Good money management is a skill that anybody can learn. There are two types of people in this world: Spenders and Savers. People who spend money are impulse driven individuals with an emphasis on instant gratification. Savers tend to be future oriented and willing to sacrifice instant gratification for long-term security. Unfortunately, neither of these two opposing paradigms are the ideal financial model. A spender runs the risk of financial bankruptcy while a saver runs the risk of a life bereft of enjoyment. Somewhere in between these disparate financial management approaches is a happy medium.
One of the most widely publicized facts about the typical American household is the following: most people in the US don’t even have $500 available to cover an emergency. This is a sad indictment of society in the world’s richest country. It indicates that financial mismanagement is pervasive. We simply spend way too much money, driven in large part by the power of marketing to induce needs in society.
With no savings in hand, people are forced to rely on credit cards, home equity loans, personal loans, and business loans to finance emergencies. This is a recipe for disaster. It’s almost comical that Americans live in a society where having the latest phone is perceived as a need, rather than a luxury. Banks and financial institutions make it way too easy to access money that we don’t have. They are eager to dish out lines of credit to facilitate our wanton spending sprees.
According to leading debt management resource, DebtConsolidation, stats indicate that credit card debt with American households is currently at $12.73 trillion + with an average credit card debt per borrower of $2,859. Sadly, it’s far easier to swipe your credit card and acquire goods and services than it is to repay that money. The long-term effects of financial mismanagement are severely disruptive.
Families without health care coverage, retirement funds, or savings tend to pull the short straw in life. If you don’t have a couple of hundred dollars socked away for an emergency, you’re forced to borrow from friends, relatives, credit cards, or payday lenders to cover these costs. This is not advisable for many reasons. As stated earlier in the article, good financial sense can be learned. Your money habits can turn your fortunes around if you act decisively. When you change your habits, you will notice a change in your personal financial situation.
Here are 8 financial strategies that can help you lead a more successful life:
- Make a concerted effort to save money every month. This can be in the form of a savings account, money under your mattress, or funds invested into your 401(k).
- Cut down on unnecessary expenses such as online subscriptions (music streaming, movie streaming, online gift card services etcetera).
- Try turning off electrical appliances when you go to bed and when you go to work for the day.
- Try to automate routine functions by using technology to your benefit. This includes things like AI vacuum cleaners, smartphone technology and apps, online calendars for keeping appointments, and energy-saving appliances.
- Avoid the daily run to the local coffee shop. You’ll be surprised how much money you can save every month by avoiding the $6 daily cup of coffee.
- Create a budget and stick to it. This is easier said than done, since a budget is an all-encompassing financial plan for every expense item in your life.
- Understand how much take-home pay you have available. Factor in things like state and federal taxation, child payments, fixed and variable expenses and more. Once you know what your take home pay is you can plan better.
- Conduct a little research into financial terms, concepts, and other jargon. The more you understand about the financial world, the less likely you are to make expensive mistakes. Concepts like APR, debt consolidation, debt to income ratio, and credit scores can help you to lead a more successful life.