I remember feeling stuck in various financial situations in life that required me to get creative with my finances. It’s never easy to admit you need to quit spending, start saving and adding some financial responsibility to my weekly routines. The hardest part of that journey is just getting started sometimes.
Do you need to plan your way to smarter spending and saving? Here are some tips that can help you get control of your income, curb your spending, and move closer to your financial goals.
Some of the most effective strategies are also quite simple; you can take control of your income and fix your credit with some simple steps that don’t cost anything to begin.
Budgets Are Crucial
I have personally found that the best budgets keep you accountable for all saving & spending, offer a small amount of mad money for spending on impulse buys, but also put a dedicated amount of cash aside for saving and investing.
Budgets can be tough to stick with, which is why it’s good to use a second strategy to help keep you honest–have you ever switched to an all-cash approach to buying your weekly items? Going all cash and refusing to use your credit and debit cards can be a game-changer for many.
When trying a cash-only routine, you may have to keep your credit cards and debit cards are hidden away until you get used to the idea–don’t set yourself up for failure by keeping your plastic as handy as ever.
Budgets are hard to stick to at first–the key to establishing good financial habits and getting more out of your money?
Establishing new habits and new rituals. I learned one way to do this that really works for me personally–schedule yourself for a daily money moment where you take a break each and every day at a specific time (where possible) to check your finances, review your purchases, and examine the health of your accounts.
Decide On Your Financial Priorities
No budget is complete without specific goals. Do you need to pay off a student loan? Or a nuisance debt problem like a store credit card? Target your most bothersome debt and prioritize the payoff of that debt.
You should decide if your budget needs to be focused on debt reduction, establishing a record of consistent on-time payments (crucial when preparing for a big credit application), or controlling your spending as a “first goal”.
There can be plenty of second goals and other priorities but be sure to have a specific and clear-cut direction for your efforts when you get started.
Spending And Saving: Goals For Your Budget
Sometimes it can be hard to prioritize your finances, but you can get started quickly and easily by setting an arbitrary goal at first and refining or replacing it as you start to learn what your financial needs truly are.
For example, if you don’t know where to start working on credit repair and your finances, try choosing an early goal of reducing your expenses by attacking the most expensive debt you have.
That could mean the debt that is eating too much of your monthly income, or it could mean the debt that is costing you more over time–it’s up to you. But starting simple with an easily recognizable priority can help you make a more personalized strategy for controlling your spending habits and getting your credit repaired.
Joe Wallace specializes in personal finance, military affairs, and consumer protection topics. Since 1995, his work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and collects unusual vinyl records, which gives him an excuse to write the vinyl blog Turntabling.net.