The basics of personal finance are pretty straightforward, but it’s easy for us to think that because we’re in a specific season of life, like graduate school, they don’t all apply. Here is a basic list of finance fundamentals as discovered through extensive research for books like The Millionaire Next Door:
Those are pretty basic fundamentals – the only one I would quibble with is following financial markets, which many experts say is a waste of time. The reality is that following the market is probably an indicator of overall financial diligence. It’s correlation not causation.
It is easy to think that while we’re in a very tight season of life, as grad school is, that basics like spending less then we earn and savings aren’t possible.
While I would be the first to agree that it is very difficult, I would set it as a practice to live on a budget (spend what you earn) and save, even if it is a very small (almost token) amount. The point is that these practices will carry over into our future when our financial picture changes.
I’m continually challenged that to be “faithful with the little things” isn’t primarily a promise of future blessing, it is a promise that I will be changed. I continually screw it up, but let’s try again today.
“Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden