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What I’m Reading: The 1-2-3 Money Plan

I’ve been focusing a lot on money with the past few posts, but since we’re just starting out our journey, there’s still so much to learn about getting our finances in order and being able to afford all this. Therefore, on a recent trip to the library, I picked up a few books from the finance section.

Sidebar: ya’ll need to get in on the library lifestyle. I hadn’t been to a library since my middle school years, but last weekend we decided to stop in the community library to get cards and check out what they had. I seriously perused the shelves for about an hour and left with 2 financial books, a book about herbs (the edible kind, not the smokable), and a CD set to refresh on my German. The books weren’t the most up-to-date, but free education, self-help, and stories are pretty fine by me. ~end of side bar~

One of the financial books I picked up was The 1-2-3 Money Plan:  The Three Most Important Steps to Saving and Spending Smart by Gregory Karp. If you want the basic rundown for full financial well-being, this book is a great start. It covers the full spectrum, from getting out of debt, spending wisely, and investing for the future. It is from the late 00s, so some details are a bit out of date (I skipped the portions about cell phone and cable plans) but the rest of it is basic and easy to understand. He also litters the pages with outside resources- the best websites for investing, where to find reliable consumer reviews, and good online sources for coupons and rebates.

One of my favorite sections was the chapter “What to Spend Discretionary Money On”. True to the title, Karp breaks down all the sections into lists of 3 for easy digestibility. In this section, he advises spending money on things you care about, experiences, and things that rise in value. A great thing about this book is that it is not filled with hard Dos and Don’ts, but rather suggestions and ways to think about your finances to make the best decision for you. So when he says to spend money on things you care about, he wants you to identify the things that are truly important to you and wants you to keep spending on those things. Of course, he doesn’t advise to spend blindly, but he’s not going to spout the frequent financial advice of “if it’s not necessary for survival, don’t buy it.” Along with his advice to spend on experiences, he realizes that money can buy things that bring great satisfaction if spent on the right things, instead of being a thing to just stash away for another day relentlessly.

I also love the entire part three, which is about saving and investing for the future. It covers breaking down your savings into separate issue-based accounts, depending on your needs. Following his advice, I opened additional savings accounts, one for an emergency fun, one for upcoming trips, and another for long-term savings, which, with the knowledge I’ve built, I will be moving to a Roth IRA in a few months (learn about types of investment accounts in the book as well).

If you’re already pretty well-versed in finance, you can probably skip this book and head into more detailed stuff, about which I will be writing in the coming weeks. It does talk about investing, saving for retirement, and the best cards and accounts for your goals, but really just the top-level information. But for my millennial friends who are just digging in to their finances, this is a great first step.

Thanks for following along on another Motivation Monday! Here’s to spending smart and saving even smarter to afford that next trip!

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