If it feels like you are constantly juggling your finances to make ends meet and feel the squeeze long before the next payday, it’s time to simplify your finances and develop a simple but savvy strategy to manage your money. Here’s how you can get started:
Know What You’re Up Against
Take a hard look at your financial picture — to get things under control, you’ll need to understand the full scope of what you’re facing. Know where you’re at in terms of outstanding loans, credit card debt, and more, then compare that to your income, expenses and more.
Set a Budget
Once you’ve looked at how much you owe, how much you’re spending on housing expenses and necessities like food and transportation, but together a realistic budget. Certain apps can help you track the flow of your money, as well as alert you to areas where you’re overspending. If you have trouble sticking to a budget, try using only cash when you leave the house, and set aside monthly payments like rent or utility bills in envelopes, so you won’t be tempted to spend money you technically don’t have.
Don’t Decimate Your Existing Supply
When evaluating big ticket items, like a new appliance, a car or a big vacation, weigh the pros and cons of not making that purchase until things start to improve. If it involves maxing out your credit card or blowing through your monthly budget, you may want to reconsider of look for something that offers a payment plan.
Look into Financial Counseling
Many steps toward financial success involve making behavioral changes and from there establishing steps toward positive change. It can be hard to do it alone, and many people benefit from working with a professional credit counselor, much like working with a therapist for making changes in your personal life or a personal trainer for help with getting in shape. Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s recommendations for finding a financial counseling service, to make sure you find a professional with your best interests in mind.
Consider Debt Consolidation
If you need further assistance getting your debt under control, look into consolidation. A service like DebtConsolidation.co can help people get debts into one place, which makes it easier to take on your monthly expenses, enabling greater savings over time.
Once you’ve started to get on track, set aside any extra cash and start developing a nest egg. While a small amount here and there might not feel like you’re saving quickly enough, rest assured you’ll appreciate it a year from now when an unexpected job loss or medical expense comes along. Always be prepared.
Getting your finances in order is nothing to sniff at, and changing habits can require a near rewiring of the brain. Be patient, and set goals. Getting a debt repaid, saving an extra hundred dollars a week or making a commitment to limiting frivolous expenses are milestones. Be patient, and financial solvency.