5 Money Moves You Should Make to Reach Your Financial Goals

Cardi B shouldn’t be the only person making money moves this year. It’s time for you to get your financial life all the way together and I have 5 money moves that’ll help you do just that.

But, before I dive into those tips, allow me to be transparent and share my own financial journey. Some of you have followed my evolution over the last five years and know the huge financial goal that I was able to accomplish. For the rest of you, here’s my story....

In 2011, I was completing graduate school and getting ready to start my first “real” job. I was blessed enough to have secured a spot within a rotational leadership program prior to graduation, so the only thing that I had to do was graduate. 

I remember getting my job offer letter and being exciting that I’d finally be making real money, and not the chump change my Graduate Assistant job was paying me. Don’t get me wrong, it was enough to help me eat and even get gas, but it certainly couldn’t pay the bills. That’s where my student loans came in.

Oh, the joys of student loans…

I had taken out loans to help cover the costs of living, tuition, and books. So by the time that I was finishing graduate school, I had over a whopping $78K in student loan debt. This was the sum total of 4 years of in-state, undergraduate study and 1 year of graduate school at a private college. I was DEEP in debt.

I’d like to think that for ungrad, at least, I had the excuse of ignorance. Like any 17 year old, I had no clue what I was signing myself up for. All I knew was that I was going to the college of my dreams and it was paid for. Little did I know that 4 years later, Auntie Sallie Mae and her crew would be infiltrating my mailbox with notices of deferments ending and payment being required. (Sidenote: I really didn’t have Sallie Mae loans, but her friends aren’t any better.)

So there I was with a job secured, ready to take on the world and this debt. But first, I had to learn how to budget. I was literally about to become a real, bill paying adult and I needed to know how to manage this money I was about to get.

I did what you’d probably do. I searched Google until I came up with a template that I thought would work. Well...about that. There was so much that I didn’t know about finances that the budget was really no replacement for my lack of knowledge. Like what the heck is a 401K and exactly how much is Uncle Sam taking from my paycheck? What I thought was going to be a grand effort to get my finances under control and my debt paid off was a fruitless exercise that didn’t get me anywhere.

Regardless of whether I had it together or not, Sallie Mae and company were getting their money and if I knew what was good for me, I would pay it on time.

Despite the fact that I was making very decent income, I still managed to accrue overdraft fees, live paycheck to paycheck, and only put a laughable amount away in savings. One thing was for sure, though, those student loan companies were getting their money every. single. month. Too bad there was no money left for me to do anything adventurous with my life. All the while, I watched as my peers traveled the world while I looked at my bank account like, “How Sway, how?” The extent of my travels included work, church, maybe the mall, and home. Oh yea, and if I really saved, I could afford a trip home to visit my family.

Eventually, I got sick and tired of being broke. And let's be clear, you don’t have to make minimum wage to be broke. You can make six figures, but if you mismanage ….you’re broke, bruh.

Tweet: ...let's be clear, you don’t have to make minimum wage to be broke. You can make six figures, but if you mismanage ….you’re broke, bruh. -@girtalkwithfo
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...let's be clear, you don’t have to make minimum wage to be broke. You can make six figures, but if you mismanage ….you’re broke, bruh.   

I tried hiring a financial adviser that I couldn’t afford and whose services weren’t even worth a penny of what I paid him. After enough articles, books, and videos, I landed on Dave Ramsey. Complete game changer. His teachings were the catalyst for me making the seemingly insurmountable goal of becoming debt free by 30.

And you know what? I achieved that goal with 3 years to spare using the same methods that I talk about in my FREE Goal Planning Guide. In fact, you can check out my video talking about it here.

After getting that debt out of my life like a bad boyfriend, I decided to continue winning with my finances. Or, as I’ll put it today, I began making other money moves that have propelled my finances beyond what I could have ever imagined 5 years ago. Here are some money moves that I made and that I am still making to reach my financial goals.

  • 1. Create a budget.

We have been so brainwashed to believe that having a budget means that you’re broke. I beg to differ! Having a budget means that you’re smart and want to be a good steward over what you have. On the contrary, I’d venture to say that broke people probably don’t have a budget. How do I know? Because I used to be broke. A budget enables you to plan for expenses so that you aren’t spending out of your means or coming up short at the end of the month. It is your monthly money strategy that will help your reach your financial goals.

  • 2. Put it toward debt. 

This one is pretty obvious, seeing as I just opened up this blog post talking about my debt free journey. Any extra money that you have after your expenses should be put toward paying off debt. Seriously, you will never understand true financial freedom until you’ve been freed from the bondage of debt. There are tons of financial coaches out there that can actually help you (unlike my financial advisor). Not sure who to start with? Start here.

  • 3. Stop using it to purchase things that depreciate

Honestly, if I see another person post a picture of a brand new car during “tax season” again, I’ll scream. Ladies, ladies, ladies (and gents), putting your money in things that depreciate, say...as soon as you drive off the lot, is not a money move that you want to make. I’ll be honest, I’ve never owned nor will I ever own a brand new car. It just doesn’t make financial sense to purchase something that depreciates upwards of 20% within its first year. Put your hard earned money to invest in things that appreciate. That brings me to move 4...

  • 4. Invest

The thought of investing may very well be frightening. It certainly was for me. Where do you start? How do you invest? What should you invest in? If I'm honest, I'm still not a pro at investing, but despite my lack of expertise, I've put money in funds that will grow and set me up for a comfortable retirement. Don't skip out on your company's 401K. Start putting money away for your future, because one thing is for sure....social security won't help you.

Tweet:Don't skip out on your company's 401K. Start putting money away for your future, because one thing is for sure...social security won't help you. -@girtalkwithfo
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Don't skip out on your company's 401K. Start putting money away for your future, because one thing is for sure....social security won't help you.   

Another quick way to get your money to grow is by putting it into a high interet yielding savings account. My husband and I personally use Ally, which currently has a 1.25% APY. That means, for every dollar you save, you’ll get $0.25. Wouldn't you pick up a quarter that's laying on the ground? Then don't pass up on free money.

My friends over at His and Her Money have some really great information on ways that you can invest and all things money here

  • 5. Take advantage of cash back opportunities

I don’t shop often, but when I do shop, I shop smart. One of the ways that I do that is by taking advantage of opportunities for me to earn by spending. I’m not talking about credit card points, instead I’m talking about programs like Ebates. Over the past year, I’ve earned back close to $200 just from making purchasing from my favorite stores through their site or app. I mean, if you’re going to shop online, why not get cash back for doing it? There are tons of other cash back programs that you can check out. Besides Ebates, my husband and I also use Walmart's cash back program.

Ok, so I just shared 5 money moves that you can make to get to your financial goals. If you’re really trying to make some moves this year, join my FREE Money Mindset webinar to help you get started.