Tina Roth is personal finance blogger at ProFinance Blog, who writes about money saving, personal finance and financial freedom to help people get most out of their money.
Here, she shares her advice on getting out of debt and managing your money. Read on:
Can you tell us about your journey into personal finance? How did you become interested in the subject?
Looking back, my parents were not able to assist me with my college tuition; I had to fund my education with a student loan. I felt pretty frustrated at first, then I realized the importance of being frugal, learning money-management skills and staying focused to clear my loans.
Can you share an anecdote about an important money lesson you had to learn the hard way? What happened?
We live and we learn, right? The biggest financial mistake I made was not planning for my financial future. I left college with $7,500 in student loans and it took me years to recover.
Now, I’ve learned to put a plan in place before taking any kind of financial burden – treat a student loan with respect. All you need is a strategy in advance to deal with your future money goals.
What is your philosophy and/or approach to money management? How has it evolved as you’ve gotten older?
In simple words, my life is the journey to a debt-free future and hopefully a financially secure future. I started my journey to be debt free a while ago and when I started, I was a short-term goal achiever. The focus was only to become debt free. But now, as I am getting older, I have realized the importance of long-terms goals, especially when it is about money and the future.
How did you tackle paying off debt? Why was it important to you to recover from your debt?
This really feels good to say: after years of hard work and sacrifice, I am now heading to a debt-free life. I worked really, really hard. I kept expenses low and automated my finances.
Initially, it was stressful. I knew that I wanted to earn extra money – did some online jobs. I set a strict budget. I made a pretty good progress in the very first year itself when I paid $5,000.
Money that you borrow today must be repaid over time, that is where debt lowers the quality of life. Living a life without any debt ultimately means more freedom and a stress-free, secure life.
How do you use credit today? Why do you take this approach?
For me it is very simple, the effects are helpful or harmful depending on the skill and knowledge of the user. I have my payments automated.
What have you found are the best techniques for saving money?
For me, it is not about how much I save, but how much I spend. I do not spend money on things that I do not need, and there is always a cheaper alternative. These days, we have more cash-saving schemes than ever. Modern technology has changed the way we look at the money.
What’s been one of the most unique money-saving tip you’ve heard from a reader?
I never knew online friends could help us save a lot until one of my friends shared it with me. You can read the article here.
What’s one piece of personal finance advice you find yourself repeating over and over?
I always keep telling people that saving money is a marathon not a sprint – it takes some time. Sit down with a pen and paper to track your regular expenditures first. Find out miscellaneous expenses beyond your regular monthly bills. Then you can find ways to cut down those expenses and save. The you can automate your money habits.
What are your favorite tools for managing money?
I usually use Mint, Smarty Pig, You Need a Budget (YNAB), MoneyDance and BillGuard applications to manage my money.
Find an easy, straightforward solution for managing your money.
“The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Green Dot Corporation.”