Haaaaaaappy Monday! A few weeks ago, J + I hit up Citizens Bank Park in Philly (where the Phillies play baseball!) for a fun lil’ afternoon courtesy of Citizens Bank, the park’s namesake. They were throwing a “Graduation Celebration” with free food, games, giveaways, etc. in honor of any recent grads (altho anyone could come!), and to help introduce folks to their awesome student checking account program. (They were also working to give back to City Year Philadelphia, who is fighting the national dropout crisis, and Year up, which empowers 18-24 year olds to go from poverty to a professional career in one year – how cool is that?!).
Which got me thinking…my first ever bank account (which I still have to this day) was with Citizens Bank. I *distinctly* remember going to the bank down the street with my Dad one day in high school to open my accounts – a checking + savings. My dad was always “old school” in the sense that he loveloveloved going TO the bank. He would never (slash WILL never) bank online. I could explain it to him a hundred times, but there’s just something the dude gets from taking physical checks to the physical bank to cash. And I don’t blame him – it def comes with some satisfaction to physically transfer money to your account. #ShowMeTheMoney. I think I got a lot of money habits from my dad, and others I just picked up over time and with experience. But since he got me started early thinking about money/having an active role in my own financial wellbeing (so grown up – ha!), I was definitely able to get a healthy headstart on developing *solid* money habits then that have stuck with me to this day, and that I continue to implement to set myself (+ my family now) up for the best possible future.
SO, today, I thought it might be fun/interesting/helpful to share some of the most helpful money habits I’ve had since high school, with my friend at Citizens Bank!
Gonna toot my own horn for a hot sec – I was *always* a responsible little cat. I think I was just always someone who got enjoyment out of rising to challenges, so accepting responsibility was like second nature for me. But when it comes to good money habits, accepting responsibility is always numero uno on the list of important ones to adopt ASAP.
Rich people (I’m talkin’ specifically those who intentionally create their own wealth and don’t just inherit it) are responsible people. They’re smart + savvy, and they fully understand that their actions + decisions now directly impact the money in their account(s) later.
Develop discipline + intentionality.
Whether you’re trying to drink more water, read your Bible, get out to make friends or hit the gym on the reg, good habits take discipline to create. Same goes for money habits – they take dedicated effort + intention to make it happen. It’s especially important when it comes to $$$, since it takes smart saving to hit goals to get to the bigger/better on your wishlist (be that a Gucci bag, a car, a trip, you name it).
When I first started “budgeting,” I used envelopes. The good ol’ “envelope budgeting” method, they call it today. Back in the day, I did it because at that point, I did not yet have a bank account, and my “income” largely consisted of cash accrued from birthdays and Christmases. But if/when I “made bank,” I wasn’t quick to jump on a shopping spree; I was always big on having goals to work towards, and planning accordingly (I guess Hit the Goal, Get the Gucci got its start here? Ha!). With no monthly rent or groceries bill (thanks mom), I would set aside cash in my envelopes for things like a future car, a trip to Disneyworld with my friends for graduation, etc. And I had written on the envelopes exactly how much I needed to be able to trade in that cash for what was written on the envelope in Sharpie marker. I’d also write benchmark dates as I hit milestones (example: $1,000 in the envelope in saving $10,000 towards a car, etc).
I think it’s safe to say I got a little help in the discipline category here, seeing as my parents would lock my envelopes away for me in a hidden fireproof safe. So…I didn’t have to harness TOO much self control. 😉 But still, the thought was there!
Get creative with earning.
Embrace side hustles! Good money habits are driven by knowing how much work (X) you need to put in to achieve Y. Traditionally thinking, more X = more Y. But if you want less X and more Y, it’s time to get creative! SO many side hustles nowadays lend themselves to that. And I’m currently reading The 4-hour Workweek, so it’s been on my brain. 😉
When I was heading into my senior year of high school, I remember applying to work at Victoria’s Secret at the mall. And…I never heard back. I was SO sad and lowkey salty about that one. But after that rejection, I had decided to apply for a paid internship at our county’s newspaper, in the teen section. They only hired two interns for the year, and it was a competitive, coveted role – and I got it. That experience totally fueled my lovelovelove of writing even moreso, taught me so much about running a publication, and undeniably played a role in getting CUR to where it is today. So…things happen for a reason, and sometimes the more off-the-beaten-path job ends up being the most beneficial down the line.
Develop a savings mindset (before spending/splurging).
Many peeps (especially in high school/younger) jump to spend the second you’re gifted money (birthday money, Christmas money, etc). Instead, I’d save it – in my envelopes! When it comes to money habits, it’s all in the mind. If you have a savings mindset, you’ll go much farther, so long as you’re *strategically* saving and not just irrationally spending money on whatever shiny object shows up in an ad on Pay Day.
Use a savings account.
My first checking + savings account back in the day with Citizens Bank! Citizens Bank actually just launched a *bombdotcom* student checking account program to encourage folks to open accounts + start the whole adulting thing ASAP (because really, the sooner the better when it comes to money, interest, credit, all that jazz, especially if ya wanna retire a millionaire). If you’re under 25 opening an account, the monthly maintenace fee is waived, there is no minimum balance required in your account, + you can open the account with any amount. So if you find yourself in a perpetual state of being a Twitter meme with $3.26 to your name…no problemo, no judgment, no fee for that. Bless up. 😉
Get comfortable with cash.
Envelope budgeting was a great start, so that my checking account was just a natural extension of that. But folks run into trouble when they swipe their credit card like there’s no tomorrow – and forget that it all needs to be paid off by the end of the month with *cash* lest ya face interest, fees, and all sortsa other no good stuff. 😉
If you’re prone to just whip out the Platinum on a whim, practice leaving it in your wallet (or at home altogether) and only bringing enough cash for the purchases you need to make and/or PLAN on making that day. It’s a good practice that can eliminate those oops impulse buys that I’m 100% guilty of making every time I’m in the checkout line of Forever 21 dangflabbit.
Balance your checkbook.
…My mom made me do it. But I’m kinda sorta glad she did! Remember when actual physical checkbooks were a thing? Are they still? I distinctly remember the days of sitting down to ~balance~ my checkbook. Which was totally no fun at the time, but definitely taught those good lessons on the importance of staying on top of your own money, never making assumptions, + reconciling regularly! It connects the dots between cash/enveloping and a checking account, while keeping you accountable.
I don’t keep a hard checkbook now because of how much technology we now have access to, but the idea of reconciling finances is the key here. Whether you reconcile as you go, every week, every two weeks – make sure you’re doing it! The WORST feeling is waiting too long and then feeling l-o-s-t within the depths of your own account. I know, because I’ve been there come tax time, and it wasn’t pretty. That place typically involves a panic attack or two, too much caffeine, and also too much wine. I predominantly use mobile banking from Citizens Bank now, which I check every single week to make sure all of my deposits/withdrawals add up to my actual activity. (I also use their mobile deposit all of the time, so it’s great to deposit checks on the go, instantly see where it went, and then spend/save accordingly!)
Don’t forget real people.
So many of us (myself included) are waaaaaaay more inclined sometimes to do everything online or on our phones from the comfort of our couches, especially if it means avoiding all other human contact for a hot sec. Especially since we CAN – why wouldn’t we? Sometimes putting on a bra and real pants is just too much of a struggle for a lazy Saturday afternoon, and the last thing I’m doing is leaving my house. But other times…it’s just v necessary.
A real world example: J is all about that online banking life. Really, he’s about that online EVERYTHING life. So much so, that he has switched accounts all over the place in the past just to make his life as “easy” as possible…and as digitized. But turns out, it can have its downsides; we had a very not-so-pleasant experience not too long ago with a “he who shall not be named” bank. We were moving accounts around and trying to link the two of us together, yadda yadda yadda. But the process took six dang months (literally), because we couldn’t talk to an actual human being in person. We were relying on email correspondence + phone calls to customer service, which turned into nightmare after nightmare of having to re-explain the same dang situation to the same dang people. It was bad. So…there’s an upside to “having” to go talk to someone face-to-face. Namely, that in the case of anything happening that’s not exactly coming up roses, you’ve got someone cornered to have that conversation, and you can refuse to leave until it’s resolved the right way ;).
Citizens Bank is BIG on people. They really have it in their mission to *listen* to their peeps, understand their needs, offer tailored advice, and give actual solutions to unique circumstances. I mean, we’re all different, so it only makes sense amiright?! They’ve got a 24/7 customer contact center, ~3,300 ATMs, and ~1,150 branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, + Midwest region. I can compare/contrast the user experience I’ve personally had with Citizens on the phone, versus the other “he who shall not be named” experience above, and WOW…no competition. You know when you care a lot about something and just want a real convo to get your real Q’s answered in a way that’s respectable + genuinely helpful??? Yeah, clearly we didn’t get that before. But you get that with Citizens, which I really value, especially since I’ve been personally banking with them for my personal checking/savings since – oh I dunno – 2010ish???
What money habits did you develop young that have helped (or hurt) you today?
I think it would be *so interesting* to hear! Also, have you ever heard of Citizens Bank?? Do you prefer banking mobile/all online, or in-person, or a combo of both?
Let’s chitchat about it below!
*Thanks to Citizen’s Bank for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions + thoughts presented are entirely my own. Thank YOU for supporting the brands that support Coming Up Roses!