Why is it that a few four-letter words have given thousands of perfectly good four-letter words such a bad rap? It doesn’t seem fair does it? I took it upon myself to give them a break. Make a habit of putting these eight words into use, and your finances will be stronger than ever. They won’t offend anybody. You can even say them in front of your parents. How great is that?
Why eight? Well, I was reading an article about how we can be pretty hardheaded when it comes to making changes. The author suggested sometimes we need to get hit over the head with a (figurative) two-by-four to get a message. Multiply two by four and you get eight.
Essential Four-Letter Words
Here you go:
- Plan: It's time to outgrow impulse spending. If you’ve got some exciting goals, and I hope you do, planning before spending will make those goals happen sooner. Whether it’s clothes, groceries or basic household matter, make a list before you head out to spend. You’ll get everything you need and you’ll be less likely to end up with three jumbo jars of peanut butter in the cupboard. (For more, see: Financial Planning: It's About More Than Money.)
- Cook: Sure you’re busy, you’re tired. You come home and the last thing you feel like doing is cooking a meal from scratch. I get that. Take baby steps and make it fun. When you’ve got a little downtime, check out a few online cookbooks and find a new recipe to try. There are millions of recipes that don’t take long, don’t need many ingredients and make great leftovers. Aim for eating one less meal out and cooking one more meal each week.
- Swap: Tired of wearing the same scarves and belts over and over? Tempted to go out and buy a bunch of new ones? Host a swap party instead. Start simple. Invite a few friends to each bring five accessories they’re willing to give up for a while and exchange. It can be temporary or permanent - you decide. Everyone will feel like they got something new to freshen up their wardrobes but nobody spent a dime. This doesn’t have to be just clothing either. Sporting goods, furnishings, kitchen items, tools and electronic gadgets are great candidates for swap sessions.
- Safe: Do what you need to do to keep what you’ve got. If all your electronic accounts still use the same password you’ve had since seventh grade, it’s time to change. No matter how fond you are of CheetosRgr8t you need to come up with something new and tougher to crack. Don’t use just use one password either. Set up different passwords for different accounts.
- Save: You know I was going to put this in here, right? I am sure you are already saving, so bump up your saving percentage by 1%. Go ahead, you’ll be glad you did. Little increases add up to big results. (For more, see: 5 Painless Ways to Save More Money.)
- Roth: Start now. Open a Roth IRA and set up automatic transfers from your checking or savings account into it. You will be so glad you did. I promise. Ever wonder why it’s a Roth? That’s because the legislation was introduced by Senator Roth of Delaware. Just think, if you ran for Congress you could introduce a bill and have something named for you for ever after. Pretty cool.
- Debt: Yes, this can be a good four-letter word. If you’ve got debt of any sort, the good news is you are building a credit history. Make sure it’s a good one by paying your bills on time. At some point or another, you need to have a credit history in order to qualify for (more) debt. I know, that sounds a little strange but if you want to buy a house someday, you get a better rate if you’ve got a higher credit score. The score is based on how well you’ve done in the past with paying off debt so show those financial institutions you’ve got it together.
- Give: Almost all the healthiest, wealthiest folks all give time, money or both to help make the world a better place. If you haven’t done this before try it, you’ll like it. Start giving just a little bit and you’ll be hooked. And if you’re already a giver pat yourself on the back and keep on keepin’ on.
Take these eight four-letter words and make them a part of your life. You will be in a stronger financial place than you are right now. Want to learn more? Read Coin, a great four-letter word and a book that is guaranteed to make you the very picture of perfect financial health. Learn more at www.CoinInTheBank.com.
Let me hear from you. What changes are you making for 2016? (For more, see: Expert Tips for Cutting Credit Card Debt.)