How are everyone’s New Year resolutions coming? I don’t know about you but it seems like once January fades away, my goals tend to fade with it. I am determined this year however to stick to at least one of those throughout the year!
For the last several years I have had one thing on my mind: MONEY! It seems to be a constant determination of mine to get out of debt and to have a proper savings account. When it comes to the financial world however, I feel completely lost! Sure, I run my own checking and savings account, I pay my bills on time, and I work hard to receive my bi-weekly paychecks. Still however, my future is constantly on my mind and I know that I can be doing better.
It was this topic that was on my mind a couple of months ago while browsing the library books on CD as I prepared for a somewhat lengthy road trip. I searched for a book that would make me basically rich over night and would help me to suddenly be in the know about everything money related. The book that stood out to me was called, “Women and Money,” by Suze Orman.
I have always known that I was a little bit ignorant on the subject of investing but I thought that I was otherwise doing pretty well when it came to my personal finances. The more I read this book however, the clearer it became just how much I needed it! I knew almost immediately that I had chosen correctly. For starters, the objective of this book is to break down all things financial into not only understandable language but also into step by step instructions as to how exactly to move forward so that you and your family are taken care of now and in the future.
Before you blow this off and tell me that your husband takes care of the finances, let me share something with you that stood out at the preface of this book. Suze claimed that we as women are nurtures. True? Yes. She says that it is in our nature to nurture, and then she asks the question that I want you to ask yourself: “Why don’t we show our money the same care and attention that we shower on every other important relationship in our lives?” She goes on to explain, “Because we don’t have a relationship with our money. Correction: We do have a relationship with our money. It’s just a totally dysfunctional one.” As much as we try to deny the fact, money will always be a significant part of our lives and it’s time we gave ourselves a little more credit and stepped up to the task of repairing any past damages and setting ourselves and our families up for a better and more stable future.
Don’t be intimidated by the length or content of this book. I love the way that Suze Orman breaks down her goals into a month by month plan. She gives a new set of tasks monthly which could take you at least through the first half of this year. By next year at this time you will be well on your way to a more secure future through investing properly, paying off debt correctly, improving your credit score, obtaining the proper documents and insurance in case of death or disability, and you will be armed with a future plan of action to keep your relationship with money a healthy one.
Since reading this book myself, I started onto my new financially healthy path by checking out my credit report. I’m going to give you this task to start you off and then I’m going to advise that you get a hold of this book and give it a read. Make sure however that you have a pencil and some post it tabs handy because you will want to mark it up for future reference (I ended up buying the hardcopy after listening to it on CD).
Go to the annual credit report website and make sure that you look up the Experian report. This is the only place you can actually get a FREE credit report once a year and through my own experience and the advice of some experts, I found that Experian is the one most often looked at. I could not believe what I found on mine. If there is anything in red, those things negatively affect your score. I had two things in red that I had NO IDEA were on there. They were completely bogus yet were pulling my score way down! So, I learned that you can and should dispute these. I had a third one that I knew about but was told to dispute it anyway. I did. I feel much more powerful for taking charge and doing something about my situation. You can too!
Here are a few websites that I also thought gave helpful tips on how to make money on the side or from home: (The last two led to other fabulous money saving tips as well. Making a little cash and saving a little might help to pay off a little extra debt!)
What are some things that you have done to improve your credit score and get out of debt? Does anyone make money on the side to put solely into a savings account or into paying off a debt? What other books do you recommend on this topic? Next up for me is Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover.”