Lauren is the award-winning blogger behind FinancialBestLife.com. We recently asked for her thoughts on the best tools and strategies for managing your money. Here’s what she shared:
Can you tell us about Financial Best Life? What inspired you to start your site?
Previously the site was L Bee and the Money Tree, but at the end of 2016, I re-branded. I wanted the site to be less about my own money journey and more resource-driven and helpful to the readers.
How would you define a “Financial Best Life”? What does it look like?
I believe a true “financial” best life includes not being stressed out by money, and also a life where your spending is in true alignment with your values; that you’re planning and saving and making happen all the important things you want to accomplish in life!
What are your favorite tools for helping individuals strive for their financial best life?
I love Fintech apps; I think they’re changing the way people think about money. I also think the best “tools” around are money blogs, magazines and books. With so many fresh, new voices in the space, personal finance is no longer boring.
How do you approach managing your money? How has the way you manage money evolved as you’ve gotten older?
Before I was a lot more granular with money and constantly tracking it in a spreadsheet. Now, I just make sure I cover ALL of my basics and spend a bit more freely with my “fun” money.
What have been the most important money management lessons you’ve had to learn? If you could go back in time, what would you have done differently?
Keep away from credit cards. It gets out of hand so quickly!
What are the advantages of using payment methods like prepaid cards? How can they help individuals better manage their money?
It’s always better to spend money you have on hand, and also SO MUCH LESS guilt involved.
How do you approach budgeting? What advice can you offer others on creating a budget you’ll actually stick with?
For beginners, I like to recommend the 50-30-20 budget. I still like to come back to it when I feel my spending getting sloppy. The gist is that you allocate no more than 50 percent of take-home pay to living expenses, at minimum 30 percent toward debt repayment and allow yourself 20 percent to spend as you wish.
What’s one piece of financial advice you find yourself repeating over and over to readers?
Money is a lifelong journey: life is long and it changes, and you’ll change too. Because of this, inevitably, your money will change. Be gentle when you mess up and remember we have time to master our finances, so long as we take baby steps each day.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Green Dot Corporation.