estate, or yourself (education/training to increase your finance). Investing Apps like Acorns and Stash helped me a lot. I’m earning a little dividends (passive income).
- Eliminate debt (if you have credits cards pay them off monthly to get the perks (points, cash back, etc). This is not your savings account.
I want to thank my sister for sharing these details and tips. It’s definitely something I can implement in my life and I bet you can too.