Advertising
Advertising

5 Small Decisions That Will Improve Your Financial Status

5 Small Decisions That Will Improve Your Financial Status

Whether you have a little or a lot of money, there are many things that anyone can do to help improve their financial status.

Improving your finances is not about making life altering decisions. You do not need to become the world’s most well-informed investor or to create a budget that is so strict that you live on nothing but potatoes. Healthy money management is all about those small steps that you take towards greater overall financial health.

The end of the year is the time that many people think about changing their financial position for the better. If you’re not ready for a big resolution, you can make just as much progress by making several small decisions that are aimed at improving your finances.

Advertising

1. Get Informed

One of the most important things that you can do to improve your financial standing is to be informed about finance. You do not need to become an accountant or find a financial guru. It is all about educating yourself in the places that matter most.

The process of becoming better informed about your finances has two parts. First, you need to understand your own finances. Having a clear picture about where you currently stand is essential for setting and achieving your financial goals. You need to know what you have, what you earn and what you owe. This basic knowledge will have a real impact on how you look at finance.

Second, you need to know more about the basics of finance. You need to have an understanding of the impact of good debt and bad debt. You also need to know about how interest rates can work with you and against you. Learning about the different options that you have for saving money is another good place to start.

Advertising

2. Set Real, Achievable Goals

If you’re not already setting goals, there is no time like right now to begin doing so. If you are setting goals, there is no time like right now to measure your progress so that you can improve. Financial goals are important when it comes to improving your finances. These goals give you something to work for. They also give you something to measure your success by.

Setting goals is all about setting achievable goals. To do this, you need to be specific in the goals that you set for yourself.

Let’s say that your goal is to save money or pay off personal loans. You need to know how much money you want to save. You also need to know how you want to save it. Do you want to set up a savings plan to save $500 a month? Or do you want to cut spending to save an extra $200 for extra expenses?

Advertising

These are two different types of saving and you would use different methods of achieving each goal. This is why it is so important to make your goals as detailed as possible Do not forget to keep your goals attainable. An unreachable goal sets you up for failure and often hurts not only your finances but your attitude about money.

3. Take Your Time

Taking your time is one of the most important decisions you can make about your finances. Rome was not built in a day and your retirement accounts will not be either. Choosing to think about your financial decisions is also a multi-faceted approach. First, you should make sure that you take time to think about your purchases before you buy them. This helps weed out impulse buys and helps you spend money in a health way. One great way to do this is to put the item in your shopping cart online and if you are still thinking about it the next day, you may actually need the item.

Secondly, you should take your time creating a financial plan. When striving to reach a goal, give yourself enough time to reach it. Trying to save too much, too fast is hard to do. Have patience with yourself and your bank account.

Advertising

4. Eliminate Things You Don’t Use

Everyone has at least one bill that they pay every month for a service that they do not use. Whether yours is a landline, a gym membership or a subscription service that you have not figured out how to cancel, take some time to declutter your finances. Eliminating even one thing from your monthly selection of bills can make a big difference on your monthly finances. More importantly, it teaches you how to let go of spending habits that are not serving you.

5. Set Up an Automatic Savings Plan

Saving is important yet it is not at the forefront of everyone’s mind. You can make a decision to automate your saving plan to help make sure that it happens. Even if you only transfer $20 a month into a savings account, every little bit helps you build up a little nest egg. It also makes you more comfortable with saving. It’s a win-win decision.

Taking these small steps towards prosperity can take your further than you’d ever imagine. Remember that you have your whole life to manage your finances, you do not need to accomplish everything today.

Featured photo credit: GotCredit via flickr.com

More by this author

8 Signs You Have A Strong Personality That Might Scare Some People How to Achieve Quick Success at Work Even If You’re Lacking in Clear Direction You’ll No Longer Be Fooled by Skillful Liars If You Know This Concept How I Kill Boredom at Work to Regain My Productivity This Is Why Classical Music Lovers Are Smarter

Trending in Money

1 13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget 2 How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them 3 How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success 4 17 Practical Money Skills that Will Set You Up for Early Retirement 5 25 Things to Sell to Make Extra Money Easily

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on October 8, 2018

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

1. Choose a major category each month to attack

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

2. Only make major purchases in the morning

If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

Advertising

Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

4. Read one-star reviews for products

Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

Advertising

7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

9. Budget using cash and envelopes

As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

Advertising

The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

10. Join a like-minded group

Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

11. Reward Yourself

When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

Advertising

Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

12. Take the Buddhist approach

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

Conclusion

Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Read Next