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Homeschool: How to Get Your Finances in Order

You can't control those reckless banks and free-borrowing governments, but you can get your own budget in order. Here's how.

This week we saw Greece, the birthplace of democracy, riot over austerity measures. Some experts are calling the nation Europe's version of Lehman Brothers. While there's not a whole lot you can do about reckless governments or banks, you can take steps to ensure that your accounts don't spiral into chaos. No matter what stage you're at—heading off to college for the first time, graduating for school and striking off on your own, or a few years (or decades) into your career—it's never too late to get in the habit of saving money. In this week's homeschool, here are four easy steps to get you on track


1) Build the Budgeting Habit: You need a plan for your money no matter how much (or how little) you’re bringing in and that means making a budget. The first step is figuring out how much you're currently spending and how much you need to pay for your necessities (housing, food, transportation). Once you've done that, you'll know how much you need to cut back so you can sock away some cash and stop living paycheck to paycheck.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCQFgMAVcUQ

2) Stop Spending Money on These 10 Things: Really, if you're still buying bottled water, do your wallet and the environment a favor and stop. The other nine tips in the video below—like not spending cash on pricey vitamins—will get you thinking about what else you don't need. If you stop impulse buying at vending machines, for example, you could potentially save $7,000 over your lifetime!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds5mzdJ9ibk

3) Become an Ultimate Cheapskate: If you really need something, can you buy it second-hand or wait to buy it when you can get it on sale? Chances are, the answer is yes for just about everything. But how can you really become a cheapskate (without being annoyingly cheap)? It turns out there's a cheapskate expert who can teach you:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq5VU6BrH8o

4) Share the Bill: Get one membership card to a bulk discount shopping store like Sam’s Club or Costco and then share that card with a group of friends or neighbors. You might not get the exact toothpaste you want, but let's face it, they're pretty much all the same anyway, and you'll have more money to save, or use for things that matter. Bonus: Heading to discount stores can work even if you're on an organic or raw foods diet (or doing our vegan challenge!).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3GpgOfMtNo

Homeschool is a weekly series to help us learn something new, all with a little video fun.

photo (cc) via Flickr user Tracy O

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