Managing your finances is not one of the more glamorous responsibilities you’ll take on in life, and it certainly comes with its fair share of challenges. From keeping track of timely bills and statements to balancing your checkbook and monitoring investments, it can become intractable very quickly, especially when juggling an otherwise busy schedule. That is why we have pulled together a few tips to help you stay organized, save and prioritize your money, and take time for you in the process.
Organize your expenses
Being diligent and paying bills on time is the best way to have a handle on how much money you have going out and how much you have coming in. This is the basis for establishing your overall budget. Calculate your monthly income and then subtract your fixed expenses. The money left over can then be divided into expendable and variable money in the case of emergencies or last-minute expenses, be put in a savings account, or be used for leisure.
Keep organized records and utilize online resources to keep digital track of your budget. A simple spreadsheet can work wonders for managing your finances and can also be used as a tracker for paying your bills on time. Keep detailed records and set reminders for yourself so you never miss a payment. This will give you peace of mind and take some of the stress out of budgeting your money.
Rethink your spending
Saving money takes self-discipline and sometimes even a complete change in mindset when it comes to your spending habits. Start by analyzing your relationship with your finances. This sounds strange, we know, but how do you contemplate purchases in relation to how much money you have in your bank account? Do you search for the most affordable option even if you have the funds to spend more, do you take time to figure out if you really need or want that item, or do you just buy something with no thought of your budget?
Instilling good spending habits starts with how you think about spending. For example, if you prefer to eat at a restaurant four times a week instead of cooking, take a moment to really calculate the amount of money being spent just on food. Don’t forget to factor in the money you may be losing on expired groceries at home. Weighing your options before pulling out your debit card, plus seeing its direct impact on your wallet, can help to curb that unnecessary spending.
Save, save, and save some more
As we mentioned earlier, saving money takes self-discipline, but it can be simple if done right. Refer to your budget and the amount of expendable money you have. Start by setting aside at least 40% of that money into your savings account, slowly increasing the amount over time as the opportunity becomes available. Once this money is in your account, it’ll be out of sight, out of mind, and should stay that way.
Refrain from withdrawing from your savings unless absolutely necessary to build a sustainable emergency fund or have money for larger purchases like buying a home or vehicle. It can also help to try habit trackers that help to break or establish healthier spending habits. This gives you something to look forward to checking off at the end of the day when you refrain from spending or stay within your budget!
Make debt a priority
Debt can seem all-consuming at times, but when you make it a priority to tackle debt sooner rather than later, you can dig yourself out without added stress. Tend to the most expensive debt you have incurred first, paying attention to which credit card has the highest interest rate. After prioritizing the debt with the highest interest rate, manage your other lesser debts by paying the minimum amount due with the funds left over.
This short-term solution can help to chip away at overwhelming debt while finding balance amongst other debts owed. Once your larger debts are paid off, pay more than the minimum amount each month. Use the above spending and saving tips to set aside more money for payments and also reference this helpful guide to avoid common mistakes and reduce the stress that debt creates.
Take time to reset
It’s important to find time to rest amid the chaos that is managing finances. If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious due to your financial situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals. Find an accredited financial advisor or you may even want more personal help from a specialized therapist. Both are just a click away with online options for therapy and online financial assistance becoming more widely available.
Financial advisors will help to organize your current financial situation and set you up for success in the long-term, while taking time for yourself to seek solace with a therapist may help you to navigate rough financial times. Keeping yourself centered and focused will make managing financial stress that much easier.
Financial stress is common, and when it comes to keeping on top of everything from bills to money you have for spending, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos. We hope these tips will help you manage your finances and make life a little easier.