Those that have plenty of wealth didn’t get to that point overnight, well unless they won the lottery or gained a large inheritance. Getting ahead with your finances takes patience and discipline, which is why most actually live paycheck to paycheck, without a household budget I might add, so if you feel like you’re falling behind you’re not alone. With a few tweaks to your personal finances habits and developing some money moves in the positive direction, you can get ahead, and hopefully stay ahead going forward.
Start Tracking Purchases
You may be in for a shock when you finally sit down with your last debit or credit card statement and go line by line for every dollar that went out last month. While sure most went to monthly bills, but beyond that, as you start to put every charge under the microscope, you can start to see which charges were necessary, which probably could have been avoided. If you share the finances with your significant other it’s important to get them involved as well, as you should not put the entire financial burden on your shoulders. That has been known to break up relationships and is a leading cause for divorce.
When it comes to having more money coming in than going out, it comes down to what your monthly expenses are. From lowering your mortgage interest rate, to avoiding going out to eat, to cutting the cable cord, all will add up to huge savings each month. Take your monthly food budget for instance. If you opt for going grocery shopping instead and trying to eat most of your meals at home, even brewing coffee instead of stopping every morning, you can save hundreds of dollars every month that can really be a major positive financial impact.
Build a Financial Cushion
You never know what life will throw at you so it’s always good to be prepared, whether it’s from a job-loss, to a major home repair that could cause you to put on a credit card and send into debt, it’s a good idea to put a few months’ worth of expenses into an account when you need it. This will take time to build up, but if you can cutback on some of your monthly expenses you’d be surprised how much you can put into this account every month to give yourself a nice financial cushion.
Don’t Forget About Retirement
While retirement may not be the first thing on your mind, that doesn’t mean that you can put off saving up. The earlier you can save, the longer it has to build up over time and the more you can rely on your nest egg to continue to enjoy life experiences even after you have retired. Check at work to see if you have an employer-matching contribution, as not taking advantage of the full match could be missing out on tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the account. Once you see the account start to build up you may forget about the impulse purchases and focus on the long-term financial success.