Applicant #21: Chelsea Lane

Chelsea Lane is a 25-year-old from Georgetown.

Chelsea's video application:

Chelsea online:

+ Twitter

Chelsea's current situation:

I am currently a part-time student working two part time jobs, in an independent book store and consignment clothing shop. I'm a voracious reader, an obsessive Red Sox fan, and a founding member of an oft-challenged but less-oft-beaten pub trivia team.

I'm a big fan of the Young & Free program, and I would love to be a part of it. Thanks for taking the time to check out my video and blog, and I hope you'll vote for me!

Chelsea's blog post:

I’m a big believer in basics – if you want to really understand something, you have to understand its history and how it works. So how does that translate to finances?

I have two words for you: online banking. Trust me on this one.

Budgets are a great idea, saving money is an even better idea, and figuring out if those Red Sox tickets your friend/neighbor/cousin/coworker can’t use are going to cut into your rent money is vital, but before you can do any of those things, you have to have a grip on your money situation. And the best way to do just that is to take a good, long look at it. Or, instead, a week long look at it.

Sign up for online banking – it’s free, it’s simple, and it gives you the ability to see where all your hard earned money is going. Still stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts (or Starbucks) for that daily coffee? Do you want it more than those Red Sox tickets? More than a down payment on a car that doesn’t get 22 miles to the gallon? More than a safety net should something go wrong?

(For the record, if your answer is, “Yes, my daily coffee stop is my priority,” then give me a caffeine-powered high five. It’s your money, spend it where you want. What I want is for you to spend it with intent – know what you’re spending on what, and you’ll be able to adjust your spending should you ever need to. Knowledge is power, the more you know, use the cliché of your choice!)

If you have multiple accounts (maybe even at multiple credit unions, like yours truly?), there are lots of options to make it easier for you to keep track of all of them. If you like having control, you can work out of a spreadsheet or, my favorite – check out some of the free, secure websites that will bring all of your financial information to one place. I’ve been using mint.com for about a year, and it lets me see where my money is going, where I’m earning better interest, and the site gives me (sometimes sponsored) suggestions as to how to save/earn more money.

One of the most important things about online banking is that it gives you the ability to understand what your habits are – good or bad. However you go about keeping track – whether you use a website like me, or go old school and balance by hand in your checkbook register – what matters is that you watch your account in a way that makes sense to you.

Once you know how you spend your money now, you'll be able to take steps to make your money work for you in the future!

Chelsea