With March comes the Madness. This could be madness from being snowed in by the recent storm Stella that blanketed parts of the country or it could be basketball related madness. I’ll stick with the latter as I’m sure you’re tired of shoveling, re-shoveling once you get plowed back in or even hearing about the storm if you live in parts of the country that didn’t get hit by Stella, like me, in Florida. Not to rub it in, but times like these are when I’m thankful that I relocated to the Sunshine State.
I’m no expert on college basketball or “bracketology” but I do know that a common theme in the NCAA tournament is upsets. To me, a casual sports fan, this is what makes the tournament interesting. Any team can win it all or upset a powerhouse school and forever be a part of sport’s history. No team is to be underestimated and being the bookkeeper that I am, this made me think of a few financial moves you can make that should not be underestimated. So here are my Final 4 Financial Moves that could help you get ahead and beat the odds like that #12 seed you have winning it all in your bracket.
1. Pay Off (smaller sized) Debt
Here I’m focusing in on small amounts of debt. A student loan or house payment may be the main loan in which you are paying off, but your smaller debts like on credit cards also need to be addressed so they don’t become unmanageable. As I’ve said previously, never pay only the minimum and know the difference between wants and needs when it comes to using plastic.
2. Donate to Charity
Donating to charity is not about getting ahead financially yourself, but helping others. You can make donations on many levels: locally, nationally and globally. Here are a few of my favorite charities:
Rotary International: I’m a member of my local Rotary Club and plan to keep donating to them because I trust in their mission. According to their website, Rotary International has helped with things like wiping out 99 percent of all polio cases.
Unstoppable Foundation: A non-profit humanitarian organization that builds schools in Africa, provides clean drinking water to impoverished communities and more. I particularly like their Proof of Progress, which tracks projects from beginning to end and reports back to donors on how their contribution helped someone less fortunate.
Local churches: Wherever I go, I look for a church that supports both global and local missions. On a local level, it’s nice to see a direct impact that charitable works do for communities.
Wounded Warriors Family Support: Supporting our troops should go beyond having a bumper sticker on your car. Wounded Warriors Family Support (WWFS) mission is “to provide support to the families of those who have been wounded, injured or killed during combat operations.”
Hotties 4 Humanity: One of my favorite charities local to the Philadelphia area. I have worked with them and attended several events. They are a charity that raises money for other local charities using fun networking events.
3. Join Clubs and Organizations
As I just mentioned, I am a member of my local Rotary Club. Joining an organization or club in your trade can provide networking opportunities, new skills to be learned and even an opportunity to help others like with the charity efforts of Rotary International.
4. Save for a Rainy Day/ Emergency Fund
You may want to purchase that new slick tablet you just saw on TV, but in the long run, it would be in your best interest to put that money you would’ve spent on a luxury into a rainy day or emergency fund. Everyone has a different ideal amount for their emergency fund, but there are numerous sources online to calculate how much you could need for your own emergency fund. A good source that I found was offered by Investopedia.
Just like the small school that you had to Google to see where it was located, these small actions are not to be underestimated. While they may not bring you instant wealth, they can help bring stability to you both financially and personally.