You know it, we know it. Managing money can get a little complicated when you have lots of bills to pay and mouths to feed.. but you don’t have to struggle!
A few tips and tricks can help you manage your finances and you can get them all working for you this weekend.
Budget, Budget, Budget!
It’s hard to understand that to very few people, money management comes naturally. They don’t need a budget, they simply spend very little, pay the few bills they allow themselves to have, and enjoy the lack of work that comes with living an excessively responsible financial life. Most of us, however, don’t work that way. We want things. We like to spend our money. We try to find that delicate balance between enjoying what we earn and saving for the future. If you fall into this category, you probably need a budget.
Before you can make one, you should understand the basics. You need to break your spending down into broad categories and allocate your money. For everyone, this will include fixed costs (e.g. rent) and most will set aside money for savings/investments and some spending money as well. For the most part, you really just need to figure out how much you need in the first category and disperse the rest as you please. A higher savings percentage may be more responsible, but you need to account for your lifestyle and how you enjoy yourself. Don’t avoid taking vacations and buying things you want from time to time. Save your money and enjoy it, too. Don’t overburden your willpower or you won’t have a budget that works.
Flexibility doesn’t work for everyone. You might need a more strict approach. If you like to account for every cent, consider the power of a zero sum budget. With it, you can decide where every bit of money goes so you don’t have the flexibility to make irresponsible choices. This level of strictness may help a lot or feel suffocating, so know yourself and what suits you best before you make a choice.
Create a Savings Plan
Yes, budgets can get complicated, but savings plans don’t have to. All you really have to do is regularly dump a bunch of money in the bank. Even if you don’t add much each month, it can add up to a lot. You need to find an amount that works well for you.
If you make a reasonable salary and have a steady job, you can save some of your money each month even if it doesn’t amount to much right away. If you have a hard time parting with any of your paycheck, it helps to trick yourself into saving. Use direct deposit to automatically put money into a bank account that’s difficult to access or withdraw from. Separate your savings into multiple bank accounts so you getting it all takes even more work. When you have trouble with spending, get rid of credit cards and make it difficult to reach your cash.
You can also save more by spending less. If laziness gets the best of you and you don’t spend your money well, it’s time to learn how. Timing makes an incredible difference. If you know when to buy what, you can wait until the appropriate sale rolls around and grab a discount. You can also buy plenty of things used and either fix them up yourself where necessary or just enjoy a well-made product that someone didn’t need or want anymore!
Get Rid of Debt!
Debt is today’s plague. Many of us spend more than we have without a plan to pay it off. Even more have student loan debt they can’t manage. If this includes you, make a plan to fix it. Plenty of tools exist to help you out.
If you try and pay off your debt with practically no plan, you’ll probably fail. Figure out a plan that pays off your debt as quickly as possible without too much of a financial burden and stick to it. It may take time, but you’ll be better off in the long run.