Life can be extremely stressful. I know, that’s probably the biggest understatement of all time. We all experience stress in several areas such as work, relationships, family, health, and even just over money in general. Believe it or not, your finances are the one thing that you can semi-control. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but you can at least plan for the worst when it comes to your income. I started becoming much more financially conscious in my early college days, and now I have finally seen how it has benefited me in hard times.Pay Yourself First
This is probably the most important tip I can give you. I mean a couple different things when I say, “pay yourself first”. First of all, make sure you try to pay all of your bills on time. Not only will it get you on the right track, but you’ll have to pay less in fees in the long run and won’t run the risk of losing your amenities/property. Secondly, make sure you pay off your credit! Credit can follow you around for the rest of your life. At this point in my life, I don’t need to have a bunch of credit cards. I personally limit my amount of credit, by having a couple cards and extremely low maximum spend limits. I already trust myself when it comes to credit, but this ensures that I stay disciplined. Third of all, SAVE! It’s not if the rainy day will come, it’s when. Not all of us have high enough incomes to invest with or stash money in our 401Ks, but try to save at least 5% of each paycheck. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but that money can go towards your retirement or even help you out for a month when you’re in between jobs.
Enroll in Auto-Pay For Reoccurring Bills
I lose track of the date all of the time, so that’s why I thank God we live in the digital world of auto-pay. I practically pay all my bills with auto-pay, just so I don’t lapse on a payment. Some companies even give you a small discount for enlisting in auto-pay! The only downside is that you have to make sure you have enough money in your account for them to take out. This means not only do you have to be disciplined when it comes to unnecessary spending, but you also have to get in the habit of checking your bank account activity. I know it sounds like a pain, but trust me it helps you out so much in the long run. Another upside to keeping a close eye on your account, is that it’s much easier to catch any fraudulent activity early on.
Try to Save Where You Can
Saving doesn’t just refer to putting money away in your savings account. I’m talking now about saving on your bills, by either seeking out cheaper alternatives or by cutting out unnecessary things. I know this can be really hard, but maybe paint your own nails and save money on getting weekly manicures, or maybe go to the $10 gym instead of the $200 Pilates class. There are so many ways to cut back if you really think about it. If something means a lot to you, then try to not cut that out. It’s okay to splurge here and there, but you need to do it in moderation, and be financially savvy in other areas.
Try to Arrange Your Bills to be Due at Different Times of the Month
I cannot begin to stress just how much easier this can make your life! There is nothing worse than the feeling of constant panic that you don’t have enough money to cover both your car insurance and your rent in the same week. Yes, you can make that constant effort to maintain money from both your last and current paycheck in order to prevent defaulting on a scheduled payment, but it’s a lot more relaxing to know that you have your larger payments scheduled during different times of the month. I know this isn’t always possible, but try to remember these things when you start payments with a new company.
Overestimate Your Monthly Expenses When Budgeting
When it comes to budgeting, you should OVERESTIMATE your expenses rather than underestimating them. It’s always best to have left-over money at the end of each month rather than not enough money. Emergencies happen! You could get a flat tire, a pipe could break in your apartment, or any other horrible thing that you can imagine. Trust me, you’ll want enough money to cover those things instead of having to kick yourself for buying that $500 designer purse that you just HAD to have.
Being fiscally conscious comes more natural to some of us than others, but we can all obtain good financial habits by simply trying to and wanting to. The key is to start off smart and not wait until you’re in debt up to your eyeballs. I hope these tips helped and I’ll see you next week!
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Question of the Week:
What is the best financial advice you’ve ever received?