1. Comment by Fabulously Broke — January 21, 2009 @ 7:48 am

    Couldn’t have said it better.

    Taking stock of what you have and what you have coming up is the key to feeling in charge of your finances.

    Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver.

  2. Comment by Green Panda — January 21, 2009 @ 8:20 am

    @Fabulously Broke: Thanks! Finances can seem intimidating, but if you do it little by little, you can succeed.

    @Miranda: I appreciate the support. :) I agree that budgets don’t have to be scary or complicated. Frugal Coast2Cost had a great radio show on budget just this week.

  3. Comment by Miranda — January 21, 2009 @ 8:12 am

    Great post! In this economic times it’s especially important to know where you stand with your finances — and have a plan for where you are going.

  4. Comment by Craig — January 21, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

    So much advice, can easily be broken down and expanded upon, which I’m sure you will. You have to know where you stand like you mention before anything. Without knowing your current situation, you can’t plan for a future one. That is step 1 and something people don’t realize. They may want to budget or change ways, but don’t fully analyze where they currently stand. People should step back and take an overview approach to their situation to help them better prepare for what needs to come next.

  5. Comment by Green Panda — January 21, 2009 @ 5:25 pm

    @Craig. Thanks, I’m going to expand a bit more, but I ‘m going to ask other personal finance bloggers i they have any helpful references. If you have any posts on career, organizing your money, or budgeting, please let me know.

  6. Comment by Craig — January 21, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

    @Green Panda Being new to the working world I could write a post on finding a job post college. Is that something you would be interested in having as a guest post?

  7. Comment by Green Panda — January 21, 2009 @ 10:57 pm

    @ Craig: Oh, yeah most definitely! I love guest posts :) Or even if you have a post on your site, I’d link to it as well. I want to spread the love and knowledge.

  8. Comment by SimplyForties — January 21, 2009 @ 11:46 pm

    My biggest “tip” is to track every single penny, which I do with Excel spreadsheets. I could not begin to redirect my money effectively until I knew where it was going. Last year I added my credit card debt on the spreadsheet so I could see it dwindling with each payment. This year I added my mortgage and another loan that I have. I was a little hesitant to do that because I was afraid those big numbers would be a little daunting. As it turned out, I love it! After paying this month’s bills, my total amount of debt, including my mortgage dipped below $100,000. I find it pretty exciting to watch that number go down.

  9. Comment by Studenomics — January 21, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

    I like the idea of automating finances because this is something that I started doing as soon as I turned 18. Granted, I don’t have a fortune saved but I am proud for starting my journey towards financial independence at such a young age. I set up 3 automatic payments: retirement account ($100 a month), savings (undisclosed), and emergency fund ($50 a month).

  10. Comment by Green Panda — January 22, 2009 @ 8:01 am

    @Studenomics: Congratulations on setting up your bank accounts! Financial independence is a process, so you’re doing great. Thanks for sharing your story.

    @SimplyForties: Wow, that’s fantastic. Did you make the spreadsheet yourself or did you have template? Awesome job either way. I’m happy you’re knocking the debt down. :)

  11. Comment by SimplyForties — January 22, 2009 @ 11:16 am

    @GreenPanda – Thanks! I made the spreadsheet myself. As a bonus, I’d never been that conversant in Excel, having always been a lover of Access, and making the spreadsheet do what I wanted it to do made me grow to love Excel. I love watching those numbers go down every month!

  12. Comment by Green Panda — January 22, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

    @SimplyForties: Designing your own Excel is fantastic. I had a spreadsheet for myself, but when we did a joint, he wanted something different. He’s so picky.

  13. Comment by richerandslimmer.com — January 25, 2009 @ 8:09 pm

    Good post with lots of good advice. However, I actually disagree with the “Use you cash, not credit cards” advice. I pay my credit cards in full everymonth. Using them gives me rewards points that I can cash out and I can keep track of exactly where I am spending all my money by just looking at the statements (without having to write anything down).

  14. Comment by Green Panda — January 26, 2009 @ 7:55 am

    @Richer and Slimer: What I meant was don’t use credit cards as a back up if you spend your food allowance. It would man going over budget and putting it on a credit card which probably has a high interest rate.

    Sorry, I should’ve been clearer with the tip. Thanks though for pointing out reward cards.

  15. Comment by Jason from MoneyTheory — January 27, 2009 @ 12:58 am

    I definitely feel that knowing where you stand at all times with regards to all things financial definitely helps. It keeps a person organized and well prepared, especially when it comes to spending.

  16. Comment by Green Panda — January 27, 2009 @ 7:51 am

    @Jason: It can be pretty surprising when you see exactly where you are financially.

  17. Comment by threadbndr — January 27, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

    Even when I use a credit card that I pay off every month (points) or a debit card (to make my 12 transaction for the interest bearing checking account), I still watch the budget. There have been studies that show people unconciously spend more with plastic. As long as you are alert and aware, you can stop yourself from doing that.

  18. Comment by Green Panda — January 27, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

    @threadbndr: So true! I think part of the problem is people don’t associate money with the cards. I know some people seem to forget it either comes from your checking account directly or you have to pay every month.

  19. Comment by Trevor@ Financial Nut — March 5, 2009 @ 10:19 am

    I found your site via Studenomics. Love your work!

    I like what you say about solidifying your current employment. In order to find “real” financial security, you’ve got to be valuable in the eyes of the rest of the world, as they’re more then likely the ones that will be signing your pay check.

    I posted about that recently too. Be valuable! Work hard! When layoffs come, your name may not be called!

    Keep up the good work on the site. :)

  20. Comment by Green Panda — March 5, 2009 @ 1:49 pm

    @ Trevor Thanks for the support. Hopefully working hard and network smart can give you some protection in this economy. Even if you do get laid off, a good reputation and solid references can go a long way.

    BTW, after reading your blog (love the post on resume tips), I subscribed. Hope to read some more wonderful articles.

  21. Comment by Johanne — March 5, 2009 @ 10:40 pm

    Excellent tips. A lot of them involve sacrifice. But then again, tough economic times call for sacrifice. It wouldn’t be called belt-tightening for nothing. But with discipline and resolve, it’s not impossible to weather the storm.

  22. Comment by dawn — March 19, 2009 @ 11:03 am

    This is a very timely post.

    Nothing can unhinge your finances more quickly than a job loss. There are some specific steps you can take to shore up your finances if you’re worried about losing your job (and who isn’t, these days.

    Check out my story, 10 Financial Tips to Prepare for a Layoff: http://www.creditfyi.com/How-To-Prepare-For-A-Possible-Layoff.htm

  23. Comment by Jim L. — March 20, 2009 @ 11:15 am

    This is a great comprehensive list! The best piece of advice on here (and the one that everything else builds off of in my opinion) is to avoid new debt. Think of what you could do without the month-to-month obligation of credit card payments, car payments, etc. We just might be able to save enough month-to-month to buy the next item with cash…and the next….and the next. Avoid debt and we could have financial freedom where we are not under the constant jurisdiction of creditors.

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