Most of us want to take control of our finances, but actually taking action to do so is something that eludes many.
Life gets in the way. Other stuff comes up, it gets pushed back, it gets put off.
Regardless of your financial situation, there are always ways you can improve it and it just comes down to executing a few easily actionable tasks.
The key is to do it incrementally, in bite-sized chunks. Like trying to get fit, losing weight or preparing for an exam, you can’t do it all in one go.
It’s about the accumulation of marginal gains.
In other words, you are the sum of everything you do over time. If you try to change everything overnight, it won’t be a habit and although you may see some short-term success, in the long-term you will fail.
These 7 action points below are all highly do-able, regardless of your income and present financial circumstances and will help you to see improvements in your finances straight away.
Go give ‘em a shot!
1. Set goals
They say that a dream written down with a date is a goal.
And a goal broken down in to steps becomes a plan.
And a plan backed by action becomes reality.
So if you want to make your financial dreams a reality, then start by writing them down!
Start by putting your financial goals out there – on paper or a Word document or whatever note-taking app you use on your phone. It doesn’t matter – it just needs to be somewhere you can see it and read back to yourself.
I cannot emphasise enough the power of putting your goals in writing.
It is one step further than saying it and two steps further on from just thinking it. And success is all about taking the small steps on what can be a very long road.
The next thing to do is to make an appraisal of your current financial situation.
If you know where you are now and you know where you want to be in the future, it’s a lot easier to put together a plan to get there.
2. Create A Budget and Stick To It
I know, I know – people HATE the thought of budgeting. But the fact is, to manage your finances effectively, you need to manage your household income and expenses like a business. Track your expenses, allocate income to expenditure and don’t ‘bankrupt your business’.
If you don’t do it already, you should start today. If you don’t know where to start, check out these budgeting apps and spreadsheets you can use.
Related ~ How To Create A Budget That Works
3. Refinance your debt
Credit is relatively simple to obtain these days and it can be very easy for people to fall into a downward spiral of consumer debt.
Firstly, get a clear picture of exactly how much you owe and how much you are paying off each month. Don’t hide from it. Write it down on paper, put it into the spreadsheet or the App and own and accept what you are dealing with.
Next, look at the APR for each card you use. Find the one or two with the lowest and transfer the balances from the other cards. Cut up those other cards! You don’t need anymore than two credit cards.
Ideally, just one.
4. Reduce your expenses by 2%
You now have a financial tracker, so the next step is to see where you can reduce expenses. Try to change your spending to reduce your monthly expenditure by a minimum of 2% – more if you can.
5. Increase you debt payments by 2%
Right, that last exercise has freed up 2% or more, so now you need to use that to increase your credit card debt payments.
6. Side hustles / small tasks
There are links to posts about side hustles EVERYWHERE on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Are you sick of them yet?
In the old days, we used to call it a ‘second job’, but it seems that Millennials prefer the sexier, edgier side hustle label.
Either way, it’s all about earning extra cash on top of your regular day job.
And there are whole load of ways to do that, ranging from the traditional kind of manual labour involving mowing lawns and car washing, through to all of the online stuff you can do from home.
If you don’t mind trading in a bit of your leisure time, a side hustle could improve your financial situation pretty quickly – just make sure you spend the extra earnings the right way!
7. Cancel unused subscriptions
Subscriptions to various online and cable services can all add up. Often we have subscriptions to services that we rarely use, but have forgotten about. Cancel any you no longer need and use the money elsewhere in your budget.
Try these 7 tips and see how you go. Don’t forget to subscribe below to receive our free Monthly Financial Planning Tracker spreadsheet and feel free to leave any questions in the comments section below.