Why do you need a budget? Is your spending out of control? Do you know where your money is going? What are you spending your money on? Those are some reasons why you need to have a budget. If your spending is out of control and your in debt up to your eyeballs, you need to budget.
So we left off and I was just getting ready to start college. I started college in January of 2007 at Dakota State University in Madison, SD. I was majoring in Compute Information Systems. A few days before classes were going to start I moved up into the dorms with the help of my parents. I got all settled in before my roommate had started moving his stuff in yet. I met the people on my floor and started making new friends. I was lucky that a lot of the stuff I needed for a dorm room I had gotten as graduation gifts from high school like a mini fridge, microwave, etc.
This is the start of my story and how I got into debt. I don’t remember exactly when this all started, but it wasn’t to long after graduating high school it all started. A couple weeks after I graduated from high school I enlisted in the South Dakota Army National Guard. In my contract I would be receiving a $20,000 enlistment bonus plus a kicker for the GI Bill. At this point in time I had no debt, my parents had bought me a car when I was 14 and got my license. It was a pretty sweet 1991 Buick Regal Grand Sport. They also were paying for my car insurance. I had no credit cards at this point.
So now that we’ve set up the basics of getting your emergency fund started, how do you fund it? There are several different ways to get you started saving for emergencies. How much you will have to get depends on several things. How much money are you going to start with initially for the emergency fund?
Did you know there is a free website out there right now that allows you to check your credit history and get a free credit score at any time? Well if you didn’t, today is your lucky day. I stumbled upon this little gem about 7-8 months ago while I was trying to determine how bad I had messed up my score with my terrible spending habits. I was skeptical at first because I figured it was like most of those other “free credit score” things like you see on TV. The ones that you have to sign up for something to get it free.
Setting up an emergency fund is a big factor in getting on your path to financial freedom. This is one of the few things that any of the personal finance gurus will agree on; that you must have an emergency fund setup. I’ve actually been told that I should do this for a very long time. I never did listen until the last couple of weeks. On my deployment overseas one of the sergeants that I had became good friends with was a big follower of Dave Ramsey and he was stressing to everyone that would listen to setup an emergency fund. I never did listen and it got me deeper into debt because I did not listen.
So as I have started out on my question for financial freedom I have quickly realized that if you do not have a monthly budget you are going to be heading down the wrong path very quickly. Prior to my change I never really thought very hard about where all my money was going, which is a very bad thing to do. If you do not account for your money, its just wasted.
Here is a little bit about myself and why I have started this website.
I’m a 24 year old that has never really been great with money. Whenever I have gotten any type of sum of money in the past I have no idea what I end up spending that money on. I joined the South Dakota Army National Guard at the age of 18 and received a $20,000 sign on bonus and received half after I completed basic training and AIT (Advanced Individual training) and the second half after 3 years of service.