You know that your finances need some serious rethinking, but you’ve always put it off. When you finally do decide to sit down and look at your financial situation, you immediately realize there is so much that needs to be fixed. What goal do you focus on first? Do you even save anymore? Maybe it’s time you had a debt repayment strategy.
Keeping your finances in check so you can achieve specific goals, pay off debt or stick to your budget is no easy fit. To tackle your finances head on, you need to start small and learn what it takes to stay working towards a healthier financial future. Here are some unique ways to keep your finances in check.
Decide on Your Priorities
When creating a budget, almost everyone focuses on the three areas of spending: food, housing and transportation. After budgeting for these main expenses, you need to prioritize your expenses based on your other financial needs. Factor in household expenses, debt payments, savings, professional expenses and entertainment. How about other costs like buying furniture or tech gadgets like that favorite phone you’ve been eyeing all year?
If you’re buying a new gadget like an iPhone 6s Plus and don’t have ready cash, take advantage of affordable payment plans offered by various companies. Prioritizing on what matters most and finding a way to affordably purchase items is critical to keeping your finances in check.
Make Use of Innovative Web Tools
Today, finding free financial planning and accounting tools online is easy. Harnessing the power of such tools can help you better manage your finances and monitor your spending over time. Tools like Mint.com, Pennyminder and You Need a Budget enable you to upload your account or financial information and get immediate insight into where you stand financially. You can then use that data to manage your expenses and save more money.
Budget for The Year, Not Just Monthly
Many of us don’t feel confident about our monthly estimates. While it’s always good to start with a small budget plan, how about you budget for the year ahead? This works well when budgeting for major expenses like paying a mortgage, buying a car or saving for college. A budget can be very valuable. It helps you track your spending and uncover hidden cash flow problems. Learn some basic budgeting tips that everyone should know.
Consider Both Your High and Low Points
To keep your finances in check, you have to learn from your mistakes as well as achievements. What did you do right or where did you go wrong? By evaluating your progress over the next few months, you can easily pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to sticking to your financial plan. Did you end up overspending on gifts or fail to book plane tickets early enough? The decisions you make will play a critical role in managing your finances.
Create a Spending Diary
How about taking the spending diary challenge? Write down every money you spend for two weeks, along with clear notes on why and how it made you feel. You might be surprised by your spending habits. For instance, instead of having dinner at home, you waste money on eatouts with friends or happy hours. After two weeks, analyze your list and see where exactly your money is going.
Have a Super Saver Mentality
Yes, it’s hard to save consistently, especially when financial needs are growing by the day and unexpected expenses coming up when you least expect it. Saving simply requires a lot of planning, sacrifice and great discipline. You need to outline your financial goals, start saving now, however little and stick to it. With a savings culture, you can even go ahead and learn how to invest your money better.
Keeping your finances in check is all about taking small and actionable steps that can be reviewed to provide clear information that could help you better manage your finances. Avoid the temptation to break away from your working financial plan simply because you’re in a safe position financially, and remember to reward yourself regularly. After all, you’re working hard for that money so it should bring you some pleasure.