I’ve been enrolled in a family finance class for the past few months at Brigham Young University.  I can’t begin to say how important this experience has been for me; I know it’s vital to live within our means & to be wise in all things over which we are stewards, especially money.

Here are a few of the most important things I’ve learned:

  1. If you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, don’t do anything too important. When you’re in such a state, the only things you should really attempt to do should be to improve how you feel. Otherwise, you’re liable to make a bad decision.
  2. Make car payments to yourself & pay cash for the car. It’s a good habit to save so much for a specific purpose on a regular basis, & you’ll end up collecting interest rather than paying it to someone else.
  3. Have your children earn commission rather than giving them an allowance. If free money is what kids always get, it’s what they’ll always expect. It’s much easier to instill good work habits before bad ones are already there.
  4. “We can’t afford it” is perhaps the most loving thing you can say. Being willing to go without & to teach your spouse or loved ones that they can go without, too, is a powerful way to stay humble. Living within your means as well as possible keeps the peace by encouraging temperance, patience, & appropriate forbearance.
  5. It’s okay to be poor today. Monetary success is something earned, not given. Wealth does not describe the amount of money you have had, but how much you’ve saved& the personal growth you’ve experienced along the way.
  6. It’s hard to find success day-trading. Yes, people can be very good at it, but it can essentially be like gambling. Investing in stocks in a patient, long-game sort of way, should eliminate some (if not all) of the stress that would come from betting your wages on a second-by-second moveable market. It’s best not to watch your investments so anxiously, & to trade them even less so.
  7. Give 10% to the Lord, save 10% to invest, & live on the rest. When the total sum of your income is small, this can seem difficult. But with time, this regular giving & saving will help you; no matter how much your paycheck grows, you’ll be able to spend it if you’re not in the mode of saving it. You’ll be satisfied with yourself even when things are tight, & on top of the world once you’re more well-off.
  8. Start your long-term savings as soon as possible. Again, creating good habits now will be vital for the future. Plus, imagine if I had saved a few dollars every week or two in a diversified, primarily stock-based mutual fund from the time I were a little kid? I probably wouldn’t be able to call myself a “poor college student”.
  9. Saving, rather than splurging, teaches you what you really want. If you opt to save & sacrifice rather than splurge & scrape by, you will often find that what you were saving for initially isn’t as important as you thought it was.
  10. Always consider the opportunity cost of spending your time or money. This is the quickest route, I think, to making wise decisions about how you spend time & money. They are two very important, but also very fleeting, mortal resources. Always weigh your options for the very best outcome.

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