What does your financial picture look like? If you don’t like what you see, or worse, if you haven’t a clue, make an effort to get things on track. With a little organizing and smart planning, you can put your finances in order and set yourself up for a more comfortable future.
Make a budget. If you don’t have one already, your very first step toward getting your finances on track is to establish a budget. Your budget is your primary tool for ensuring you are making ends meet each month and saving for your future. Start by tallying your income, and then list all of your monthly expenses.
Break those expenses into two categories: fixed and variable. Your fixed expenses are essentially concrete amounts, including such items as your mortgage, insurance, utilities and car payment. Your variable expenses are the fluid ones and are adjustable, such as groceries, clothing, and entertainment. Include your savings in your fixed expenses. In fact, Mint suggests that should pay that “bill” first every month.
In the end, your income and expenses should equal out. If you are spending more than you make, you need to adjust your variable expenses. If you have money left over at the end of your computations, add that to your savings.
As Dave Ramsey says, “Give every dollar a name!”
Spending adjustments. If this is the first time you’ve made a budget, you may be staring at a scary picture. Thankfully, there are several ways to cut monthly expenditures. Put on your game face and stretch your dollars and keep in mind that your adjustments don’t need to be forever. If you are paying off debts, as those debts shrink you’ll free up funds and will gradually become more comfortable. You can do things like taking public transportation or carpool to save gas money and wear and tear on cars. If you are extremely strapped, and you’re driving a relatively new vehicle, consider selling it. You can save on insurance and drop your car payment with an older, less expensive option, or really stretch your money by doing without for a while.
Entertainment is another area that can often be adjusted in dramatic ways without feeling the pinch too much. Cut professional sporting events and concerts, or even cut your cable bill temporarily. You can borrow movies from your public library or stream videos, for now, then add things back when it’s a financially better decision.
You can also save by shopping at discount grocery stores, using coupons and buying in bulk. Another suggestion is giving up a vice, like daily trips to gourmet coffee shops. Or, if you normally eat out for lunch, consider brown-bagging it.
Evaluate insurance. Once your budget is realistic, you should look carefully at plans for your financial future. Your insurance and retirement plans directly affect how you live now and later, and are how you protect yourself from struggling should your situation change. Purchasing life insurance policies benefits your whole family, offering comfort and provision should something happen to you. You also have the option to sell it down the road to free up cash in retirement. And be sure to plan ahead for long-term care. Most of us require long-term care at some point in life and buying long-term care insurance when young and in good health means lower premiums. Costs increase with aging if health conditions arise.
Retirement planning. You should include retirement savings in your plans. CNN notes that if you begin in your 20’s, you should set aside 10 percent to 15 percent of your income toward retirement. If you are a late bloomer, use a retirement calculator to figure out your standing and decide how to adjust your lifestyle.
Some experts suggest you start investing in a 401(k) if you don’t already have one, which is a good option if your workplace offers to match.
Fiscally fit. With some organization and smart decisions, you can get your finances in order. Set a budget, adjust your spending and plan for your future.
These simple adjustments to your lifestyle will put your finances on track.
Transnational Financial Life Coach
Columbus Financial & Success Coach, and Reiki Master working in the area of Central Ohio and Miami Valley Ohio. After staring this in 2011, not being spiritual. I have decided to bring the healing power of energy work with financial and success coaching. I also use the 3 pillars of success model that combines the physical, mental, and spiritual as a very powerful too healing and to aid one in became successful in life
If you have any financial issues we can help! Call or visit our web page today.
Columbus Financial & Success Coach
Transformation Financial Life Coach
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