Welcome to my first blog on a topic I intend to write extensively on in BadskiBlog.....Money. In these trying times there is a lot of advice, media hype, and general gloom and doom surrounding personal finance that will do absolutely nothing to help you acheive your financial goals.
When I was playing college hockey I heard a phrase that really stuck with me. I can't really remember who said it so I can't give credit where credit is due, so I just changed it to my own words and claim it as my own. The saying goes something like "when you are not playing well, the answer lies at your feet" or "look down", something to that effect. You might not think that is a very great quote but I think it's incredibly insightful. In layman's terms it means that when things aren't going well you probably aren't moving your feet; you aren't skating hard enough. On one hand I think it means that if you work hard everything else will fall into place, but I also think it illustrates that when you are in a tough spot you have to get back to basics which in hockey is skating! Anyone who knows me knows that I am huge proponent of sports. I think you can learn all you need to be successful in life through sports and the interactions with others competing in sports. This example is no exception. Times are tough and the answer lies at your feet....get back to basics!
As I said before, all the gloom and doom and media frenzy will get you no where. Control what you can control. What can you control you might ask? A BUDGET. It always amazes me how many people have no idea where their money goes. We all are guilty of this at times, but it is easier now than ever to maintain a budget. I am going to have to plug the site that I have been using to keep my finances in check. The site is called Mint.com. I have a link at the bottom of this blog if you would like to check it out. I recommend this site to everyone. It is free and it takes all the grunt-work out of budgeting and tracking your spending. The general concept behind the site is that it links all your online accounts to one database. Mint.com pulls updated financial data every time you sign on and gives you an amazing view of where you are at financially. It provides a net worth analysis, account balances, a spending report, investment trackers, adjustable budget limits (which can send you warning via text/email or both), and graphical depictions of all your spending and saving habits broken out by categories. This is a great tool for everyone, especially new married couples who want to combine finances but maintain their separate accounts.
What's the catch you ask? Well actually the site recommends ways to save by offering lower interest rate credit cards, rewards, checking accounts and other personalized ways to save by comparing your current financial vehicles to the best current deals. These companies pay mint to promote their offers to you, the free user. I merely ignore the tab with ways to save because I am happy with the vehicles I have in place. I still get free great information that helps me save and analyze my spending habits quickly and easily.
To know where you are going you have to know where you are and what a great tool to get started. You will see your weaknesses (mine are food and dining, hockey, travel, and of course my lovely wife's shopping excursions) as well as shed some light on exactly how much disposable income you are letting slip through cracks that you could be saving and investing towards achieving your financial goals. Check it out and get back to basics.