Acquiring a good understanding of your finances is essential for everyday financial matters, such as paying your bills, living well, saving, and setting up a comfortable retirement. But, somehow, we get carried away and we always feel that there’s still time.
Unfortunately, that’s not being very realistic. Days turn into months, then years and before you know it, you’re running out of time and money. If you’re like the rest of us and enjoy spending more than saving, then these simple tips will help you enjoy your money today and for years to come.
1. Set up a financial calendar
It’s easy to forget quarterly taxes, credit reports and other important financial to-dos; the best thing is to set up reminders just as you would other appointments. You can do them weekly or monthly to help you easily plan for upcoming money goals.
2. Keep cash handy
Using bills instead of credit cards helps you appreciate the value of how much you’re spending, more so than having the money magically go from your bank account into someone’s. It also helps reduce impulsive spending and create awareness of how much you’re actually spending.
3. Set up a budget
Create a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly checklist for your budget, depending on when you get paid. Having clear starting and ending points for your finances is a great way to get a grasp of where you stand when it comes to your finances. It can help you measure how far you’ve come and how far you have to go until you reach your upcoming financial goal. A budget can also get you back on the right track if you slip up at any time.
4. The 20/30 rule
20% of your income each month should be put towards your financial priorities. Things like paying off your debt, boosting your retirement fund, saving extra money on the side for a rainy day – all these things are your top priorities.
Now the fun part. Take 30% of your income and spend it on fun things, like going out to the movies, concerts, restaurants, etc. This 30% isn’t for basic necessities; it’s only for splurging and enjoying yourself.
5. Create detailed financial goals
When setting up goals, you usually use words to describe your plans, how you’re going to get there and when. Yet when you set up your financial goals, you need to use dates and specific numbers to help you plan out what you want to achieve with your money and make it accessible for you to actually get there.
6. Find a ‘money’ buddy
The saying, ‘friends of a feather, flock together’ is very true, especially when it comes to money. Friends pick up each others’ habits. So, if your friend loves splurging, then chances are, you will too, and vice versa. If you end up paying more when you go shopping with your friends, then maybe it’s smart to go alone and meet up with your friends somewhere else besides the mall.
7. Factor purchases by cost/use
While opting for a cheaper tech toy may seem smart in the moment, it’s not wise because you’re not factoring in quality of the item. When purchasing anything, think about the number of times you’ll use/wear it, this is how you can get a real measure of the item’s worth, even if the actual cost is a bit much.
8. Start saving today
Don’t wait until you’re making a lot of money to start saving. Even if you start with $100, if you start saving right now, your savings will have time to comfortable grow via the growing rate of return over time.
Also, when your pay gets a bump, the number one thing you should do is add to your savings as well. You can have it directly deposited into your account if you aren’t disciplined enough to do it yourself on a regular basis.
Coupons are also a great way to save hundreds, even thousands of dollars yearly. That makes the time finding and clipping them definitely worth it.
9. Keep savings and checking accounts separate, even separate banks
Let’s be honest, money in your checking account is there to be spent – there’s no way around it. The best way to avoid this pitfall is to open up a separate account for your savings. Want to keep them even further apart? Keep the accounts in 2 separate accounts.