You work hard for your money, at the very least, you owe it to yourself to learn how to manage it effectively. Taking control of your finances can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
Savings and Debt
If you aren’t saving any of your money, that’s a good place to start. To figure out how much you can spare or how much you can reasonably save, you need to examine your cash flow. Figure out a budget. Write down your income then make a list of all your living expenses. Start with your necessities like rent/mortgage, utilities, and car payment. Then list all of your other expenses, including outstanding credit card balances.
While you’re examining your cash flow, pay attention to where you may be overspending. For example, are you subscribing to several streaming services? If so, you need to decide where you can cut back. There are frivolous expenses and necessary ones. Whereas you have to have car insurance, getting life insurance is an elective purchase. It can be confusing trying to figure out how much life insurance you need. Meeting with the provider can help determine which insurance would best suit your needs as well as how much coverage is adequate and what fits in your budget.
Beyond The Budget
Making your budget is a very important step in taking control of your money, but it’s not the only step. In fact, creating your budget is probably one of the easiest things you can do. As with all good intentions, they are only as effective as the follow-through. You need to exercise a fair amount of discipline to stick with it.
Think about your personal financial goals; including both short and long-term. What are you hoping to achieve and what will it take to get you there? Having a clear definition of your goals is a necessary step to achieving them.
Do you have an emergency fund? It’s important to have a safety net in place for when life throws an unexpected curveball. You never know when you’re going to have expenses you didn’t anticipate. It always seems these things happen at the worst time. If you’re prepared with an emergency fund, getting through tough times won’t be as stressful.
Make sure you have separate accounts for both spending and saving. Most banks will let you have multiple accounts so you can track your progress between the two. Keep in mind, your emergency fund is different from your savings. By separating the two, you will avoid dipping into your emergency fund for things that aren’t urgent. If you are trying to save for something special like a vacation or Christmas budget, make those separate accounts, too. You’ll see how close you’re getting to your goals and feel excited and proud of your accomplishments.
Find ways to save money by changing shopping habits. Keep an eye on current sales and shop for what you need where they’re most favorably priced. Also, take advantage of other money-saving tools like manufacturer coupons and rebates. You can get what you need for less.
Don’t be a brand snob. You can save money on your grocery shopping by substituting store brands for their more expensive counterparts. Most off-brand products are of comparable quality as the more well-known popular brands at a fraction of the cost.
Now that you’ve done your shopping, make sure you eat at home. The cost of eating out regularly is a quick drain on resources.
You don’t have to be a financial genius to make small changes to save big money.