The Index Card Challenge: My Submission

Recently, Adam Chudy issued a challenge for several bloggers to condense all of their financial advice onto a single index card. It was a fascinating idea and I loved reading through them. Go check out the index card challenge entries if you haven’t already.

First of all, here is my entry. It’s a lot less technical than others’ advice (and includes a lot more color. Yay markers!), but I’m a firm believer that if you get the right mentality in place, you’ll be able to figure out the details because you’ll care enough to do so.


I’ll explain my simple advice a bit:

  • Picture YOU as your future self, not some old stranger – Research Shows that people that can picture their future selves as similar or the same as their current self, they save more money for the future. It’s easy to imagine our retired self as some grey-haired, shrivelly, person from a movie rocking in a rocking chair on some porch somewhere. The reality is, your future self is YOU. Imagine that! Don’t plan for that boring old person rocking away… plan for YOU and what you would want to do if you retired NOW!
  • AUTOMATE as much as possible – This one is obvious. If you don’t get the money, you don’t miss the money. If you get a raise, automatically up your contributions that amount so you never see the new raise. Your savings will increase but your paycheck home will stay the same so you won’t know any differently. Set it up once and you never have to think about it again.
  • If married, set and discuss priorities (financial and otherwise) TOGETHER – It’s important to have periodic discussions about your life priorities and how they translate into your financial priorities. In order to successfully manage finances in marriage, it is important to make sure you have the same plan and you’re able to figure out how to compromise on the priorities that you may not share.
  • Don’t be selfish. Find ways to GIVE – Once you figure out how to do this whole saving thing and maintaining wealth thing, it’s important to use that wealth to help others. The world is full of darkness and you have the power to be the light. A life with all the money in the world and no love is not a life worth living.

I submitted mine the same day as the first wave of index cards were published, but I don’t think it will be included until the next wave of index cards are posted. I wanted to make sure I wrote out my index card before reading others to make sure it was really what I wanted to say (and not someone else’s words). But after I finished mine, I loved reading what everyone else had to say. As this is an ongoing project over on Adam’s blog, there will continue to be awesome cards posted. From what’s been posted so far, here are my favorite one-liners.

  • “Don’t Panic.” – Adam Chudy
  • “Investing in yourself (learning, health, etc.) as well as your family, friends, and loved ones will pay out incredible dividends!” – Alyssa from Generation YRA
  • “Hate debt.” – Even Steven Money
  • “You will always make more money working for yourself – Figure out how!” – Mr. and Mrs. Budgets
  • “Save until it hurts.” – Kate from Cashville Skyline
  • “Always consider used first, except with bike helmets! (Don’t cheap out on bike helmets.)” – Our Next Life
  • “Develop an attitude of gratitude.” – Laura at How to Get Rich Slowly
  • “Travel slowly through countries with much less wealth than your own. It will change your definition of need and want.” – Go Curry Cracker

What would you put on your index card?



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  1. Ah – this is great! I got to hand it to Adam Chudy, this Index Card Challenge has been amazing & I look forward to reading what everyone jots down. I wholeheartedly agree that having the right mentality when approaching finances is absolutely key! What’s great about the Index Card Challenge is it’s straight & to the point – that’s why I think your card is fantastic! Oftentimes, it’s much more feasible to focus on only a few things and let the rest take it’s course. I found that when I got too technical with my finances I started feeling down, or like I would never reach my goals. Once I started focusing on all areas of making things automatic, giving, excelling in other areas of life (which you mentioned on your card!) everything started to fall into place and grow. Thanks for sharing & also highlighting one of my points on my card! 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      It’s been fabulous getting a condensed view of what people find important in finances. And obviously I lean more toward the mindsets than the nitty gritty. Your advice was fabulous!

  2. I’m currently obsessed with automation. If anything in my life can be done by a robot, I let the robot take over. It’s very powerful and allows me to focus on the big picture.

  3. Hi Maggie,

    Thanks for the mention. I love your card! Very colorful too!

    You’ve made a great point that seeing yourself as a real person in the future can help a lot.

    Love you site, very clean. Just discovered you so looking forward to reading more.

    Laura Beth

  4. You definitely win for most colorful card! I wanted to handwrite ours, but was stuck in hotels with no index cards when it was time to send it in. 🙂 I especially love your advice to give — that’s so often left out of the PF discussions many of us have. It’s easy to get selfish when you’re so focused on building your stash, so it’s an important reminder to focus on making the world a little better at the same time. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks! I do think it’s a tough line to navigate between hoarding all the money toward your own goals and putting yourself first so you can give… it’s sometimes hard to take that next step to give. Along this process, I’ve had to be mindful of what story I want my finances to tell. And I don’t want it to be all about me!

  5. This is so cool; I hadn’t heard about it before! I love the first one — I think it’s really only recently that I’ve started to realize that yes, older me will still be ME. A super important insight!
    And yeah, track every penny…that one changed my life.

    • MaggieBanks

      When you can picture you as your future self, you treat yourself better! I love seeing what everyone has to say when they condense it all into one notecard. It’s been awesome to follow.

  6. This is so cool, I totally missed the boat on this one! I love your point about visualizing your future self. It’s so important to visualize what you want for your future, otherwise you will end up setting meaningless goals, if you set goals at all. I recently read a book that talked about physically drawing your goals – use pictures, etc. Visualizing it on paper has been proven to help us meet our goals!

  7. That’s funny I always think about my future self. It always goes something like my 30 year old self will thank me. I was talking with a co worker about her debt last week and she was feeling overwhelmed by her student loans and wondered if paying them off fast was worth it. I mentioned that her 30 year old version of herself would look back and thank her for putting in the hard work and time. At that point I think she had an ah ha moment.

    • MaggieBanks

      Well then you are on your way. I think this is the single most important thing you can do for yourself and your finances! Way to preach it to other people!

  8. You’ve hit some key points. Automating everything does make it much simpler. I think I would have a line on my index card that says something along the lines of “Wake up every morning appreciating everything that you already have”

    Its funny – even though I was born frugal – something clicked with me earlier this year that made me realize that the things that are free or that I already have make me the happiest. Hanging out with my kids, biking through the park, those all make me happier than owning a big house. Heck, my husband has been upset with me lately because I don’t even like to dine out anymore – which we do occasionally as a treat – because I like the food we cook more.

    • MaggieBanks

      That’s awesome! One of my absolute favorite songs is Carole King’s “Beautiful” – “You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart.” Perspective and gratitude changes everything.

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