Although money cannot buy you happiness, it can bring a sense of security if you
manage your money right. Without a handle on money management, you may always feel
like your life is one step away from a financial cliff.
Being good with money is about more than just making ends meet. Don’t worry that you’re
not a math whiz; great math skills aren’t really necessary – you just need to know basic
addition and subtraction.
You don’t need a higher-paying job or a windfall from a relative to improve your personal finances. For many people, better money management is all it takes to reduce their spending, improve their ability to invest and save, and achieve financial goals that once seemed impossible. Life is much easier when you have good financial skills. How you spend your money impacts your credit score and the amount of debt you end up carrying. If you’re struggling with money Finance its Cool. Management issues such as living paycheck to paycheck despite making more than enough money, then here are some tips to improve your financial habits.
Prepare a budget:
Many people don’t budget because they don’t want to go through
what they think will be a boring process of listing out expenses, adding up
numbers, and making sure everything lines up. If you’re bad with money, you
don’t have room for excuses with budgeting. If all it takes to get your spending on
track is a few hours working a budget each month, why wouldn’t you do it?
Instead of focusing on the process of creating a budget, focus on the value that
budgeting will bring to your life.
Make use of the budget:
Your budget is useless if you make it then let it collect dust in a
folder tucked away in your bookshelf or file cabinet. Refer to it often throughout
the month to help guide your spending decisions. Update it as you pay bills and
spend on other monthly expenses. At any given time during the month, you
should have an idea of how much money you’re able to spend, considering any
expenses you have left to pay.
Limit yourself for unbudgeted spending:
A critical part of your budget is the net income or the amount of money left after you subtract your expenses from your income. If you have any money left over, you can use it for fun and
entertainment, but only up to a certain amount. You can’t go crazy with this
money, especially if it’s not a lot and it has to last the entire month. Before you
make any big purchases, make sure it won’t interfere with anything else you have
Track your spending:
Small purchases here and there add up quickly, and before you know it, you’ve overspent your budget. Start tracking your spending to discover places where you may be unknowingly overspending. Save your receipts and write your purchases in a spending journal, categorizing them so you can identify areas where you have a hard time keeping your spending in check.
Don’t commit to any new recurring monthly bills:
Just because your income and credit qualify you for a certain loan, doesn’t mean you should take it. Many people naively think the bank wouldn’t approve them for a credit card or loan they can’t afford. The bank only knows your income, as you’ve reported, and the debt obligations included on your credit report, not any other obligations that could prevent you from making your payments on time. It’s up to you to decide whether a monthly payment is affordable based on your income and other monthly obligations.
Make sure you’re paying the best prices:
You can make the most of your money comparison shopping, ensuring that you’re paying the lowest prices for products and services. Look for discounts, coupons, and cheaper alternatives whenever you can.
Save up for big purchases:
The ability to delay gratification will go a long way in helping you be better with money. When you put off large purchases, rather than sacrificing more important essentials or putting the purchase on a credit card, you give yourself time to evaluate whether the purchase is necessary and even more time to compare prices. By saving up rather than using credit, you avoid
paying interest on the purchase.6 And if you save rather than skipping bills or obligations, well, you don’t have to deal with the many consequences of missing those bills.
Limit your credit card purchases:
Credit cards are a bad spender’s worst enemy. When you run out of cash, you simply turn to your credit cards without considering whether you can afford to pay the balance. Resist the urge to use your credit cards for purchases you can’t afford, especially on items you don’t
Contribute to savings regularly:
Depositing money into a savings account each month can help you build healthy financial habits. You can even set it up so the money is automatically transferred from your checking account to your savings account. That way, you don’t have to remember to make the transfer.
Start an investment strategy:
Even if your ability to invest is limited, small contributions to investment accounts can help you use your earned money to generate more income. Consider opening a retirement account or other investment account. The path to better finances starts with changing your own habits.
Some of these changes will be easier than others, but if you stay committed to this transformation, you’ll end up with great money management skills that will serve you throughout your life—and in the meantime, you’ll have more money in your pocket. The foundation of good money management is a rock-solid budget. Create your own by downloading A Complete Guide to Budgeting today.
Being good with money takes practice:
In the beginning, you may not be used to planning ahead and putting off purchases until you can afford them. The more you make these habits part of your daily life, the easier it is to manage your money, and the better off your finances will be.