the Catholic Exchange website has a Catholic financial planning advisor who has a book and kit I have given to all 3 of my daughters.
when we got married we were still in college and both had student loans. also had 3 kids by the time we both graduated. made last student loan payment the month oldest daughter started college.
we had $26 in our pockets the day after our honeymoon (spent stuck in a snowstorm on the Ohio turnpike, muy romantico). we limped home in that 12 yr old car, which died in front of our apartment, and was towed in the morning. My brother-in-law had loaned it to us because he was in the navy going on tour, and it actually got repossessed. Thanks, bro. that’s how we first learned about credit.
get rid of credit cards. put one in a locked place for emergencies
live on one income
live cheap. we lived in an a series of east side Cleveland neighborhood (did you ever see the movie Welcome to Collinwood with william Macy and a band of bumbling burglars? that’s where we lived for 17 years). even when we started making better money we stayed there and saved by putting everything into hubby’s co. stock plan. of course that was after he left teaching (no stock plan). we lucked out when his company transferred him. we had to cash in the stock to buy a new house, since we sold the old one at a loss. a year later his company got merged/bought out and stock dropped over 80 points. that house we sold after 3 years at a 33% profit, moved again, lucked out on a house, which we also sold at a profit. at that point kids all moved out to college, marriage etc so we bought a mobile. our kids are still nostalgic about “the old neighborhood”. we payed a huge tax bite that year, the next year IRS changed to rules and if we had waited a year we would have saved thousands. that’s how we learned about mortgages and taxes.
keep good records, if you spend any money on prof financial services pay it for a good tax guy. pay your taxes, don’t ever play games with the IRS. they have no sense of humor and will not cut you any slack
don’t let the IRS keep your money, a big refund means you just lost out on interest you could have made investing. IRS doesn’t pay interest on refunds. recalculate your withholding each year so you come out almost even.
pay yourself first. have savings taken out at work. max out your 401k and get all the company matching contributions. have your paycheck direct deposited if possible and money put right into savings or mutual fund.
if you have a health care savings account use it. the best way to save money on health care is to take care of your health today so you don’t end up a mess in middle age. eat right, keep a normal weight, get rid of destructive habits and risk-taking behaviors.
pay bills online or by direct draft to avoid late charges.
what kills budgets is late charges and finance charges.
DO THE MATH - if a deal sounds too good to be true, it is a lie. a low monthly payment or interest rate that sounds like a no-brainer has all kinds of hidden costs. figure everything out both ways so you find out the total cost of the loan over the life of the loan.
never borrow money to pay for something that will be long gone by the time you pay it off - like restaurant meals on a credit card.
An education will last you for life, but don’t waste it. don’t spend money on college if you don’t know why you are there. don’t goof off. manage your time well. study, commit, don’t drop courses, make sure you are taking the courses required for your major and fulfilling graduation requirements. get academic advising so you don’t end up having to pay for another semester or another year. If 18 credits cost the same as 12, take 18. do your homework-- do not pay for failing grades.
tithe - give to God of your first fruits. don’t every consider yourself too poor to give. always have something to give others. make hospitality a priority, even if it is only a cool glass of water and a comfortable place to sit. every guest in your home is Jesus Christ.
be poor in spirit, downsize what you think you need. learn the difference between wants and needs. teach this to your children. don’t spend money on that which does not satisfy. don’t pay for junk food and garbage drink that supplies no nutrition and depletes health.
take care of what you buy, maintain appliances, car, house properly, you will save thousands of dollars.
never buy a new car, it is used the minute you drive it off the lot.