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Do you ever get frustrated trying to figure out how much to tip?
Next time you’re out to eat and not sure how much to tip your waiter, try this: double the tax. Depending on where you live, this number will be 12%–20% of your total bill. Then you can increase as needed. So easy!
We can all benefit from a few quick money tips, so we asked people who’ve gone through Financial Peace University (FPU)—Dave Ramsey’s popular nine-week class about money management—to share the most valuable lesson they learned.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. Keep your savings account at a different bank than your checking account.
“That way you don’t see your savings every time you log into your account. You won’t be tempted to transfer it or use it. Out of sight, out of mind!” — Michelle M.
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2. Use the budget to help you reach fun goals.
A budget isn’t something you have to do because you’ve been bad. It’s something you do so you can be good. We’re going to Disney and paying cash!” — Alex S.
Related: Tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went with our free budgeting app, EveryDollar.
3. Only buy what you need (and can afford).
“Even though something is a good deal, it doesn’t mean you should buy it.” — Anne M.
4. What matters isn’t how much you’re allowed to borrow but how much you have in the bank.
“Who cares about my FICO score? I don’t.” — Hyunmee P.
5. Don’t let discouragement keep you from making a budget.
“There’s always hope when you have a plan.” — Brandon C.
6. Go old-school and balance your checking account.
“This is essential! Balance your checking account so you’ll know where you’re at and then begin with a basic budget. It’s all about taking baby steps.” — Kay N.
7. Give yourself some fun money so you’ll stay on budget.
“I was swiping my card for miscellaneous things. It turns out we were blowing the budget by $150 to $250 a month! I just needed to issue myself an envelope system for pocket money. Now I even have money left over at the end of the month!” — Rick M.
Related: Why You Need Some Fun Money in Your Budget
8. Say goodbye to all of your debt.
“I grew up with the misconception that having car loans, a house loan and student loans was something everybody did when they got older. I don’t consider myself debt-free simply because I don’t have any credit card debt. My husband and I are working at paying off all of our debt!” — Amy M.
9. Be patient with purchases—and with yourself.
“We learned to be patient while saving up cash to purchase a new appliance, go on vacation, or buy a car. We also spent over 20 years learning that debt was good, so it took some time to unlearn these things and replace them with new behaviors.” — Katherine E.
10. Get on the same team with your spouse.
“Sitting down together and going over the bills and budget has changed our marriage. There are no more fights about money. We budget together.” — Trina G.
11. Set up a savings fund for irregular expenses.
“My son had just started preschool when I took FPU, so we were in and out of the doctor’s office every week. I now set aside a few dollars in my budget each week for copay and prescription costs. This is a godsend!” — Sandy C.
12. Don’t believe everything society tells you about money.
“Debt can steal your future. It’s so important for kids to understand how to deal with money and debt—and what the consequences of their decisions will look like. You can make better decisions when you know all the facts.” — Susan K.
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13. Be prepared for emergencies.
“Having an emergency fund for a rainy day will prevent you from getting a credit card and falling into debt.” — Hyunmee P.
14. Tell your money where to go.
“We learned the importance of a budget and telling our money where to go. It works! We’re now debt-free—that $89,000 owed is gone!” — Angelica A.
15. Put your long-term goals in the right order.
“Retirement should come before saving for my child’s college. I didn’t really think that through before taking the FPU class.” — Shawn H.
Related: 5 Debt-Free Ways to Pay for College
16. Use the envelope system.
“Pull money out of your account and put it in envelopes. If it isn’t in your envelope, you can’t use your debit card. We found when we stopped using envelopes for a month we busted our budget. Back to envelopes it is!” — Jennifer B.
17. Talk with your lender to solve any problems while you’re paying off debt.
“Always work with your credit card companies. My bank overcharged me interest and, after we talked, they ended up sending me a check.” — John S.
18. Embrace the power of cash.
“I bought several cars with cash and saved on the purchase price. Also, letting go of cash in hand hurts. I’ve walked away from many purchases in order to keep the cash in my hand.” — Desiree E.
19. Be generous.
“The most important lesson I learned in FPU was to set myself up to be a blessing to others—whether it’s by giving sound financial advice, helping people draft a monthly budget, or giving to someone anonymously.” — Alexander H.
20. Make daily decisions with the end goal in mind.
“The daily choices you make concerning your money dictate what options you will have. Sacrifice in the beginning reaps huge rewards in the end.” — Shelle C.
Did you know that the average family pays off $5,300 in debt and saves $2,700 in the first 90 days of Financial Peace University? You can see the same turnaround. Start on your own journey today!