It’s no secret that money matters. In fact, it’s probably one of the most important things you can learn about in life—and it’s never too late to start.
What do we mean by “money matters”? Well, maybe you’re not quite sure how much you owe on your credit card or what kind of investment strategy is right for you. Or maybe you’ve started saving for retirement but are unsure where to go next. Maybe even you don’t know how much money should be in your emergency fund or whether your financial goals are even realistic!
No matter where you are on the spectrum, knowing how to manage your money is an essential skill that will help shape the rest of your life. It can help with college tuition and housing down payments; it can help with retirement savings and emergency funds; it can even help with big purchases like cars or weddings.
Personal Finance Tips for Making Money Move in Your Favor
Add up your net worth.
This is the most important tip on this list, because it’s the one that will help you understand where you are right now. By adding up everything you own and comparing it to everything you owe, you can see how much of a financial cushion you’ve built for yourself. If your net worth is positive (meaning your assets outweigh your liabilities), great! You’re doing better than most people your age. If not, that’s okay—you have time to build up a cushion before retirement.
If you’re really struggling financially, make sure you minimize your expenditures
Get crystal clear about all your debt
If you’re like most people, you probably have a lot of debt. Maybe it’s student loans, or maybe it’s credit card debt. Or maybe it’s both!
Whatever kind of debt it is, it might seem like an insurmountable task to pay off all that money. But the first step to making any progress on paying off your debt is knowing how much you owe, and what kind of terms you have for repayment.
Don’t know where to start? Try this simple exercise: get out a sheet of paper, and make a list of every single loan or credit account that exists in your name. Don’t forget any! If you have loans from family members or friends who are charging interest rates higher than market value—which is pretty common if they helped you out during a time of need—make sure to include those as well.
You may be surprised at how much debt you actually have if you take the time to do this exercise honestly and thoroughly!
Look at what you spend
Take a look at your spending and see what you can cut back on, or where you might be able to save money. If there’s an expense that is not absolutely necessary for your survival, it might be time to cut it out of your budget.
Look at all of your bills and expenses and see where you can cut back or eliminate them altogether. You may not have control over certain things like rent or utilities, but if there are any other areas where you’re spending money that doesn’t add value to your life, it’s time to start cutting back on those expenses as well.
Get more from the money you have going out
It’s easier to spend money than it is to earn it. This can lead to a lot of short-term thinking, and sometimes that’s okay, but it can also be hard on your finances when you’re trying to save for something long-term.
If you’re struggling with spending too much, consider cutting back on your dining out budget by making one less restaurant meal per week and using that money to invest or save for a large purchase (like a new car). This way, you’ll still be able to enjoy yourself while making sure you’re putting away some cash in case an unexpected expense comes up.
For example, if you’re spending a lot on rent or mortgage payments, consider moving to a less expensive apartment or home. Then, use the savings from your new rent or mortgage payment to pay off debt faster.
Another way to get more from your money going out is by finding ways to save on everyday expenses. For example, consider cutting back on eating out and getting groceries delivered instead. Or, if you’re addicted to Starbucks (and who isn’t?), try making your own coffee at home instead of buying it from them every day. The savings could really add up over time!
Talk about money with your partner
If you and your partner are serious about creating a healthy personal finance relationship, then you need to talk about money—a lot. It’s important to create a shared vision of what you want your financial future to look like and how you’re going to get there. That can feel scary if you’ve never talked about money before, but it doesn’t have to be! Take small steps and try talking about budgeting or investments together. Then you can build from there as your relationship grows stronger.
You don’t have to be a financial expert to talk about money with your partner. There are many ways to bring up the subject, including casually mentioning an article you read or a show you saw that was related to money—and then asking your partner what they think of it. You can also ask them if they’ve read anything lately that they thought was interesting or helpful. Or, if you’re feeling bolder, try asking them what their biggest financial concern is right now. And if you still feel like you might be overstepping your bounds? Just say something like “I know this isn’t really my business, but I’m just curious—what do you think about X?”
Look for ways to make more money, no matter how small
We’ve all been there: you’re looking at your bank account and suddenly realize that you don’t have enough money to cover your bills. What do you do? How can you make more money, right now? The answer is simple: look for ways to make more money, no matter how small.
You might not be able to find a new job right away, but there are other ways to increase your income. Here are some ideas:
1. Do odd jobs on the weekends—cleaning houses, babysitting, mowing lawns. You can even hire yourself out as a personal assistant!
2. Sell items on SokoPlus or Jiji that you no longer need or use—yoga mats, DVDs and CDs, old computers… anything goes!Or become a part time taxi driver with Uber, Wasili or Bolt. Just make sure it’s in good condition and ship it safely so no one gets hurt when it arrives at its destination.
3. Become an expert at something—maybe it’s cooking delicious meals using only five ingredients or writing really long emails that people actually read because they’re so interesting (and funny). If people want what you have to offer, there will always be an opportunity for making money off of their desires for what you offer—whether it
Set a budget and get on board with it
Budgeting can be intimidating at first, but once you get into the swing of things, it becomes a way of life. Set up your budget to reflect your spending habits, and then make sure that every month you have enough money in your accounts to cover all of your expenses. If you don’t, then adjust accordingly until it balances out. Once you’re able to do this consistently without having to worry about whether or not you’ll have enough money each month, then you’ll know that your budget is working!
Make money goals, and save
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget about the bigger picture. But it’s important to remember that you can’t take care of your future if you don’t have a plan for it.
To start, make a list of all the things that matter most to you—and then write down how much money each one will cost. That way, when things get stressful and you’re tempted to cut back on savings, you’ll see how much money those things are going to cost, and realize that cutting back on saving isn’t an option.
Once you’ve got a list of goals and their associated costs, start putting away some money every month toward those goals. This might mean cutting out some other expenses so that they can be replaced with savings—but even if it doesn’t feel like it right away, this is a smart move!
In conclusion, I hope that these tips will help you to move in the direction you want. Money can be a powerful tool for taking control of your life and making it better. You just need to learn how to use it.
The most important thing is to focus on what you want, then let go of any guilt or shame that might be holding you back. Make a plan, set goals, and then do what it takes to make those goals happen!
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