This post has been contributed.
Poor money management is something that many of us are guilty of, and while they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks - it’s never too late to improve the way you handle your money. If you’re fed up with living from paycheque to paycheque and always scraping by before the end of the month, then it’s time you did something about it.
With the right attitude and determination to succeed, you can help to change your money habits to leave you with more money left over, and a healthier approach to your spending.Take a look at some of the ways you can improve your finances below.
Get a clear picture of your money
It’s hard to start improving your money management if you don’t know the reality of your situation. While it can be scary to face up to your debts and spending habits, it’s important that you do so. Make a list of all of your income and your outgoings to help you work out where you’re going wrong. If your outgoings are higher than what you have coming in, you’ll have some much-needed changes to make to your spending.
Set yourself a budget
Creating a budget is a smart way to improve your spending habits. Having a budget that is flexible and easy to follow will make it easier for you to stick to it, and leave you with some savings left over at the end of the month. Budgeting allows you to make sure that all of your outgoings are covered, leaving you with a set amount to spend on things such as clothes and eating out.
You don’t have to be in a tough financial situation to create a budget. Having an ongoing budget is a good way to manage your money, and can help you plan for any increases or decreases in your income.
Make a plan to clear your debts
Dealing with debt should be at the top of your money priority list, especially if you have some high-interest debts to manage. Every month spent paying back interest is costing you money unnecessarily, and you should aim to do something about it.
Make a list of your debts, putting the ones with the highest interest at the top. Allocate more of your money to paying off the highest interest debts first, paying the minimum payment for the ones at the bottom of the list for now. As you clear your debts, you can work your way down the list to help reduce your overall repayments and pay them back quicker.
If you’re struggling to manage your debts, make sure that you do something about it. While you can help yourself to manage your debt, there is advice and services available to help you cope with debt.
Cut your spending
Getting a better grip on your spending can change your habits for good, ensuring that you have some money to put into savings each month. Some simple tips for reducing your spending overall include:
- Reduce your monthly bills by switching utility providers or cell phone services. Use comparison sites to help you find the best deal.
- Get rid of any services you rarely or never use such as gym membership, subscriptions to on-demand services or magazine subscriptions.
- Adopt a wiser approach to shopping by using discount codes and coupons.
- Reduce your weekly grocery spend by planning your meals in advance and avoid picking up items you may not want or need simply because there was a deal.
- Take time to mull over purchases. Sleeping on a decision might make you realize you don’t need the item at all, saving you money on those typical impulse buys.
- Entertain at home instead of going out - take turns with your friends so that everyone can get involved.
- Avoid putting things on a credit card simply because you couldn’t wait to buy it. Wait until you’ve got the money or sacrifice something else to buy the things you really want.
Whatever your saving goals, having a savings plan is a good way to help you become smarter with money. Whether you’re hoping to save for a house, to go traveling or for a new car - it’s wise to have a plan of how much you need to save each month. Having some rainy day savings is also a good idea, and is something that will keep you in the habit of saving - even when you’re not saving for something specific.
Familiarize yourself with different ways to save money, using the savings you make to put into your funds to help your savings grow even quicker.
Once you’ve got some savings in the bag, and an overall healthier financial picture, you can start thinking about making some investments. Investing your money is a good way to help it grow, and you don’t need to be a financial expert to get started.
There are plenty of ways you can invest your money, including apps designed for first-time investors. Starting off with lower risk investments can help you to develop your confidence in this area, growing your money slowly before you move onto larger scale investments.
As you grow more confident with investing, you can look at other ways to invest your money. It’s worth searching for more info on what you should be investing in to help you get started while talking to an expert or a broker could also help you get the most from your investment. Investing is something that can come with many risks - so you need to make sure that you’re prepared for that before you proceed.
Getting a firm handle on your money situation can help ease stress and concerns about your future. While you can still enjoy your money, being sensible and realistic with your spending can help you to avoid getting into debt and being left with nothing to show for your earnings. Start thinking about your financial future and change your money habits for the better now.