воскресенье, 6 ноября 2016 г.

7 Step Plan to Take Control of Your Money Today

7 Step Plan to Take Control of Your Money Today

7 Step Plan to Take Control of Your Money Today

I think not only 1) having a plan for your goals and money but also 2) have contingency plans for your money. Having an emergency fund for major emergencies (like a layoff) and a rainy day fund for something like a car breakdown is something you need to play for as well.

You make such a great point about planning out your monetary goals. It’s hard to make progress on your financial goals if you don’t know what they are. I know that for us, the goals have been slowly evolving over time and changing as our life situation changes. But I agree, at every stage it’s important to have a plan for your money- otherwise it’s far too easy to wind up wondering what happened to it all!

I would say move #7 up to #1. The prime example of that is the starbucks argument where you spend blah blah on coffee and it’s a boring argument we’ve all heard before. But the reality is that we are all just paying for convenience. Going out to dinner, having someone else make our coffee, driving instead of public transportation.

Time is money, and convenience gives us more time… at a price. Giving up some of the conveniences of life will really make a huge difference in your finances.

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Boy do I hear you there! I think far too many folks probably waste a lot of money on conveniences like lunches out and coffees, as you mentioned. It really takes some thought and reflection on your spending habits versus your values to help turn this around.

I’ve done most of these, except for the employer-sponsored retirement program. I’m self-employed.

If you’re on the prowl for coupons, go through Swagbucks or Inbox Dollars to coupons.com. You’ll get 10 cents (or Swagbucks) for each coupon you use.

Also, you can find great coupons on actual cash back sites (which you should always be using) or on coupon sites like RetailMeNot, Coupon Cabin, etc.

Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…Frugal tip: Get naked!

Oooh, good suggestions. I’ve used the coupons function of the Swagbucks site too- always nice to score rewards at the same time you are saving money! Double bonus!! I agree, using cash back sites is a great way to go when doing online shopping.

Great tips! Budgeting was the best thing we ever did for ourselves.

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Ugh I have not been feeling in control lately! Feels like we’re getting nowhere with paying down the CC balance built up while T was unemployed. I have set up a spreadsheet to track progress, and vowing to log into internet banking every day – small things that will make me feel more in control again.

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Good luck! It sounds like you’re on the right track, and feeling like you’re getting back in control is a great first step! My sister and her hubby recently got fed up with their credit card bills and went to a strict cash-only habit. Now at least they are firmly in control of the fact that there is no more debt being added to the pile! And the balances are decreasing, surely but slowly.

Recently we’ve been talking about taking control of our money around here at Casa Frugal. This is something that has been especially near the forefront of my mind in the last few weeks since Mr. CMF had to turn down a job that he really wanted, all because of our debt. We just couldn’t take the job because it involved a decrease in salary. Even though it was in a part of the country that we really want to move to, we just had to say no.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links.

Although this particular scenario may not be something that some of you can relate to, the basic premise is the same for all of us. You’ve worked hard to earn your money, and you want to make sure that you use it in such a way that is consistent with your own personal values.

Every plan for saving money needs to start somewhere. In the past I’ve been the person who is overwhelmed by debt (heck, I still am), and I’ve felt that panicky feeling that rises up inside of you when you realize that debt and/or financial constraints are running, and in some cases ruining, your life. If this is you, then today’s post is right up your alley.

Here are some tips that should help you throughout the year, but most importantly, can help you starting TODAY.

7 Step Plan to Take Control of Your Money Today

1. Create a monthly budget

It’s said that you can’t fix the problems you don’t know about, and this is nowhere truer than in your monthly budget, or lack thereof. If you are not tracking your spending, you need to start TODAY. Determine your necessary expenses (aka “needs”) versus your unnecessary expenses (“wants”). Are the numbers corresponding to your values? If you really value something like getting out of debt but your spending says you value buying new shoes, perhaps there’s an opportunity for change.

2. Reduce your debt

This one is a BIGGIE, and, as I’ve mentioned, it’s an especially important one for us right now. Charges, interests, and penalties will eat holes in your savings and undermine your ability to achieve other financial goals. In short, debt will most likely do nothing positive for your life, no matter how low the interest rate. Thus, it is better to reduce your debt and live a debt-free life! It’s so much easier said than done… but every extra dollar sent toward debt will bring you closer to that awesome goal of debt freedom. Also- stop taking on new debt. When you’re in a hole, the best thing you can do for yourself is to stop digging.

3. Start an emergency fund, if you don’t already have one

This one is another biggie because your emergency fund is something that can help you stay out of debt! Many financial advisors, including Dave Ramsey, advise saving $1000 in an emergency fund to start. This is a great goal to shoot for if you are just starting out, and if often enough to cover something like a car breakdown, etc. Once you get farther along in building your financial house, you will probably want to have more in there- say, enough to cover 3-6 months worth of expenses at least. I hope it never happens to you, but the reality is that job layoffs and other unforeseen situations happen. You’ll sleep much better at night knowing that you’ve got a cushion of cash to fall on if something happens.

4. Contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement plan

At least up to the point of the match! Failing to do this is leaving money on the table. Think of it this way: if your boss called you into his/her office and asked if you would like some free money, would you say no? Of course not! But that’s essentially what you are doing when you do not take advantage of any employer-sponsored matching program. If you are already contributing to the point of the match, strong work! Now your next goal will be to work toward funding a Roth IRA as well, or increasing your 401(k) contribution beyond the minimum required for the match. My favorite FREE online resource to help you manage/budget your money and plan for retirement is Personal Capital (review here).

5. Save money wherever possible

This is something that we’ve talked about a lot here at Color Me Frugal. One of my favorite ways to save money is through the use of coupons (well, my FAVORITE way to save money is to not spend it in the first place, but this is for if you’re already planning to spend it on something specific). The internet has revolutionized the practice of couponing over the last couple decades, since coupons for almost anything can now be found online. For example, if you are planning to purchase something from Sears.com, look for coupons for Sears.com before you buy. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been just about to check out online and then at the last minute have decided to search the net to see if I can find a coupon for the site. Often I can!

6. Up your side hustle game

Of course you are working hard to earn money. But if you are really motivated to achieve a certain financial goal, such as getting out of debt, saving for a down payment on a home, etc., you can probably find ways to make money in your spare time. Pick up a part-time job, start walking neighborhood dogs, start a blog, write a book, whatever strikes your fancy. It’s your side hustle- make it something you like and/or already have skills in!

Some people tell me they have no skills- which I don’t believe- but it does not take many skills to do something easy like taking surveys for cash (if you want to do this, I’d recommend checking out either VIP Voice or Harris Poll Online – those are a couple survey companies CMF readers have used and liked). Or better yet, find ways to make money from things are you already doing, like using Swagbucks as your default internet search engine, or using a shopping portal like Ebates when you shop online. You’re doing these things anyway, you may as well earn rewards while at it, right?

7. Change your money-sucking habits

One of the biggest changes that we had to make when we began working on our finances was cleaning up our eating habits. We were in the habit of eating out way too often, which we usually justified by telling ourselves that we were both working really hard and we deserved a night off from cooking. That’s fine once in a while, but we were doing it more often than once in a while!

Once we began meal planning and cooking at home, we began saving money AND felt better because we were eating better. If your brain hurts just thinking about meal planning, look into something like $5 Meal Plan, and spend a few bucks a month to let someone do it for you. Another one of our money-sucking habits was cable TV, and we are saving over $1000 per year without it!

Have you done any or all of these things? What do you think has been most helpful in working toward achieving your financial goals?

CMF’s favorite FREE money management tools!

Some of the best online tools out there for money management are at Personal Capital, and the awesome news is that they are all FREE! Cash flow tracker, 401(k) fee analyzer, investment checkup, net worth monitoring, and many more! I’m a net worth junkie, so the net worth monitor is my favorite. Check out my Personal Capital review here, or click here to check out all the awesome tools for yourself!

Photo Credit: Money in Hand, by Taxcredits.net, creative commons (license), 11/4/15, with changes

Original article and pictures take http://colormefrugal.com/7-step-plan-to-take-control-of-your-money-today/ site

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