I have never in my life been able to save money, no matter how much I made. I have always been either (1) in my 20s too broke to have anything at all, (2) in my 30s not paying attention when I was for a nearly a decade a millionaire thanks to an inheritance or (3) post 2008 catching up to pay for everything I spent the month or months or years before. And that slowly and inexorably led to being in debt to the tune of $661,000.
I’ve now got my debt down to $641,000 but more importantly I’ve got $13,000 in a college fund and about $400 in another savings account and a bit over $8,000 to pay for the rest of the coming month’s expenses, having already just now paid nearly $5,000 toward credit cards.
Yeah, those are some big numbers, but the point is that I’ve turned things around. Instead of playing catch up, I’m ahead of the curve. Even if your income is a tenth of mine, you can do the same.
The key is budgeting — planning, before every month begins, what is going to happen to every single dollar, rather than wondering where all those dollars went. (Thank you, Dave Ramsey.) The integral part of this is patience, not putting every bit of money to past debt but setting enough aside to have money for upcoming expenses.
I’m a scholar, academic, brainiac, etc. but this was such a revelation to me: keep money in the bank to pay cash for the month ahead. Hello!!!!