How To Take Control of Your Finances

finance

In life, finances are inevitable. And more often than not, they can be overwhelming. Having a healthy relationship with money takes practice. It is easy to succumb to desires and overlook the necessary expenses in life. While there is nothing wrong to splurge every once in a while, living beyond our means too often can lead to debt with life-long consequences. But managing money doesn’t have to be stressful, with a few helpful strategies, you can make your money work for your life. 

Apply For a Loan

While most of these tips focus on budgeting the money you have currently, there are times where we find ourselves in an unforeseen debt situation. Or potentially, we find ourselves in debt and then proceed to turn our finances around. Either way, the first step in taking control of our finances is to address any large expenses that need to be paid. Applying for a short-term loan is a good way to pay off a larger amount of money quickly. The benefit of a short-term loan is that the lease agreement can be paid off relatively soon after borrowing. This means your period of owing money can be resolved with little time spent in debt.

Start Budgeting

Budgeting is the bread and butter of having a stronghold on your finances. While you may have heard it before, there is no other option than to budget. A common misconception about budgeting is that you have to sacrifice the things you want. This is mostly incorrect. Yes, budgeting does require a bit of sacrifice in spending. Depending on your income, you may not be able to buy all the things you want. But, along similar lines, budgeting also doesn’t mean you have to get rid of every little extra expense. Rather, sustainable budgets include making room for the things you want, not just need. Let’s say you can’t go a day without your morning Starbucks. You don’t have to throw out for homemade drip (Let’s face it, it’s not the same). For a sustainable budget, you would make room for this recurring expense by ditching something else. Maybe you go out to eat a little less or you skip the new clothing item this month.

Cut Unnecessary Costs

When you take a close look at your finances you may notice you have some unnecessary costs you could eliminate. One of the most common areas of unnecessary costs is in the form of subscriptions. Ideally, you should be able to list off everything you pay a subscription fee too. And more often than not, most people can’t. Take a deep dive into your phone and computer apps, your tv streaming services, your music streaming services, and any other subscription box or product you may be signed up for. You’ll probably realize that in reality you don’t utilize all the things you’re subscribed to and can cut these costs down. 

Track, Track, Track

Similar to budgeting, tracking expenses is another strategy for controlling money. Often tracking is used in conjunction with budgeting, but it can also be useful on its own. Tracking, at its core, gives you a concrete data set to visualize your spending. Tracking your expenses can expose spending trends, show saving progress, and distribution of costs from week to week or month to month. Tracking helps you understand and locate areas in your finances or in your budget where you are doing well and areas where you could improve. Perhaps you eat out far more than you realize, or maybe you notice every time you walk into Target you come out with over $100.00 of things. Whatever it may be, tracking serves to help you, as a consumer, find areas where you can improve your spending habits. 

Set Up An Emergency Fund

If you are someone who is more paranoid about money, setting up an emergency fund is a great place to start. While everyone should work towards setting up an emergency fund, it can be particularly helpful if you stress about unforeseen expenses. An emergency fund should, in theory, hold enough money to help you through 3 months of no income and still pay off your necessary expenses i.e. rent, car payment, bills, etc. Though some financial experts advocate for having 6 months’ worth of money in your fund, that can be both overwhelming and simply unachievable.

Conclusion 

The world of finances can often seem daunting. It may feel like, no matter what you do, there is never enough in the bank. Utilizing these strategies can help you not only gain a better understanding of how your finances are used, but also can help feel more in control of your economic situation. Start with something as simple as tracking everything you spend in a day, or for more data, in a week. Then look through your data and decide which other strategies you can implement. The hardest part is getting started, but once you do everything can fall into place.

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