It’s Time for a Financial Tune-Up!

Let Jean Chatzky and Learnvest.com help you improve your spending and saving habits

You keep close tabs on your bank account balance. Pay off — or work toward paying off — your credit card bills every month. You direct a certain portion of your income into savings each pay period, and clip coupons when you can find the time. Or do you?

If you’re not doing these things, you at least know you should be. So why not start? It’s time for a financial tune-up. Some people like to pull this overhaul at the start of a new year, as the first resolution on a blank slate. But that’s not my style; I’d much prefer you make some changes right now. Waiting another three months means three more months of credit card debt, missed savings opportunities, a disorganized budget — or whatever else is haunting you at the moment.

Lucky for you, I just helped the folks at LearnVest develop a free ten-day boot camp. It’s a chance to change your trajectory. Through a series of emails, we’ll work together to shape up a few key areas:

  • How you spend. You may know my approach to this: We’re going to track your pennies. I want you know where your money is going, how much those cab fares are really costing you each month, and what expenses can be scaled back. In some cases, it will be about calling the cable company and asking how they can do better. In others, you’ll need to make more difficult choices – walking instead of taking a taxi, carpooling to work to cut your gas bill, skipping your morning croissant.
  • How you save. Nearly everyone can use some help here, because we’re hard-wired to focus on short-term goals — the new pair of shoes, the Christmas list — over far-off objectives like retirement. But I’ll show you how to make a plan so you can retire worry free, whether that date is 20 years down the road or right around the corner.
  • How you earn. Very few people -– and even fewer women — are maximizing their earning potential right now. Through the boot camp, you’ll learn how to negotiate for a raise (yes, it’s okay to ask in this economy, as long as you do it the right way). We’ll also talk about how to moonlight on the side to earn even more cash.
  • How you budget. I know what some of you are thinking: You don’t budget. But that’s all part of the tune-up, because it’s time to start. A well-crafted budget isn’t limiting; it’s freeing, because it shows you exactly how much money you have left at the end of the month to save and, yes, spend. If you’re measuring your spending, you’re managing your spending, and that’s always a good thing. I’ll share my budget pie chart, which gives you a guideline for how much you should be spending on each area of your life: Housing, entertainment, debt repayment, transportation.

3 comments so far.

  1. avatar Irreverent says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  2. avatar Chris Glass` says:

    The most important part of getting ahead financially is premarital financial planning. It puts couples on the same page at the start of their life. They learn to talk openly about money and set goals as a couple. Both go into the marriage knowing exactly what assets and debts they face so there are no surprises down the road. You can’t tune up finances unless you can talk about money openly.