by: Janeen Diamond
Quote: “Nothing causes greater stress than running out of money before you run out of bills.” I was 25 years old, single, living in my first home and raising two children.
One day, a friend of mine asked if she could borrow $100 from me to buy a dress she wanted. She didn’t dare ask any of her family members, because she already owed many of them money. I knew it was a bad idea, but I didn’t know how to tell her no, so I gave her the $100. I’m certain you’ve already figured out - she never paid it back. That experience taught me a great lesson!
I spent a good portion of my life as a single mom. And because of those times in my life, I learned a few things about managing my finances. If I ran out of money before the end of the month, that would simply not work for me. So I figured out some ways to really keep my attention focused on the bottom line of my checkbook. I want to share those with you.
Keep your monthly payments owed on a calendar. Every year, I bought a simple calendar that had a separate page for each month and lots of space to write on each day. I kept the bills and amounts owed on the date they were due. There was never any question about when, how much and what for. I would keep the total amount of money I received each month for all sources at the top of the calendar, with the total amount of all my bills underneath that amount. I knew before each month started exactly what would be going out and how much would be left over. I was never left wondering how things would come out at the end of the month.
Don’t spend more than you make. What more needs to be said on this subject. Don’t buy things you don’t need. This requires self control. But when you have a mortgage and kids to raise, you have to focus on those things first. If I had a little bit left somewhere to buy a new pair of jeans, great! But otherwise, I knew I had to take care of my responsibilities first. I would usually spend a little bit of my tax refund or my birthday money from my parents on myself. That way, I’d have something to look forward to.
Save something every month. Whatever I had left over would go into a savings account. I always knew I hada little emergency fund just in case.
Put yourself on a budget. There are times in life when we simply don’t have any other choice. And structuring your spending in this way teaches you good habits, even for the times when money isn’t all that tight.
I kicked myself more than once for giving that $100 to my friend who wanted to blow it on something she didn’t need. But at the same time, I can thank her for giving me something to really think about. That experience changed my life in a lot of ways. Nothing causes greater stress than running out of money before you run out of bills. Take control of your finances today no matter where you are in your life.
Janeen Diamond, Author “Save Your Marriage in 30,” was newscaster for KUTV News until 2001. Since that time, she has been actively producing commercials and special programming through her company, “Your TV Spot.” She has hosted several television and internet productions, and has been a spokesperson for several products and companies. Janeen authored her first book, “Save Your Marriage in 30,” hoping to help families have greater success and live happier lives. She is a leader over the youth in her church and takes a special interest in helping kids stay on track with their lives. Janeen is currently co-creating “Teen Impact TV,” a website for high school students to give them a creative and emotional outlet.