Is your present financial situation getting you down? Thankfully, you can start today to get your finances back into shape.
While money and balancing your life seems complicated – there are a few simple, unchallenging things that you can do today that will really help your financial situation.
Maybe your bootstrapping your own business, mastering the latest free online tax tools, putting yourself through school or just rocking an unpaid internship. Regardless, you have to consciously take control of your finances or else they will spin out of control.
So stop losing sleep thinking of ways to apply for a car loan just so you can boost your image driving an expensive sport car! You have to get into a great financial shape now so you can have a prosperous future. Once your finances are in order, money and even cars are easy to acquire.
Here are some really easy tips that anyone can implement to get you started:
1) Reduce unnecessary spending
Take a long look at how you spend money. Are there any unnecessary expenses you can cut now to save a little more each month?
Be as honest as you can about how you are spending and cut back on things you can live without. Keep in mind that as your financial situation improves, you will be able to start spending money on fun things again. For now, try to do without. Here are 100 ways to reduce your spending.
I’m sure you can find something to cut out. (Trust me, life will go on without Netflix)
2) Put away the credit cards
Seriously guys. If you are not making enough liquid to get by, do not just resort to the credit cards.
While there are exceptions (emergencies, small business expenses, etc.), simple maxing out your credit cards to get that new couch you want in hopes of getting a new job soon is stupid.
You are digging yourself a whole, and it gets deep real fast.
By all means use credit cards for airline miles and points when you have the money to pay them off at the end of each month. This is a great strategy and will boost your credit at the same time. But stay away from treating credit cards like money when you have none! It is a dangerous game to play.
3) Pay your debt
Jumping off point 2, ifyou’re carrying credit card debt or have outstanding loans, find ways to pay them quickly. The faster you can pay this debt off, the less interest you will pay. Make more than the minimum payments each month. Cut back on other areas and put the money towards your debt. Try not to take on a new debt unless it’s absolutely necessary.
One of the fastest ways to address your debt is to refinance. So for example, a ‘typical’ family could have two car loans with a bank such as CB Online. Find out how much interest you are paying on the existing loan and shop around for an alternative. You could either try and get a cheaper deal from your existing bank, or get a cheaper loan elsewhere and use it to pay off what’s left of your loans.
The key to paying off debt is to actually do stuff. Laziness and procrastination are your arch enemy, because the status quo is simply not doing you any favours.
4) Start saving
Put more money each month into savings. Create a small cushion for emergencies so you don’t have to charge these added expenses to your credit cards. Rather than take out personal loans, save for the things you want. Putting aside a specific amount each month makes saving easy and fun. Set realistic goals so you can still pay all your monthly expenses.
Once you start saving, you’ll be amazed at how much more financial freedom you will have. The Money Advice Service have their own budget planner, which is about all you need for drawing up a solid monthly plan.
5) Create a monthly budget
Budget everything – from paying your utilities and bills to shopping for food and groceries to entertainment. Create a monthly allowance and make sure not to go over it. This will really help you figure out ways to cut expenses, pay down (and keep down) debt, and start saving.
Budgeting may sound easy, but you need self-discipline and hard work to stick to it each and every month. When paying or shopping, look everywhere for great deals. Take time to contact your cable provider, cell phone or utility company and ask for discounts and special deals. Shop around for the best deals on clothing, food, electronics, and other items you purchase most often. Even the least amount you save will be beneficial in the long run.
6) Share expenses with others
Get a flat mate, share a car, use public transportation, and split the bill when going out to save money. Learn how to compromise, trust others, and increase compassion. These qualities are beneficial. Sharing expenses lowers monthly costs and allows you to save more. Want to keep track of it all? Check out PayMeBack for iPhone… it’s really great.
7) Go without
Don’t buy new clothes for the next six months, or bring leftovers from the night before for lunch instead of buying it every day. Disconnect your cable service and watch movies on your computer instead. Challenge yourself to come up with new ways to go without.
Living a minimalist life is very rewarding. While helping your finances you will rid your dependance of material goods. This is powerful. Do you really need all this shit?
Check out TheMinimilists.com for some ideas.
As you can see, there are many ways to hack your finances into better shape. Some of these ideas, though easy in theory, will require some real sacrifice on your part. However, once your finances are in top shape, you can really reap the benefits.
This stuff is life changing. Just do it. One day you will be rolling in green and you can come back and thank me then.