Being smart about money starts with the basics. Doing the simple math involved is relatively easy for most folks. It’s financial discipline that often poses a challenge. Get your financial house in order by reviewing the following article and making the necessary changes to your poor money habits, so that you can start living with less financial stress and more personal freedom.
1. Calculate income. You need to know exactly how much money your entire household is generating each month. Figure out the net income from all contributing sources. Do not use approximate figures or estimates; you must know exactly what you have to work with every month.
2. Delegate for all bills. Gather statements from every bill you have to pay, including annual or semi-annual payments for things like insurance or property tax. Divide those that are not allocated monthly by twelve in order to neaten your figures. Once you have everything in front of you, add them up to determine your total monthly expenditures.
3. Be timely with all bills. Prioritize all income to address the prompt payment of your monthly bills. Even if something isn’t due until later in the month, allocate those funds now to avoid coming up short later. If the bill will be $100 dollars on the 25th, put two increments of $50 down for it or four increments of $25. No matter how you slice it, your income must be funneled toward your bills as a regular priority.
4. Save, no matter how modestly. Establish a low or no-fee savings account and don’t ever draw from it. Put ten bucks a week in if that’s all you can spare, or start collecting all of your spare change around the house. Any inclination toward savings is a necessary discipline you must establish. Before long, tossing a little bit toward the piggy bank should become habit and you will then be working toward your overall financial health in a big way.
5. Is any of your income disposable? Technically, no. If you are not financially strong, then all of your money needs to be going to that end. Ordering two pizzas every month, or three lattes each week most definitely adds up to a considerable amount which could be added to savings or used to pay off loans early. Although you do need to make the program worth your while with occasional treats and incentives, stay disciplined and your finances will gain strength much quicker.
6. Living beneath your means. Finding ways to live leaner will improve your money problems immediately and in the long term. Develop habits that see you saving regularly, and cutting spending corners at every opportunity. Shop at second-hand stores, check Craigslist or want ads. You should find the things that you need in very usable condition at a fraction of the brand new retail cost. In addition, consider selling something you no longer use as a means of paying for something new you want, to minimize the loss of cash to your monthly scheme.
7. Enjoy more free things. Check out fun destinations near you that will only cost you the gas money to get there. Pack a picnic to a park, rather than dining out. Enjoy free concerts and movies instead of forking out all that cash for premier events. Invite friends over for games and a potluck buffet in place of the usual clubbing nights. There are countless ways to enjoy living life and having fun without breaking the bank.
After a couple of months, you will find your improved ways of financially operating become less painful and more routine. Soon you will be proud of the accumulated savings in the bank, the healthy credit score you are establishing and the new found freedom of living without money related stress. Start today, you owe it to yourself!