No excuses. You can't say "Oh, I'm poor because of bad luck". It's not Friday the 13th every day.
Instead it should be - Save a Penny or Dollars Saturday or Sunday every weekend.
Ladies - I am talking to you. I was raised by a mother who should have been that housewife in the 1950s-60s with the apron, cooking dinner and raising kid - totally dependent on her husband. Well, yes - she chose to stay home and raise kids in to the 1960s but my mother was a domestic engineer and financial wizard. I give her credit for everything I have today, and no matter your age, you can do it too.
Budget - boring but necessary. My mother had envelopes with the titles Grocery, School, Utilities and Fun. She busted up my dad's paycheck into these envelopes and that's what we lived off each week/month. Nowadays, if you have a fancy phone, you can create the exact same idea in your notes section or with free financial
tools. Pay your bills on time and be sure to plug money into savings or a 401K. If you don't have the money in hand, you won't miss it. If your company matches 401K, then maximize your contribution - that's beyond necessary in this day and age. It's "free" money - do not squander the privilege.
Sacrifice - I'm sure there are things my mother wanted, but she had been a child of the depression. (Don't roll your eyes here. That was a serious time and absolutely an awesome example for how to live today) and knew how to postpone gratification. Whether it's just you or for a family, you do not have to own the latest and greatest thing immediately. Save and buy when you aren't going to be in debt. You will better appreciate the treat and not be drowning in debt. Set that example for your kids. Nowadays, too many people buy too much and spoil their kids. It's okay for them to have to wait for a treat. They will be better people for it - they will appreciate you, the item, and it will make them fiscally responsible. It's up to a parent/parents to teach their kids how to respect money. You are doing them a huge favor. Trust me.
Save for the Worse Case Scenario - My mother was sure that my father would be gone by age 55. That sounds horrible, but his father had died at that age. She was very afraid of losing him, but for practical sake she wanted to prepare for her future and for the kids. Thus she made sure to bank as much as possible. As it turned out, she passed at age 60 and he's still going strong at 84. Nonetheless, you just never know.
So - be sure to sock away money in case of death, divorce, ill health, etc. You need a cushion. It might seem morbid, but it's smart money to salt some away for disaster.
Debt Free - pay off credit cards each month. Use coupons. Put money in 401Ks or IRAs or something that keeps you from spending every dime. Constantly compare/contrast and reassess your dollars.
Fun - now I'm going to say spend some money too. Just don't go into debt for it. You have to have some fun - travel, get that big TV, whatever. Life is short - it's all about balance
Ladies - be bold and ask for a raise. Numerous studies show that women are timid about asking for what they are worth. Do not under value your skills. Present your case with confidence and maximize your value. You deserve it. You work hard. Receive the proper compensation.
I truly reflect on my mother's example and admire her and my dad for giving me and my siblings a good life and a good example. Believe me, we were spoiled enough. But I also paid for my own college education. I bought my own townhouse at age 28. I've never been in debt. And my husband and I are partners in a fiscally responsible marriage.
Bad luck is an excuse. Rolling the dice is a gamble. Take charge of your money. Don't let it rule you.
I recommend reading columns or checking out financial tools from http://www.personalcapital.com
And a friend of mine has a very good blog http://www.apennysavedisapennyearned.blogspot.com
Good luck.........no, wait. It isn't luck. It's personal choice. Stay smart and vigilant with your money!!!
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.