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How to Be Proactive with Your Personal Finances

One reader shares how she learned to be proactive with her personal finance needs

We talk a lot about saving and stretching a paycheck on the blog but hard work and being proactive can make the need to penny-pinch a thing of the past.

Today’s scholarship essay is by Ivetka O’Malley, a student at Maricopa Community College. She shares how her mother taught her to be proactive and how to make extra money with just a little more effort.

Check out Ivetka’s story and please share on social media. The most-shared essay on how parents can teach their kids about money will win one of our two $500 personal finance scholarships, announced August 31st!

BE Aggressive, B-E Aggressive…to Make More Money

Personal finance rarely allows a passive approach. Instead, being aggressive and proactive is what makes for personal finance success. Putting forth the extra effort and helping to improve the overall workflow of a group helps to establish good work ethic and proper personal finance.

This is a fundamental lesson that I learned as an early adolescent.

As a young teen, I became interested in make-up, purses, and all sorts of other “girly” things. It was great because I’d always get to compare my makeup and new cutesy purses with my girlfriends at school.

However, I quickly found that the money I was spending was far exceeding the money I was making from my weekly allowance, and as a result I was starting to dig into my savings. Curious as to how my mother managed to buy both makeup and purses without having financial issues, I asked her one day about her secret.

What she explained to me turned out not to be a secret, but was instead a very important financial lesson. My mother explained to me that day the need to be proactive and aggressive in making money.

She explained to me that by working a few extra hours of overtime each week, she was able to increase her weekly earnings; which in turn translated to a higher annual income. Further, instead of waiting for her boss to offer overtime work, she’d go and ask him what else needed to be done each week to keep the company workflow on track.

Spare time between classes? Check out these 15 Online Jobs for Students that Could become Careers

Being Proactive to Earn Extra Money

As a 13-yr old, one question immediately confounded me.

How was I supposed to get some overtime hours for vacuuming and dusting and doing the dishes? My mother explained that overtime for me didn’t always have to mean extra time put into an individual chore. Instead, it meant that besides just doing my weekly chores, I could ask what other chores and tasks needed to be done around the house.

Helping my younger brother with his chores, or offering to wash the car, or washing the dog were all forms of overtime work that I could pick-up and earn a greater allowance from. They were not required of me, but they were tasks and jobs that I could do that would help the family and would earn me extra money.

Eager to start making more money, I spent the next weekend washing and cleaning everything in sight. It wasn’t until I was washing the dog for a second time on Sunday that my mother explained to me that too much overtime can interfere with other tasks.

In my case, I’d neglected my homework. After that weekend, I learned to delegate the appropriate time to my extra, “overtime” chores and to my homework.

Taking My Work Ethic to Work

As I grew older, I continually reflected back to the lessons I learned about taking a proactive approach to my finances. When I got my first job after high school, I’d offer to work the late shifts and weekends. I’d come in early and stay late just to make sure that all necessary paperwork and reports were completed.

My work ethic was noticed by my bosses. I moved up quickly into management and with the promotion, I received a greater income.

The lessons of being proactive and aggressive in work that I learned as a young teen, I have used to help ensure that as an adult, my income coming in always exceeds my expenses going out.

I want to thank Ivetka for her story of how her mother taught her to be proactive with her finances. Be sure to support Ivetka by sharing the article through social media and check in August for the winner of the personal finance scholarship.

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