The 7 Personal Finance Articles We Loved This Week
One of the first things I ever wrote for TFD was about what a bullet journal is, with the promise of starting my own. I am proud to say that I actually followed through, and I know it’s only been about two months, but I really, really love it. I pull it out with my bag of markers every time I sit down to do work. I use it for everything I want to keep track of — article ideas, holiday shopping lists, a master plan for my end-of-year apartment clean-out — with one exception: my budget.
Frankly, the idea of writing down every single transaction is exhausting, especially when Mint exists, and I can link all of my accounts and pull up my weekly, monthly, yearly spending almost instantly. But one thing I’ve noticed is that writing things down actually makes me do them. My absolute favorite page is my habit tracker (and credit to Boho Berry for this idea), where every time I complete something I see as a healthy habit, I get to color in a little square for the day. I use it to keep track of little things that make me feel physically and/or mentally better: cleaning my room, taking walks, not drinking alcohol, reading or writing for myself, trying out a new recipe. I’ve even been keeping track of flossing. I feel like a major dweeb just writing that, but I honestly think it’s helping me be more productive on a day-to-day basis!
Because of this newfound love of keeping organized (and, let’s be honest, coloring), I am really fascinated by J. Money‘s fifth pick this week, “One Little Square.” Writer Trent Hamm notes that a lot of people (me! he’s talking about me!) are very scared of going after major financial goals, because the lump sum at the end of the goal is too big to imagine. But what if you were able to chip away at a goal in tiny pieces, and have a physical reminder of those pieces to encourage you not to give up?
His idea is that you take your monetary goal and transfer it into a physical representation on graph paper. Each square represents $10. So, if your goal is to save $1,000, you’d want to have 100 little squares — a 10 X 10 big square. Each time you do something that saves you $10, you get to transfer that $10 to a savings account, and color in one of your squares. Personally, I think this idea is one that would definitely encourage me to keep chipping away at that goal. Read on for the rest of our picks for the week!
1. The First $100,000 Is The Hardest – Budgets Are Sexy
“The majority of everything you need to do happens between reaching your first epiphany and hitting that first $100,000…Once you’ve got your mind right, it’s all a matter of pouring in the fuel and letting time (and sometimes luck) take over from there.”
2. Ways To Say NO To Spending Money (And Still Be Cool) -Northern Expenditure
“Today, I’m creating a handy-dandy list you can print off and keep in your wallet. Reference this the next time you get a proposal to spend that hard-earned cash!”
3. Would You Pay $25 for an Extra Day of Freedom? – Keep Thrifty
“How much money does an extra day of financial freedom cost? While it seems like a pretty cool philosophical question, there’s actually a way you can calculate it to the penny.”
4. 15 Money Lessons I Learnt The Hard Way – Bianca Bass
“Let me start by saying the thing I’m not supposed to: I like money. Quite a lot, actually. Money is wonderful. It’s the difference between having choices and having none.”
5. How To Stop Selling Out For Money – Coach Carson
“Money is central to our economic society, but it also has its excess and its deficiency. And just like for the virtue of courage, there is a golden mean of money.”
6. One Little Square – The Simple Dollar
“Each little square on that piece of graph paper matters. Each step is a real, tangible movement toward that big goal…Simply choose to do something different today and you’ll save ten dollars, and 10 dollars is enough to fill in a square.”
7. Why I (Kinda, Sorta, Sometimes) Hate Calling Myself A Minimalist – Cait Flanders
“I had a lot of time to think about my privilege on the road, and I’ll be honest and say it made me question everything I’ve been writing about for the past two years…When there are so many people who don’t have enough to begin with, how can I wear the ‘minimalist’ badge proudly?”
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