Money talks, but you shouldn't
One universal truth that I've yet to learn is to shut my trap when it comes to talking about money with anybody.
In my experience, you should never talk about money, ever.
Example: Say you just paid off a huge bill that you've been working on for a long time. You feel great about it. When good things happen like that you obviously want to tell someone about how good you feel. Bad idea, because everyone around you still has large bills most likely - and they will hate you because you're able to pay yours and they can't.
As I get older I am learning more and more to bite my lip and keep my trap shut tight if I have any good fortune with money at all. This is because there's always someone who will hate your guts for it.
Here's my money tips, take heed. My little "rule book" here has saved me out of a lot of money jams over the years:
1) I don't spend foolishly.
Most of the people I know in debt spend their cash on really dumb stuff. Seriously, stupid stuff, like a really expensive wireless phone. Who in their right mind is going to spend over $350.00 on a phone? I know some people who have. I also know I get along very well with my free phone I got with my service plan.
2) I check my bills often.
If you have the capability to check your bills online, do it. Do it often. Being reminded of what you owe will stop you from overspending. It does work.
3) I avoid vulnerable shopping places.
Catalogs, web sites or stores that have nifty novelty items I steer clear of like the plague. For example, I could have a shopping spree at ThinkGeek.com and buy out half the place, but don't.
4) I don't "keep up with the Joneses".
I buy for one person: Me. Not for anyone else. I absolutely will not buy something just because someone else has it, nor will I buy something because someone told me to. I make my own decisions, thank you very much.
5) I don't gamble.
This is a big problem with a lot of people. Years ago I lost money on gambling. It was a small amount but it was enough to teach me a lesson. Don't do it. I stopped before it even started to become a problem.
6) I never take my job for granted.
In today's world there is no job security whatsoever. You should always have a "Plan B" in case you get laid off or fired or whatever. I know several people that went into massive debt instantly because they thought their job was solid and nothing could ever happen to them. Now they're paying the price, literally.
7) Never pay the minimum on your credit cards.
Always pay more than what your "minimum payment" is. The bill will get paid off faster. Besides myself I know several people who do this. While it's true you have less in your pocket each week, the ends justify the means absolutely because you avoid a lot of interest and "financial fees". You save more by paying things off early, no doubt about it.
8) I prepare.
Best advice in the world. While no one is ever truly prepared for the worst (fiscally speaking), it is a good idea to at least have some idea of what you would do if major money problems happened. Do you have a plan if you got sick or injured? Could you get a job quickly if you got laid off or fired? If you had to go on unemployment, could you survive? (And yes, I have been on unemployment before - not pretty.)
Now I'm not saying you should go out and start buying tons of insurance policies. All I'm saying is that you should have some idea of what you could/would do if a problem or problems happened that would impact you money-wise.
Arm yourself with knowledge. It could save your butt.