No matter what their income is, a lot of people get trapped living paycheck-to-paycheck. I’ve heard this from people I know working minimum-wage jobs and from people making a pretty decent amount of money. Even when they get pay raises, they still can’t get control of their finances.
People around my age (in their twenties) seem to be especially careless with their money. And that’s okay! It’s to be expected because we’re young, right? Well I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be more responsible with my money so that I can get further ahead. I had good examples of money management growing up. And everything I didn’t learn from my parents or in school, I’ve taught myself through reading books, articles, and seeking out answers.
I feel like biggest the problem is that people don’t keep track of their finances or pay attention to where their money is going. They aren’t mindful with their money. If you live like that, your money can quickly get out of control. In the words of Dave Ramsey, “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
So that brings me to my first tip…
Keep track of your money
Creating a budget is one of the best ways to get ahead financially and save money. I know, you’ve heard it before. And *yawn* it sounds boring. But seriously. It is probably the one thing that has helped me the most. I actually have plans for a post about how to create a budget that works for you (and a budget binder with printables) in the near future to go more in-depth about this. Make sure that you’re spending less than you’re earning. Keeping track of your income and your expenses is the key to managing your finances successfully.
Find a balance
You don’t need to sacrifice your fun in order to be financially responsible. And let’s be honest, going out is fun! I mean, life is short. Enjoy yourself! Work hard, play hard, right? Just find a balance between saving money and spending money. You don’t need to sit in your house doing nothing 24/7, but you shouldn’t be blowing every penny that you have either. Just make room in your budget for playtime too!
Build up that emergency fund
You’ve probably heard about emergency funds before, but I put it here anyway because I think it’s pretty dang important. If you lose your job, your car breaks down, you suffer a disaster or an illness (the list goes on and on) how would you be able to pay bills and stay afloat financially? I think you should aim to save up at least 3 month’s worth of expenses in case an emergency happens (knock on wood!). You don’t have to save a ridiculous amount each week. Any amount will help – even $5 a week is better than nothing!
One of the quickest ways to get ahead financially is to side hustle. You can try to earn extra income in order to pay off debt, build up your emergency fund, save for retirement, to just get some extra cash – whatever you want, y’all! What could you do to make extra money, you ask? Sell services on Fiverr (my favorite!), sell stuff on eBay, babysit on the weekends, use sites like Vindale, SwagBucks or InboxDollars – there are literally a thousand side hustle options. (I’ll be doing a post on this in the near future too! 😉 )
Plan, plan, plan
Instead of focusing on doing 348,398 things to save a little money here and there, just plan ahead instead. People who plan for the future tend to end up with more wealth and success. So plan for your financial future and set yourself some goals (such as paying off debt, building an emergency fund, increasing income, etc.). Then plan out some small, actionable steps you can take in order to achieve those financial goals.
Avoid debt at all costs
I feel like borrowing money and putting yourself in debt for no good reason is something you should never do. Don’t take out loans unless you absolutely need them. I don’t use credit cards because I don’t think it’s a good idea (at this point in my life, at least) but some people do. So just don’t charge anything to your credit card unless it’s an emergency or you know that you’ll be able to pay it off on time. You should never put yourself in debt just to finance a lifestyle that you aren’t able to afford.You should never put yourself in debt just to finance a lifestyle that you aren't able to afford. Click To Tweet
This is the ginormous thing that helped me a lot when it came to finances. Educate yourself more about personal finance. Do research on anything you want to know, or need help with. Read books, blogs, articles. Take a free online course – like one of these certified courses. There are many ways that you can learn more about how to save more, earn more, manage your money better, etc.
- Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey (my personal favorite!)
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money by Robert T. Kiyosaki
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
- The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko
- Hustle Away Debt: Eliminate Your Debt by Making More Money by David Carlson
Commit to it
There are so many things that you can do to help your finances. If you’re serious about it, you just need to set yourself some realistic goals – with actionable steps. Try out different things to find out what stuff works best for you and commit to improving your finances. If you work at it and don’t give up, you can eventually turn your financial situation around and tell your money where to go! 😉
Question: Do you have any tips or tricks that have helped you get ahead financially? I’d love to see your comments below!
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