Editor's Note: Kip Tips columnist Cameron Huddleston is on maternity leave. We have invited some of our favorite personal-finance bloggers to contribute guest posts in her absence.
By J. Money, BudgetsAreSexy.com
When it comes to personal finance, the word "mohawk" is probably the last thing that comes to your mind. But I've managed to learn a lot of lessons about money management from these crazy spikes of hairs on my head, and here are four of them:
1. Inflation is real. One of the main ingredients of the 'hawk is hairspray. Can after can of hairspray. This will probably make your hair stylist cringe, but the one brand that gives me the most bang for my buck is Aqua Net -- which keeps my spikes up for hours! When I started wearing a mohawk, I could get a can of Aqua Net for 99 cents. Sadly, that’s no longer the case. Over the past few years, the price of Aqua Net has steadily climbed 25, 50, 75 cents and is currently hovering around $2.50. That's a 150% increase in just three years – an easy measure of real inflation in my life. (You, too, can find quirky economic indicators as you shop and work.)
2. Patience pays off. Just like commuting to work or painting a picture, getting those spikes up every day takes time. We're talking anywhere from five to 25 minutes, all depending on my hair’s length and mood. It’s worth it in the end.
When it comes to finance, the same rules apply. You have to spend the time to reap rewards. There's a reason J.D. Roth and other personal-finance bloggers write about getting rich slowly (opens in new tab) -- it takes time. The same thing goes with paying off your debt. Unless you get a crazy influx of money, you have to pay off what you owe one month at a time, little by little. There are no true get-rich-quick schemes out there, I'm afraid. Nor quick 'hawks, for that matter.
3. Sometimes happiness means breaking away from the pack. You have to follow your own path when the normal constructs of life just aren't doing it for you. In this instance, we're talking about something as silly as a hairstyle, but it can really apply to just about anything in life. You want to bungee-jump off Mount Everest? Be my guest! Just because others would consider it crazy doesn't mean you're in the wrong.
In fact, getting caught up in the herd mentality has its downfalls. You know this housing crisis that we're in? And investing losses during volatile markets? It all stems from huge quantities of people doing the same thing at the same time. If you had hedged your bets on the other side of things, you'd quite possibly be one very wealthy person right now. (For more on the herd mentality, read the Kiplinger article Don't Trust the Crowd.)
4. You have to have confidence. Donning the ‘hawk is definitely not for the shy. People are quick to judge you, to stare at you and to even hold their kids far, far away from you! You really have to OWN it if you're going to pull it off. The same goes for rockin' that career or any other area of life you want to be successful in. It doesn't mean you have to be on top of your game ALL the time (which is why I own an assortment of hats!), but it certainly helps you get more out of life than taking a backseat.
Confidence is key when managing your money, as well. If you know where your money is coming from and going, you can make quick and informed decisions on the fly. You can buy on your terms. This is why budgeting is so important (opens in new tab). It gives you an entire snapshot of your finances and the answers to where you want your money to go.
P.S. Feeling confident? Consider these step-by-step directions for nurturing your own mohawk! (opens in new tab)
J. Money writes for Budgets are Sexy (opens in new tab). He's a laid-back finance blogger just trying to spice things up a bit. He also finds budgeting, well, sexy! If you like what you see, pop on over and say hello. He can be found on Twitter (opens in new tab) and Facebook (opens in new tab) as well.
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