Something interesting happened to me this weekend. I was shopping for jeans. Not a big deal, I just didn’t want to pay half a paycheck for a pair. Found what I was looking for at a ladies plus size store. I’ve told ya before, I’m no Barbie. Lots of curves here.
The strange thing happened at checkout. I’ve shopped at this store before and hit the sales where you get a discount if you apply for a store credit card. For reasons I’ll get to in a minute, I’ve been turned down. This was one of those sale weekends so I figured, What the hell, it’s been long enough since the last time. So the clerk ran my information through the computer. Holy Schiznit! I got approved!
Let me say now that I have never had an actual credit card. Strange, you say?….. Consider this: I was never taught a work ethic except for doing my homework as soon as I got home from school. Mom worked sporadically until she got too sick. Dad changed jobs a lot, always trying to find a way to make his love of radio profitable but to no avail. So I didn’t have a lot of good examples.
I have had several jobs in my 40 years. The coolest is probably working as an educator at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, SC. Aggravating at times, but I got to pet stingrays and sharks on a daily basis. I was in heaven.
I have to say that I see younger friends, sometimes children of my own high school pals, forging out into the world without a stinking clue how to sustain themselves without help. Goddess knows I didn’t know how before I got married. My ex didn’t know any better than I did. When the marriage ended and I moved in with my aunt, she made sure to fill in the gaps in my education.
Let me give you some guidelines to lead you to financial stability at any age. Feel free to pass these on to anyone who needs to know. Yeah, that’s pretty much everyone on the planet.
Rule #1: Find something that you love to do, can do everyday without burning out too fast, and find a way to make money at it. You have to have income first of all.
Rule #2: Learn to live on a budget. This means you keep a list of all your bills that have to be paid and how much and when they’re due each month. If you don’t know how much your power bill is you probably shouldn’t buy concert tickets.
Rule #3: ALWAYS pay your bills first. Plan for them. If your phone is due on the 9th and you don’t get paid until the 10th, then you better have money from the paycheck before the 9th to cover it. It’s paramount to maintaining good credit to get your bills paid on time. If you can pay something ahead that’s even better.
Rule #4: Save your money. Not just for a rainy day, either. If you are the only source of income for your house, how will your bills be paid if you’re out of work for whatever reason for a month? Or two months? You need to build up enough savings to cover at least 6 months worth of bills, not extra stuff, just bills. I actually saw a bank ad that suggested taking 10% of your disposable income, that’s after you pay all your bills, and put that into savings. It may seem like a huge amount if you don’t make a lot, or it could seem like it’s not much. Either way you need to save that money.
Rule #5: Schiznit happens! This is that rainy day. A chipped windshield may cost $200 bucks to replace. If your deductible is set at $500 that means you have to pay for a new windshield out of pocket. Them’s the breaks, Chickadee. Stuff happens and we have to keep moving. Lying down and waiting for someone to come along and fix it for us is not how the world works.
Granted, I’m no financial adviser. I’m just a round white woman who got tired of being broke. I’m rebuilding my credit slowly but surely. I’m still tickled pink to get that department store charge card. You gotta start somewhere. If you don’t know where to start you won’t get where you want to be.