So we here at GeniusTalk decided, as a staff, record label, and as a motherf*ckin’ crew, we wanted to discuss the concept of money and give our takes on our personal relationships with it. If you missed it, catch Dayo’s take here.
I honestly didn’t know what to write at first considering I’ve always had a complicated relationship with money. I never really grew up with money, but I definitely didn’t live in poverty. There was always this delicate balance between having enough money to afford essentials like braces and after-school care, but we still shopped for groceries at Price-Rite. Whether you look at it as being broke or just being economical, I definitely understand the value of the dollar (or so I thought) but never had anyone to really teach me about fiscal responsibility. It wasn’t until college, when I lived away from home for the first time and began earning my own money, that I began to learn that bad money habits can spell trouble.
First and foremost, there are thousands of blogs on the internet specially crafted to give you advice on how to quit bad money habits or how to save money, but this ain’t one of those corny ass articles posted on EliteDaily or TheBalance or some shit. I’m giving you the real along with the best tips that have helped keep me alive for this long.
CREATE A BUDGET
The most important thing to point out before I start dropping any real gems is to create a budget. You’ve heard it before and hopefully you might already have one. If so, great! If not, I just have one question, “is you stoopid or is you dumb?”
DON’T SPEND THOSE REFUND CHECKS!
[In my J. Cole voice] Let me speak to all my college kids, as well as my single folk claiming no dependents on their taxes. Trust me. I know the feeling of getting that tuition reimbursement or when the direct deposit hits from your tax return. It’s an indescribable feeling. You’ve probably never seen so much money in your bank account at one time. I get it. So believe me when I tell you, if you are not directly paying off any debt with all of that money, DO NOT SPEND IT! Save that ish. I had to learn the hard way and as I will later point out, I ended up putting a lot of purchases on credit cards, had no cash in order to pay them off and so the balances kept rising. As a kid, I wanted nothing more than to walk into Foot Locker, walk up to the Nike section and tell the employee to, “Give me two purrs!” It’s so easy to want to spend it, but you need to save that money for a rainy day because believe me, it will rain and as a wise man once told me, “when it rains, it pours”.
FLEX WITH STORE-BRAND
This right here is a major key, no Khaled. Living by this rule won’t make you a millionaire by any sense of the imagination, but what it will do is train you to avoid flashy marketing and over paying for brand names. This small tip alone can help save you anywhere between $5–50 a week when purchasing groceries or home goods and especially cleaning products. You’ll be quick to give a “Pffttt….you thought!” when you see that the Target brand costs $3 less than the brand-name item that does the exact same thing!
Since it’s Thursday, here’s a little throwback for all my smart dumb cats out there. P. Tone will get you right on the “Hustla’s Diet”.
IF IT’S FREE, IT’S FOR ME!
This is truly my life motto. There ain’t ever any shame in taking handouts and you’d be a fool to pay for something that you can get fo’ free. Remember, this article is all about tips to help you enhance the bag and you can’t back up the Brinks truck if you’re needlessly wasting said bag. In the couple times I’ve moved cities, I’ve had zero to little furniture when I arrived and purchasing some would’ve been way out of my budget. As such, I took advantage of the resources around me and asked coworkers or friends of friends if they had any furniture or appliances they didn’t want/need. Did you know they even have people giving shit away on Craigslist? Listen, I understand it might seem a little low to have to ask strangers for things, but when you’re chillin’, maxin’ out, relaxin’ all cool on your free couch, eating ramen you heated up in your free microwave, rewatching GoT episodes on your free TV, you won’t be doing too much complaining then. That brings me to my next point…
BORROW A LOG-IN
If you read my last point then this one is self-explanatory. Mooch off your parents/friends/exes as long as humanly possible. If you’re feeling charitable, throw them a couple dollars a month in order to supplement that HBOGo/Netflix/Hulu/Spotify/Amazon Prime subscription. Sharing is caring plus spending over $100 on cable is not the wave. Lord knows you’ll need all the extra bread just to pay for monthly internet service, but if you can also mooch off a homie’s Wi-Fi, do it up!
NEVER CREDIT AND FORGET IT
A smart man once said, “If you ain’t got it, you ain’t got it, the theory is brilliant” and a brilliant theory it is. Now I won’t even begin to front like I wasn’t charging it to the game heavy at one point. Stuff will inevitably come up where you’ll need to throw it on your credit card like unexpected car repairs, last minute concert tickets for the entire group, or cash advances from the ATM at the strip club. It’s a fact of life that you will not always have cash on hand to pay off expenses, but this tip applies two-fold. If, and when, you put those charges on your card, pay it off immediately! Don’t make the mistake that I made; thinking you have all the time in the world to pay it off because interest will hit you harder than a dude in an 8-ball jacket on the L train. If you know you don’t have the cash to pay off purchases in a timely manner, don’t even bother. If there’s a major lesson I’ve learned in my 29 years of life, it is to not buy stuff you can’t afford. Go figure.
“K did that, so hopefully you won’t have to go through that”
BONUS: MAX OUT EMPLOYER MATCH ON YOUR 401K
For my young professionals reading this, this is a low key-major key when it comes to actually furnishing the bag starting out. Most employers will provide a 401K and thus, will also match up to a certain amount (between 3%-10% in most cases). Take advantage of this because if not, you will be giving away FREE MONEY! We already established that if it’s free, it’s for thee so do not leave any potential funds on the table. Wanna be able to buy your way into heaven at 65, but then decide you want to spend it on a necklace? This is where it starts.
ANOTHA BONUS CHUNE FOR YA HEADTOP: LOOK FOR SUPPLEMENTAL INCOME
Shout out to my fellow hardworking millennials out there. No matter what those Baby Boomers say, we believe in working smarter as well as harder and we can all undoubtedly use a little extra casheesh on the side. A little extra walking around money never hurts. With that said, don’t fool yourself into thinking you don’t have the time to work a second (or third) job. You always have more time than you think. It comes down to proper time management, which is another conversation for another day. Selling items online, teaching/consulting from home, completing surveys, or donating bodily fluids are just a few of the ways you can earn a little coin without overextending yourself. There’s money to be made and there’s no reason you can’t be the one getting to it.
So, there you have it. Follow these tips. Embrace them. Live by them and you too can live like Salvatore Ferragamo. Feel free to tweet me some of your personal money tips or ways you save money… or don’t. I won’t lose any sleep.