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No matter what their income is, a lot of people get trapped living paycheck to paycheck. Or they get trapped in debt. Or their finances are just plain out of control. I’ve heard complaints about things like this from both people working minimum wage jobs and people making a pretty decent amount of money. Even when they get pay raises, they still can’t get control of their finances. Heck, even celebrities have problems like this.
A lot of people, especially people around my age, seem to be especially careless with their money. And that’s okay! It’s to be expected because we’re young, right? We’re just starting out and we’re still learning.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be more responsible with my money starting now 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 of their money. If you live like that, your money can quickly get out of control. In the words of my financial role model 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. If you’re someone who isn’t earning very much money and you don’t have a budget, creating one could save your butt. Plan out where every dollar goes and you won’t get behind. Just make sure that you’re setting some aside for savings. Also, this might seem obvious, but make sure that you’re spending less than you’re earning. Keeping track of your income and your expenses is vital to managing your finances successfully.
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– Find a balance between fun and responsibility.
You don’t need to sacrifice your fun completely 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 and all that, 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. Would you rather go out all the time and be penniless or stay in when you need to and have enough money? 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 can go 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!
– Side hustle your way to extra income.
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? Start a blog (my favorite), sell services on Fiverr, sell stuff on eBay, babysit on the weekends, get a part-time job, use sites like Vindale, SwagBucks or InboxDollars – there are literally a thousand side hustle options. (I’ll be doing a post on this at some point!)
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– Plan, plan, plan.
Instead of focusing on doing 348,398 things to save a little money here and there, it might be a better option for you to 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, like paying off a certain amount of debt, saving a certain amount for an emergency fund, finding ways to increase your income, etc. Then plan out small, actionable steps that you can take in order to achieve your 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. If you’re using a credit card just to improve your credit score, then there’s no reason you should be charging things to it that you can’t afford anyway. 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
– Spend your money wisely.
When you have to spend money on stuff, be smart about it. For example, you don’t need to buy every book you read – you could go to the library instead. Or instead of paying for cable, you can stream movies on your TV. And instead of buying brand name products and groceries, try out store brands. There are countless little things you could do to cut down on your regular costs.
– Educate yourself as much as possible.
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.
Helpful books I recommend:
- 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
Helpful blogs :
– 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. Build up your savings, pay off your debt, increase your income, and educate yourself. 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! 😉
More financial posts you might like:
- How to Start Saving Money for Retirement
- How to Save Money and Still Buy That Cup of Coffee
- Last Minute Ways to Earn Extra Money for Christmas
Do you have any tips for taking control of your finances?