As we all know, money can’t buy you happiness; we also know that without it, money can definitely make a down payment on depression. College teaches us about a lot of different things, but managing money isn’t one of them.Therefore on this topic, I decided to research the strategies of one of America’s top financial guru’s, Robert Allen, who’s a millionaire in his own right. According to Robert Allen’s “Multiple Streams of Income: How to Generate a Lifetime of Unlimited Wealth,” there are seven steps we should take every time we spend money. He calls these steps, collectively, “The Millionaire Minute.” They are a full-proof way of getting control of your finances. Man, I wish I had learned these when I was a student.

Plan your needs and procrastinate on your wants.

Many times we see things we want (even though we can’t afford it) and we impulsively buy them. We charge them to a credit card rationalizing and planning how we’re going to pay off the bill in “no time.” Unfortunately, most of the time this little strategy doesn’t work. Robert suggests that we write down our needs, and plan how we intend to meet those needs financially.

On the other hand, we always “think” we know what we want, even if we don’t necessarily need it. Robert doesn’t say you should ignore your wants and other impulsive desires, but rather procrastinate on fulfilling them. And we all know what happens when we procrastinate; that’s right, we usually never get around to doing it. This first step should be easy, since most of us are inclined to procrastinate anyway. This time, make it count.

Shop for value.

No one should have to teach a college student how to shop for value. That should be your middle name. You can’t afford the luxury of buying something at full price. So, shop around.

Ask for and expect a discount.

This is particularly true if you’re living in a college town (like I do in Tallahassee, Florida). Most vendors can’t survive without your business, so they’ll do whatever they can to get you in the door. That’s great news for you because that means you should never have to pay full price for large purchases. If a vendor refuses to give you a discount, don’t be rude; just take your business to another business who will gladly cater to you.

Examine your receipt.

Always note what you’re spending your money on, which leads into the next step…

Categorize your receipts.

Know the categories in which you spend your money, and assign a number to each category (i.e. 1-personal/hygiene, 2-dating/parties, 3-class supplies/copies, 4-food/groceries, 5-church giving/tithing, 6-organizations/clubs, 7-household expenses, 8-car expenses/gas, etc.) And write that number on each receipt you get after a purchase. Save that receipt.

Balance your accounts.

Know how much you’re spending in each category (do this weekly). You won’t know where you can save, unless you first know how and where you spend.

File your receipts.

Make up folders for each expense category you designate. Using the categories I listed in step five, you would have at least eight folders overall.

Bonus Tips:

If you want to immediately cut your spending by 30% in a minute, make your money hard to get to. Obviously, if your money is easy to get to, it will be easy to spend. Make sure it’s out your of reach. For example, if you’re going out to a social event (i.e., a party), never take all of your money. Take only the amount you would be comfortable in spending. It’s the same strategies gamblers use when going to the casinos. They only take what they’re willing to lose. You only take what you’re willing to waste.

I can tell you from trying Robert Allen’s “Millionaire Minute” method myself, this does work. It may not make you money, but it will sure put you back in control of you money, which is the main idea.

Big Bonus:

The BEST way to manage your money is to learn from those who’ve done it successfully. I’ve been fortunate to have received an education on money management at an early age (from a lot of wise people) — thus avoiding a lot of the traps that most fall into.

As always, spend and save purposefully!

– Professor Martin

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