The Money Principle Brain Teaser: what are the three most financially savvy things you’ve done?

We have not done the MP Brain Teaser for some time now – since July to be precise. It is time to resume it; but with a twist. This time, I am not going to start profound discussions about moral qualms or life positions. What I would do is ask questions that will help us get to know each other a little bit better – you will get to know me, I will get to know each of you and you will also get to know each other. Hopefully!

Let’s play.

Today’s question is:

What are the three most financially savvy things you have ever done?

Ok, I’ll start (told you I’m an impatient one).

Of course, like most people around, I have done many financially dumb things in my life; hell, let’s be honest. If there is somewhere a ranking of financially dumb actions I probably rank pretty close to the top (all this is in the past, you realise; and soon you will hear why). But let’s kick off with the financially savvy things.

First will have to come getting myself educated about all things money related. Two years ago money was not in my universe; or I was in a universe of my own. I had no idea how much I earn, not a clue how much we spend and the price of a pint of milk was a ‘million dollar’ question. Crisis brings awakening; or demise. In my case the crisis brought awakening and I set out to educate myself about money, how does it work in economies and what does it mean to me (and my family). I am a fast learner and started this blog to share some of this awareness around.

The second savvy thing I did recently was to track my personal spending and get it under control. I never knew that I spent over £300 ($470) per month on coffee, lunch and car parking alone. Working out my ‘protected wants’ was invaluable: allowing myself to have what my desires crave was enough to kill the compulsion. Doesn’t sound much but I rate this as one of the most important changes on my way to wealth and prosperity.

Third, we are seriously demolishing our negative wealth. Any one ready to argue that reducing your negative wealth is a savvy thing to do? No, I didn’t think so.

Now over to you!

11 thoughts on “The Money Principle Brain Teaser: what are the three most financially savvy things you’ve done?”

  1. Okay FW I will play!

    Not too sure if I am particularly savvy re finances. I know the theory, I can (and do) advise others how to get control, however I am not so good at taking my own advice, although gradually, very very gradually I am getting there!

    The three most financially savvy things I have learned are:

    1. Joining my local credit union, this has been invaluable to me over the years and is something I am quite passionate about. I went on Friday to open an account for my grandson, unfortunately I misstimed my visit and they were closed, but we will go back on Monday and get the deed done!
    So many people use the likes of ***vident, payday loan companies etc for short term money solutions which end up costing them far too much, and in some cases taking stretched finances to oblivion. The credit union is a much more sensible solution. (Can you tell I speak from experience?)

    2. Keeping a spending diary for one month. That really did open my eyes to how wasteful I am, and how much money I could save if I spent some time planning.

    3. Realising that the banks are not really ‘There for you’. they are only there for you while the good times roll, but the minute you get into any difficulty they drop you like a hot brick. So, don’t believe the adverts people – it’s all bull****!!!!

  2. @Helen: Well done, Helen. I am exploring the Credit Union situation now. If I could only convince John to ditch the bank – at least partially. I like your third point; and it is very to the point as well: someone said that the banks give you an umbrella when the sun is shining and want it back when it is raining.

  3. 1. Build a store cupboard – but you guys already knew I was going to say that didn’t you? I credit this with being the one thing that got me debt free.

    2. Accepted that “financial survival” is going to be about the skills I have in the future. So have “invested” my time in learning how to knit, sew, cook, make soap, garden, erect stud walls, write books – anything that I can do that saves me spending instead.

    3. Saved an “emergency” pot in a Credit Union – no need to have a credit card for emergencies (tooo tempting)

  4. I think the best thing I’ve ever done was signing up for Mint and watching where our money is going. Boy was it an eye-opener! Now, the only thing that is left is to get control over those unreasonable expenses that I see hitting our account.

    1. @Aloysa: As I said, I am looking forward to Mint starting in the UK. As to controlling the expenses, in my experience even the knowledge of these makes one midful of their spending habits. Simples, as a friend of mine says.

  5. 1.I designed a money tracking Excel spreadsheet which serves as a budgeting tool as well as reality check device and a way to figure out what has to be done in order to put aside an X amount of money in X months. I update it daily and our financial situation has improved vastly since I started doing this
    2.I love cooking and I’ve been collecting quick, easy and cheap recipes for years. I am aware of food prices and sales cycles and know a good deal when I see it. My freezer is full of home-made bite-size pastry appetizers which I prepare in large bathes and freeze for future use. We have friends over at least twice a week and without planning and frugal tricks our crazy social life would’ve cost a lot
    3.Taking full advantage of the internet has helped a lot to be able to live a good life without paying too much for it- adopting great ideas from blogs and forums, researching customer reviews and watching instructional videos are just a few examples. And yes, time is money and I spend a lot of time combing the internet for useful information but I actually enjoy doing it.

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