Many people overestimate their financial stability. Even if you have enough money in the bank and take home a consistent paycheck, you still need to make a conscious and consistent effort to manage your money effectively.
If you want more financial freedom and to take complete control of your finances, follow these 5 guidelines.
Create a Budget
A true budget is much more than a dollar amount you don’t exceed each month. Have you listed and added up your expenses lately? If you haven’t, there’s a good chance you’re spending more than you think. Keep close track of where your money is going so you can adjust accordingly. You should never be unsure of what you can and can’t afford.
Pay Down Debt
The interest you pay on debt is money you’re literally giving away. If you have a large balance on a credit card, limit your spending on that card until you pay it down. If you’re paying off student loans, try to pay more than the minimum so you actually see your total go down and you’re not just paying the interest each month.
Build Your Savings
It can be downright painful to take even a small chunk out of your paycheck for savings, but if you can force yourself to do it the first few times, you’ll be happy with the results when you start to see your savings account grow. Pick a realistic percentage of each paycheck to deposit into your savings account and hold yourself to the task. If you want your savings to grow faster, look into a savings account with higher interest. The bank may require that you keep a large balance in it at all time, but it’s worth it for the interest your money will accrue.
Resist Impulse Purchases on Payday
Payday is a wonderful thing, and there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself in order to unwind after a long week. However, if you are thinking of purchasing an item you don’t necessarily need, it’s best to walk away from it and see if it’s still on your mind a day or two later. If it is and you can afford it, then go for it. But you might find that you’d rather save the money.
Make the Most of Employee Benefits
Employee benefits are the company’s way of thanking you for your hard work and supporting your overall well-being. Take them up on free gym memberships or parking passes instead of wasting your own money on these things. If your company has a 401k matching program, definitely enroll. Pick a dollar amount to take out of your paycheck that will go into the account each pay period. Choose a number that you’re comfortable with but try to challenge yourself to put in more than you think you can. Your company will now match that number and you can watch your 401k blossom!
Acquiring financial freedom and being debt-free is one of the best feelings in the world.