4 Tips to Stay on Top of Your Finances

4 Tips to Stay on Top of Your Finances

If you’re struggling to stay on top of your finances or even trying to best manage your debt, it’s important to know that you’re not alone.  Many people are unfortunately living paycheck to paycheck just trying to make ends meet. Sadly this means that if some sort of unexpected cost comes up, it will lead you back at the starting line of just trying to keep up. 

That’s the issue with having a financial struggle, the moment that anything in expected happens, whether it be something big such as an accident to something small like needing a new pair of shoes, you’re just out of luck or you’ll need to sacrifice something somewhere. If you’re needing to dig yourself out of debt, just catch up with expenses so there is more breathing room, or just become more financially responsible, there are thankfully plenty of options for you. Look into implementing these tips so you can begin staying on top of your finances. 

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Set a more realistic budget

This could be obvious as well for those who have been struggling. One of the very first things to do is to look into your budget. Those who are making ends meet have most likely already looked into their budget and have made it realistic. But to clarify what this is, you could calculate your income and quantify your necessary expenses. These expenses are going to be rent, bills, insurance, groceries, transportation, etc. You need to figure out how much money you have leftover or how much money, in the end, you’re going to need after breaking down your expenses. This will help you brainstorm on ways to save money such as cutting down on power or water, walking or using public transport, or how to cut down on food.  This could also mean having to push off on purchases such as a trip or buying your dream home.

Looking into unnecessary expenses

This may be the easiest and the most obvious tip. But what are some unnecessary expenses that you or your household has? Are you subscribed to any streaming services or have subscriptions that aren’t a necessity?  How often are you eating out? Even if it’s once a week, that could be just too much. Are you possibly overspending on certain things?

Many households tend to spend too much on groceries when it doesn’t need to be so. For example, using coupons can help save money on groceries and household items such as shampoo. Opting in for the cheaper-low scale grocery stores can help save money. This also includes switching from name brand to generic brand, even if the taste isn’t the same. While it may not be ideal, even the smallest of changes can drastically help out.  However, many people, they’ve already been following this tip but are still in a financial sinkhole. This tip is mostly to help people who may have just recently begun getting into financial problems.

Create an emergency fund

Unfortunately, we need to expect the unexpected nowadays because anything could happen. Emergencies come in many forms such as needing to find the best legal representation, medical attention, a natural disaster hit your area or another scenario. It’s not fun to think about, but you could end up in even more serious financial hardship if an emergency happens. That’s why it’s best to keep a separate fund just for that. A good rule of thumb is to have at least three months’ worth of living expenses in this fund.

Pay off debt as soon as possible

 If you’re in debt, that’s most likely what is eating up your expenses. There are thankfully programs to help with paying off certain debts. For example, with student loans there are programs to help with that such as temporarily having a deferment, lowering the monthly cost ( beware of interest), and a payment plan based on your income. If it’s credit card debt, that should be treated differently. Credit cards should be used to pay off the balance before there is any interest. Banks and credit card companies make the interest rates very high, so it can be difficult to catch up and get the rate lowered.

It’s best to set up a plan to pay off your debt as soon as possible, especially if it’s credit card debt. It’s best to treat your credit card the same way that you’d treat your debit card. Only use it if you have the money on hand. If not, then it’s going to snowball into something much worse. Some programs help with getting out of credit card debt such as debt consolidation. These can help with lowering the interest rate and having to pay a bit less over time. In general, when it comes to credit cards, they can be helpful but they can also be very harmful. Once your credit score is down, it can be difficult to get it back up.

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