As a young adult who is still learning how to manage the financial aspect of life, I often search for sources with strong and achievable ways to help me better my spending.
Recently, I found a great resource for detailed money management: “Living the Savvy Life: The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Smart Spending and Rich Living,” by authors Melissa Tosetti and Kevin Gibbons. In author Melissa Tosetti’s own words, “It really is Living Savvy 101.”
Instead of addressing the usual problem areas such as spending habits or credit card debt, the authors cover the entire lifestyle of financial success in the form of a step-by-step, how-to reference guide. Each chapter has a specific focus such as home, entertainment, wardrobe, beauty, and food. The real value of this book comes from two very insightful theories: “The Golden Rule” and “Savvy Habits.”
As the authors Tosetti and Gibbons say in their book, “The Golden Rule of finance is: spend less than you make.” It may sound simple, but many people really struggle with this concept.
During an interview with author Melissa Tosetti, I questioned her about the relevance of this rule for college students. Her response was, “I believe it is important for everyone to follow this rule. When you spend more than you make, you get in this state of perpetual debt.”
Another important theory the authors introduce are the “Six Savvy Habits”, which are as follows:
- Pay yourself first
- Track your spending
- Pay all of your bills on payday
- Set financial goals
- Know when to invest and when to bargain shop
- Spend money on the things you want
All of these habits are vital to following the savvy life financial plan, but as the book states, “Studies show that it takes 30-45 days for an activity to become a habit.” So starting out with one or two habits and adding another one every month is a great way to begin the journey to financial freedom.
I was eager to learn which two habits to begin with. According to Tosetti, you should “‘Pay All of Your Bills on Payday,’ go to the grocery store, and if you have a car go ahead and fill your tank with gas. It’s un-sexy, it’s not fun, but it sure is going to make life a hell of a lot less stressful.”
In the description of how to “Pay Yourself First,” it also discusses the dreaded savings. As a college student who’s primary source of income is mom and dad, I questioned Tosetti about the importance of saving while still in school.
“The goal is to ultimately get to that point [of saving 20 percent of your income] even if it takes five to ten years.” she said. “If you can save even ten bucks per pay period, it gets you in the habit of saving.”
Tosetti explained further why it is important to start now. “If right away you start saving 10 percent or five percent, you are already used to saving for when you graduate and are making a lot of money,” Tosetti said.
Similar to why most of us attend college, this habit’s goal is to financially prepare yourself for the future.
Tosetti also highly recommends following the ‘Spend Money on the Things You Want’ rule.
“Use a spending book. It just keeps you focused and more disciplined,” Tosetti said. “It’s a funny thing, when you are more focused on what we call focus-spending, you are creating a more purposeful life. So, it’s a positive not a negative.”
A spending book is a tool which is an on-going list of future financial expenditures and lists of things which you need.
This book is a gem in the world of personal finance. Melissa Tosetti is a finance guru who says she has plans to publish many more titles, including one focused on college students. Aside from the book, she and her co-author Kevin Gibbons also have more financial advice on their site, The Savvy Life.
Contact CU Independent Assistant Opinion Editor Mandi Meek at Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org.