Financial experts consistently agree that – at least once each year – you should fine-tune your finances. This monetary tune-up will provide you with a big picture of how you are saving, spending, and investing.
It is a comprehensive reflection of your behaviors and attitudes towards your financial affairs. Often, once you start, you discover many tactics, strategies, and financial tips to make the most of your money, make necessary monetary changes, and meet your financial goals.
Few people realize it, but monetary goals – be it short-term or long-term- are heavily dependent upon one’s ability to save money. When fine-tuning your finances, it is imperative to ensure that you are saving the proper amount for your goals as this will be the one step that will aid in the achievement of the objectives that you have set for yourself and your life. The following offers some insight on successful savings strategies that will put you in the “green” for years to come:
- First, you should ensure that your bank or your employer is transferring a certain percentage of your earnings into an interest-bearing savings account. As the year progresses and the economy undergoes changes, you should make certain that the percentage of your money that is being transferred into your savings account increases.
- Next, you should set up an emergency fund. The money in this account will be for unexpected expenses like automobile tires, vehicle repairs, medical emergencies, and those events that are similar in nature. Ideally, at least six months’ worth of your income should be placed into a savings emergency fund.
- In addition to a basic savings account and a basic emergency fund, you should also have a retirement savings account put into place. There are several online estimation tools that will allow you to effectively determine exactly how much you require for retirement. Once you figure out the amount, you should divide that total by the number of years you have until retirement. Then, that figure should be further divided by months. Once you get the end amount, this is the amount that should be placed into this savings account each month.
Money is Important
While money is certainly not the most important aspect of your world, it is critical to your survival. You should watch your credit report each year and carefully place the money that you earn into specialized accounts. The accounts outlined here are those that are part of a very basic plan. You may also set up savings for educational expenses, vacations, and even final arrangements – the choice is yours!
Money Management 101
Many do not realize it, but, by performing just a few simple steps, the biggest financial-based complications may be avoided. It is much easier for a financial situation to descend into the depths of darkness and result in utter chaos than it is to get on track and stay on track. The first – and, possibly the most important – step to money management is to start by simplifying how you approach the task of managing your finances. The following measures will help you succeed in this endeavor:
- First and foremost, start tracking your spending. It does not matter if you spend one cent or one thousand cents, document it. You should engage in this tracking endeavor for a minimum of 30 days. Remember, you MUST track every last penny!
- At the end of the 30 days, it is time to evaluate where all of your cash went. Once you figure this out on paper, it is time to determine the “wants” from the “needs” and decide where to cut back. You MUST commit to this.
- Now, it is time to make a budget. Initially, this budget will be for 30 days. At the end of that time period, you will likely need to or want to do a few readjustments.
- Once your budget is in place, make a calendar for all of those bills and expenses that you have. It is best to schedule each bill a week before it is actually due.
- Once 30 days has passed, reevaluate and readjust your budget. This time, though, make room for an emergency fund. This fund should – eventually – include at LEAST six months’ worth of income. It should ONLY be used for true emergencies. Examples include vehicle repairs, medical emergencies, plumbing problems, and other types of unexpected expenses. (No, this does not include replacing your cell phone to the latest and greatest product on the market…. Just had to put that out there….)
- Your budget should include a little spending cash. Use that cash ONLY for spending – do not tap into other income sources to splurge – you WILL throw off your budget and all of your hard work would have been in vain!
- Do not indulge in credit cards or other types of credit – such as loans. Yes, it will be tempting and yes, it will sound like a good deal – but, NO, it is NOT. If you can’t pay cash, you don’t need what you are trying to buy. So, in a nutshell – don’t even think about it!
- Focus on changing your behaviors and perceptions towards money. Money does not have to be hard, complicated, or challenging. You just need to know what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.