When we reach adulthood there are a lot of responsibilities which we can struggle to cope with right away. We suddenly have to balance our personal lives, exercise, social life and work life while staying on track with our finances and not going completely crazy. If you struggle with money matters and you need a helping hand with staying afloat, here are some things you need to know…
#1: Pay into Savings First
Whenever you want to make better habits in your finances you need to remember one thing: savings are important. Saving up for the future is crucial if you want to stay afloat because you need to have that security if you ever have to pay out for a debt or are unable to earn money for a while. Think of your savings like a bill you need to pay out every month and set yourself a specific amount to pay into your savings every single month. This will allow you to ensure you save enough money and that you don’t just spend it on other items.
#2: Get to Know Your Bank Account
If you don’t know how much money you have and how much money you pay out every month, how are you supposed to be better with your finances? Make sure that you take the time to look through your bank account and see what kind of payments come out every month, how much you are spending, and whether or not you need to cut down on some costs in your lifestyle. Knowing what money you have in the bank will allow you to be more careful when spending.
#3: Get to Know Your Bank Account
When you grow up you will no longer have an allowance to stick to every single week, and for a young adult, this can lead to temptation and overspending for a long period of time. Instead of simply spending as much as you like every single week why not give yourself an allowance? Let’s say that after bills and other payments you have $150 left in the bank for the week. Rather than spending it all, limit yourself to $70. Stick to a budget of just under half of what you have in the bank and this way your money will always be on the increase.
#4: Review Your Receipts
When we go shopping and get a receipt with our change, we often dump the receipt in our bag or purse and never look at it again. However, if you want to stop yourself from spending too much money you need to keep your receipts and then read through them at the end of the week. Look at what kind of things you are paying for and decide whether or not you can avoid these things in the future. If you are buying food at work every day you are likely overspending, consider bringing your own food in the next week to save some money.
#5: Balance Your Checkbook
No, we don’t mean breaking out the Precision Scale, however, taking the time to balance your checkbook is crucial if you want to stay on track financially. Take your time one evening during the week and just go through all of your spending and your bills to ensure everything adds up.
One of the things people tend to struggle with during the month is the shopping. When you are shipping for food for the whole family it can seem as if you are spending hundreds of dollars, but you shouldn’t have to spend this much money at all. Ideally, you will want to sit down the night before you plan to go shopping and plan your meals for the week ahead. Once you have planned them, you can write down the ingredients you will need for each meal. Try your best to have multiple meals which use the same ingredients to save you some money.
Shopping doesn’t have to be expensive. If you can choose 3-4 meals to make for an entire week, you will cut down on the ingredients you have to buy as well as cutting down on cooking time during the week. Cook in big batches and freeze the leftovers for the future. You will save so much money working this way and you will wonder how you ever spent so much money in the first place!
#7: Treat Yourself
Being smart with money doesn’t mean that you suddenly have to become a hermit who never goes out and never does anything apart from eating in at home. You are entitled to a treat because you are being smart with your money. Treat yourself to a meal out or a takeaway once a month, go on a little shopping spree on the city for the summer, or buy yourself and your family a new gadget for the house. The whole point of being careful with your finances is to allow you to treat yourself and not feel guilty.
#8: Spreadsheet It
If you are a very visual person, you might benefit from creating a spreadsheet with your spending on. This can include all of the income you have every month, every bill, mortgage payment, car payment and every other expenditure you automatically have each month. Once you have a value for this you will be able to see how much money you have left for savings, food, and lifestyle. Try to cut down on food and lifestyle a little and make more room for savings. Being able to see what you are spending will make you more conscious when you leave the house each day.
#9: Set Goals
If you aren’t sure where to start with changing your financial habits for the better and knowing how much to save each month, come up with a goal. You and your family might be looking at moving house in the next year or two, you may want to get married, or you may simply want a holiday later in the year. Work out how much money you need for your goal, give yourself a time frame and this will help you decide how much money you need to save each month. It will also give you the extra motivation to save.
#10: Use Cash
One of the things which cause people to spend more money, in general, is the fact that everyone uses their debit or credit card online and in store. However, when you are using a card to pay for everything you aren’t seeing the cash leave your purse. Bring cash out with you for a day and just see how it feels to buy what you normally buy during the day. You will immediately notice a difference and you will be likely to curb your spending due to seeing the cash leave your person.
#11: Emergency Fund
Everyone should have an emergency fund to fall back on when times get hard, and you should start right away to ensure that you are safe if anything ever happens. Let’s say you go into work tomorrow and become ill or injure yourself, do you have enough money to support yourself for a couple of months? If not, you need to start saving up right now.
#12: Reduce Your Bills
When we look through monthly spending, one of the things we don’t look to change is the cost of our energy bills. If your energy bills are looking pretty steep at the moment there are a few things you can do to reduce the cost. Firstly, you can have solar panels installed on your roof to decrease the cost of electricity. Secondly, you can start using less energy during the day and invest in energy saving light bulbs for the space. Lastly, you can compare different energy providers online and look into switching your provider. You will often benefit from an introductory rate when you do switch so this will be a big benefit to your finances.
#13: Overestimate Your Spending
One of the clever tactics you can bring into your planning for the month is to overestimate your bills and your mortgage payments. Even if you know that to cost will be the same every month, add another $50 or round the figure up and leave this to the side, of spending a penny of it. Over the months these small amounts will start to accumulate and you will end up with more and more money in your current account. Once the value reaches a decent figure you can transfer it to your savings account and start all over again.
#14: Get Everyone Involved
If you want to make better money habits for the whole family, you need to get the whole family involved in your decisions. Sit everyone down one night and go through your bank statements to see where everyone is overspending and how they could cut down on costs. You can give everyone a target to save by the end of the year, and this will motivate everyone in the family to get involved in your good money habits and to stay on track with their finances.