Financial advice for MEL Magazine

Got another call from MEL Magazine based on some of the first-person narratives I provided last year regarding how my wife and I worked our way out of $100,000 in student debt. The writer, Adam Elder, asked for my contribution to “The Normal Person’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions: Spending Less and Saving More.”

I’m not a financial professional, nor am I rich, but I am credited as “a guy who saved his way out of $100,000 in debt.” Here’s what I said:

The first step to spending less and saving more is in the head. We’ve been conditioned to want — and get — our single cookie now, rather than two later. But that’s shortsighted, especially if you can’t even afford a cookie in the first place. Admitting that much is the first step.

Everything else is careful planning. You know how much the cookie costs, so take a list of your obligatory spending (food, rent, insurance, etc.), see how much you have left afterward and hold onto it. This is a savings account, a Roth IRA, an Acorns account, a sock under your pillow. This is also making your food at home, not ordering a cocktail or waiting until the movie is free on streaming. It takes honesty and sacrifice, but eventually, you’ll get your two cookies. Or if you do it right, you’ll get the sugar, flour, butter and chocolate chips to make your own.

Or you could just wrack up a ton of credit card debt and bring it with you to the grave.

Click here to read the rest of the contributions (you know, from qualified people, like accountants and financial planners).


By Ben van Loon

Writer, Researcher, Chicagoan

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