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Make meaningful improvements to your finances every week.

Lessons I Learned From Being Broke

being-broke

Matt shares eighteen things he learned while being broke.

  1. Credit cards are a good thing when used correctly.  You can earn cash back, free flights, and free hotel stays, win!
  2. Debt is the devil.  It is the devil waiting to poke you with it’s pointy pitch fork.  No one likes that.
  3. Banks are the devil too.  Fees, fines, charges, crap interest.  The banks are the devil with two pointy pitch forks.
  4. Mint is mint.  We have a lot of love for Mint at LMM.  For a lot of us, it was our first step in taking control of our finances.
  5. Investing is what makes people rich. Starting your own business is one path to riches but  not everyone can or wants to start their own business.  But all of us can and should be investing.  Always be investing.
  6. I don’t need everything.  Neither do you.  Stop buying shit!
  7. Staying home is ok.  Invite friends over to cook a meal, watch the game, play cards.  Not only will you spend less than if you go out, but unless you have crappy friends, they’ll bring some booze!
  8. Education is key (books, not college).  This one is controversial but for the same eleventy billion dollars you spent on college you could buy a lot of books.  College is one path to education but it’s not the only one.
  9. Don’t be afraid to ask for money.  Whether this means not getting low balled on free lance work or asking your boss for a raise, no one is going to give you money unless you ask.
  10. Job security is a myth (except for teachers).  The days of being a “company man” and retiring after thirty years with a pension and gold watch are over folks.  You have to be flexible and always looking for the next opportunity even if you feel secure in your current situation.
  11. Owning a home is not for everyone.  This ties into #10.  If you lose your job and can’t find work in your area, you can’t pack up and go if you are tied down with a house.  There are a lot of hidden costs both in terms of money and time when you own a home.
  12. Build an emergency fund for peace of mind.  Having that cushion allows you to sleep easier at night.  You could survive a job loss or a pay cut or an expensive car repair.
  13. Junk mail.  The clue is in the name.  Credit card offers, coupons for stuff you don’t need and won’t use.  Don’t even open it, straight into the shredder.
  14. Bad habits are killing you, literally.  Over eating, smoking, drinking to excess.  You are wasting money, harming yourself, and costing the future you tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses and missed work.
  15. Choose Your Friends Wisely.  Don’t spend time with toxic people.  Surround yourself with people who support your goals and chuck anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself.
  16. Do what makes you happy.  Just the simple things, a good cup of coffee, a walk in the park, spending times with your now detoxed list of friends.
  17. Hobbies are important.  Choose a hobby that you enjoy, that teaches you something, that enriches your life.  Maybe you can even make a little extra money at it!
  18. You are your own worst enemy.  We are the choices we make.  You don’t need to be told that a credit card is not free money.  You don’t need to be told that letting your student loans default is a terrible choice.  Whatever you tell yourself that allows you to continue that kind of behavior, stop.  Just stop, it’s that simple.

Here is the original article.

You are killing my thunder.

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Show Notes

Louis Jadot Beaujolais:  A lovely French wine with notes of fresh red fruit and a hint of dark cherry.

Mint: LMM’s favorite budgeting took.

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  • I’ve seen a lot of people online saying that USAA is actually a really good bank. It used to be only for military personnel (plus veterans and family), but now I believe anyone can join it.

    Personally, I use a local bank that only has three branches, and I love it. I’ve never had a reason to be annoyed with them. They actually give me >1% interest on my savings account, there are no fees whatsoever, I can deposit checks through my phone, and they’ve got a great app that lets me do whatever I need. The only fees I ever have to pay are ATM fees, which are the fault of the ATM owner (though I’ve heard that Chase refunds ATM fees – I don’t use ATMs enough to care).

    I would imagine most small-town banks and credit unions aren’t so bad either – it’s just a lot of the huge banks that tend to screw over their customers.

    • jp14

      With the emergence of online banks, there’s a difference between a “Bank” and an online bank. USAA falls under the category of online banks, most of which are pretty good.

      I’ll assume that in this article/podcast they meant “brick and mortar banks” – like BofA, because they find ways to charge extra fees since they have a bit more overhead by having branches.

      I’m actually a member of USAA, and I couldn’t be happier. Excellent products and customer service.

  • Billiam

    Hey Matt,
    Good stuff here.
    Keep up the good work guys.