Show Me the Money

“Money.”

Depending on the day and my checking account balance that word either sets off a what-can-I-buy daydreaming session or sends me searching into the back of my cabinets for those Ramen noodles I’ve probably had since college. You’d be amazed how many packages of Ramen noodles you can score for super-cheap.

I’m sure many of you have been in similar situations. We could all probably benefit from having a little more padding in our bank accounts, especially in this economy. Every little penny counts. Whether you’re looking for ways to make more pennies or looking to save the ones you already have, I’m right there with you.

That’s why the personal finance class offered through the library database Universal Class appealed to me so much. Sure, I know how to balance my checkbook and “budget” enough money during the month for gas, groceries, etc., but that’s about the end of my financial expertise. And when I say “budget” I mean, “yeah, that looks like enough money to cover it.”

“Personal financial management is the map, meteorologist and travel agent in plotting your journey to maintaining and sustaining your own wealth. ” -Personal Finance instructor Jerry Borland

During the first lesson, we briefly covered the three basic steps of managing finances effectively:
1) Plan – gather data and create a snapshot of your finances. Track your spending, maintain your checking and savings accounts, and assess your true financial worth.
2) Execute – the key to managing debt. By using the data gathered during the planning stage, you can create a budget to either curb your spending or increase your income.
3) Travel- once your finances are under control, your bills are manageable and you know how much you’re worth, you might discover extra money that you used to piddle away that you can now use to travel or live out your someday-when-I-have-money dreams. The author makes a point that maybe traveling isn’t even your bottom line, but that the bottom line is this:

“By taking the burden of “have to,” off of your financial view, you stand a better chance of actually accomplishing your goals.”

This week’s lesson was a short-and-sweet intro into the sometimes-daunting world of personal finance. I’m sure I’m going to learn so much in the next 6 months during this class*. What I’m hoping to learn from this personal finance class, and what I’m hoping the readers of this blog will learn is how to manage money more effectively. Because I know from experience that there’s nothing worse than wondering where all your money went and not having a thing to show for it.

Bookmark this blog & follow along on my personal finance journey, and in the upcoming weeks, be on the lookout for Database Diaries posts from Paula, Andrea and Laura — lots of fun information on pie baking, photography and private investigation coming your way!

Want to do more than read about our experiences with Universal Class? Sign up for your own class! Universal Class offers hundreds of classes on a wide variety of subjects – all for free! It’s easy to sign up – simply search for Universal Class on our database page & follow the instructions. As always, call us or stop by the library for a visit and we’ll be happy to help!

*When you sign up for a class through Universal Class you complete the lessons at your own pace, but have 6 months to finish your lessons from the day you begin the classes.

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