What is personal finance?

Personal finance effects many aspects of our daily lives.  Typically, you need a car to get to work. Well, that takes money. And the gas to make the car go, that also requires money.  You feel hungry.  Yup, it also requires money to buy food. These are only a few examples of personal finance.

Personal finance focuses on the money you bring in, the money you spend, the money you save, and the money you invest.  It all boils down to the decisions you make with your money.

Following is a basic outline describing where you money comes from and major expense categories of where it usually goes.

INCOME

Your income is the money you make at your job, from your online business, or by managing a business that you own.

For young children, it can be the allowance they receive from their parents by doing chores around the house.

EXPENSES

Expenses is where your money goes.  You are trading your money for a service or product.  Major expense categories tend to be your mortgage and car (along with car related expenses).

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Mortgage/Rent

This tends to be one of the largest expenses a person has.  It’s important to try to keep this low so you can afford your other bills and even set money aside for an emergency fund or retirement.

Auto & Fuel & Maintenance

Unless you live in New York or another major city hub, you generally need a car to get to and from work and around the city.  Of course, if you own a car, you also need to buy gas to make the car go.  Cars have needs just as humans do and sometimes they need to go to the car spa, I mean shop which can quickly add up as well.

Insurance (Home, Auto, Renters, Health)

By law, if you own a car, you are required to have a minimum auto insurance policy.  If you own a house (or in the process of currently paying for it), you also have to have home-owners insurance.  If you rent, some communities require you to have renters insurance.  Since health care costs are extremely inflated, most people pay for a health insurance policy as well in case they need medical care at some point.

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Utilities

You don’t rely on electricity to heat or cool your house do you?  Oh, of course you do.  You generally have to pay for cable, internet, electricity, water, and sometimes gas depending where you live.

Food

You don’t have to eat food to survive do you?  Of course you do.  And so do I.  Unless you have a green thumb and are a dedicated gardener, you also need money to buy food to eat.

Entertainment

After working so hard to make money to pay for your other bills, you probably also want to have some fun or buy a new toy.  You guessed it, buying stuff also requires money.

Debt

If you have student loans or credit car debt, your expenses can also include debt repayment.

SAVING

Emergency Fund

The reality of today is that there is no such thing as job security.  It is recommended to have an emergency fund (extra money set aside) incase you lose your job or if you incur a large expense (such as your car breaking down).  Having this money set aside will allow you to continue paying your bills without going living off of credit cards.

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Travel Fund

Do you enjoy traveling?  Why not set money aside to be able to pay cash for your next trip?  This allows you to travel (live your dreams) and live within your means.

INVESTING

Retirement Fund

Would like to retire someday?  It’s a good idea to set money aside just for this occasion.

TAKEAWAY

Now that we have discussed what personal finance is, next time before you spend your money, ask yourself, do I really need this?  Do you have a budget? Making conscious spending decisions can help put you back on track to achieving personal finance success!

What does personal finance mean to you?  Do you make wise decisions with your money? Have you identified an area where you want to change your spending habits?

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