If you’re struggling to keep up with your finances, you aren’t alone. Millions of people every single day are trying to figure out how to make ends meet. Making Financial decisions is difficult, and without confidence in what you’re doing, you could see your finances suffering more and more. However, there are a number of things you can do that can immediately help you through your financial troubles.
By paying special attention in these five areas, you can turn your financial future on its head.
1. Set goals
If you don’t have any financial goals, then you’ll find that you are probably living paycheck to paycheck. There are a number of reasons why this is a bad way to live, but the most important aspect is that you will never have enough money to cover an emergency that comes up. It might be car trouble or even a sudden hospital stay. Without goals, these things could financially ruin you. Your financial goals can come in many varieties. The best thing to do is create a spreadsheet that can keep track of multiple goals, and start budgeting towards each. Record your incoming and outgoing expenses. Set aside some money each paycheck towards each goal. Reaching your goals takes a lot of patience, but if you can force yourself to create this new habit, you’ll be saving money in no time.
2. Lower your monthly bills
It’s such an easy thing to say: just lower your bills. Actually enacting that goal, however, is much more difficult. You should try to consider all of your monthly bills, and whether there is anything you can do to bring them down. Are you on an expensive cell phone plan? Maybe you can downgrade to one that is more suited to your usage. Are your mortgage payments too high? Perhaps you should consider a home loan refinance. What about your electricity usage; could you start unplugging the devices you’re not using at night time? Even when your TV is on standby, it is still using electricity. By analyzing how you live, it’s easy to see that there are actually many ways you can cut down your monthly bills.
3. Automate your savings
We talked about goals in the first point. However, one of these goals should be to save. It doesn’t matter what you are saving for; if you put away at least 10% of your net income each paycheck, then before long you’ll find you have a healthy savings account. The key to saving is consistency. If you only save every now and then, then you will find that you can’t really get into the hang of it. Realistically, you should be able to save a consistent amount each paycheck. Start by setting up an automatic payment in your online banking system. Make it happen the morning you get paid before you even wake up. That way, saving will be the first thing you do each time you get paid.
4. Keep an eye on your credit report
Did you know that you have access to your own credit report? There are many services out there that can show you how well you are doing financially. You are actually allowed to access your official credit report once per calendar year, all you need to do is search for the appropriate agency in your area then request it. Or, an easier method to check your report is to subscribe to a service like CreditKarma. The key things you need to look out for on your credit report are mistakes that credit reporting agencies may have made, bills you may not know about or you forgot about, and anything else that looks odd, like it shouldn’t be there. Any of these things can bring your credit down and affect your financial stability, so be vigilant!
5. Pay down your debts
Your debts are promises that you have made to pay a vendor for a product or service. Like any other promise you make, you should absolutely intend to pay down the debts that you accrue. Making minimum payment is not enough. In fact, minimum payment calculations have been made to maximize the amount of interest you are liable for. In order for you to be on your feet, finance wise, you should begin to pay down the debts you have. Start by ranking all your debts in terms of the interest rate, and aim to clear the debts with the highest interest rates first. These are the debts that will add up and cost you the most amount of money over time. Once you have gotten your debts to a manageable level, you will start to breathe easier.
Getting on top of your finances can seem like a really daunting job, but it’s not really that hard if you break it all down into easy steps. There are tons of places in your life where you can start to get ahead financially, so by carefully analyzing your expenses and costs you can begin to identify areas where you can start to save. Before long, saving money will be a great habit that you’ve formed, and you’ll be able to save for the things you want.