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5 Ways to Get in Control of Your Finances

5 Ways to Get in Control of Your Finances

It’s easy to lose track of your finances, especially if you’re a busy person or if you’re not quite sure what you’re doing. However, personal finance is a major factor is securing a comfortable life for yourself. It’s important that you understand where your money is going and how it’s being saved. With the proper know-how and techniques, you can save the most efficiently.

Money shouldn’t be a stressor for you. In fact, it can be quite interesting and a little fun to keep track of your income and expenses! Once you see how your money comes in and out, you’ll feel more reassured when spending your money. Here are five ways to get in control of your finances:

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Get Educated on Personal Finance

Personal finance is something that we should all know as adults, but sadly, we’re not always taught it in schools. Or if we are, we easily forget the minor deals that could save us a lot of money in the long run. If you feel that you’re unclear on managing money, whether it’s the basics or a specific aspect, you should brush up on your personal finance knowledge. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to go back to school. The good news is that these days, knowledge is free and readily available online. And with video tutorials, eBooks, and podcasts, knowledge is in the medium of your choice! Find some highly-rated tutorials online and get started.

Use Budgeting Software

Once you are more familiar with the ideas behind personal finance, you should put that knowledge in to practice. Nowadays, there are tons of different programs and apps to help you keep track of what you’re saving and spending. They all have different features, so do a little research before you dive in. Or, try using two alongside each other to see which you prefer. Budgeting is important because it keeps your goals in black-and-white, giving you less of a chance to slip back into bad habits. Even if you aren’t good with computers, you can go the old-fashioned route: a pencil and paper!

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Pay Down Your Debt

It seems everyone has an opinion on personal finance, and even the professionals are all going to have different ideas about how best to save your money. But most will agree that your first priority when getting in control of your finances should be to pay down any outstanding debt you might have. This is because debt accumulates interest, which is compounded, meaning that the longer you wait to pay off your debt, the faster it grows, and the harder it will be to pay off.

Choose a Bank and Credit Card That Work Best for You

While there aren’t many huge differences between banks, each bank will have slightly different features than the other. Perhaps one bank has more ATMs around the city you live in, or perhaps another has a good online banking system and app for your phone. Keep in mind, also, that different banks may offer different interest rates for your bank accounts. Choosing a credit card will offer the same kinds of decisions for you. Some credit cards offer cash back or frequent flyer miles in return for you using their card. Read up on on the different banks and credit cards to find out what best fits your interests.

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Be Frugal

Frugal, despite common belief, does not mean “poor.” It means spending your money as wisely as possible. Experts will tell you that you should always live below your means. How you choose to be frugal is up to you. Perhaps that means living in a home that has a cheaper rent or mortgage. Or perhaps you should aim to spend less on entertainment each month. If you have a budget and are keeping track of how you spend your money, you should be able to figure out where you can best cut your spending. Additionally, online coupons and vouchers can help you save on your monthly expenses.

Personal finance isn’t always easy, and there will be times when something doesn’t make sense. Don’t give up! The result will make all the trouble worth it. And if you follow these tips, you’ll have a solid foundation for getting back on your financial feet.

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Featured photo credit: 20 Best Personal Finance Books You Should Read Now via lifehack.org

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Published on November 8, 2018

How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

After a few months of hard work and dozens of phone calls later, you finally land a job opportunity.

But then, you’re asked about your salary requirements and your mind goes blank. So, you offer a lower salary believing this will increase your odds at getting hired.

Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach.

Your salary requirements can make or break your odds at getting hired. But only if you’re not prepared.

Ask for a salary too high with no room for negotiation and your potential employer will not be able to afford you. Aim too low and employers will perceive as you offering low value. The trick is to aim as high as possible while keeping both parties feel happy.

Of course, you can’t command a high price without bringing value.

The good news is that learning how to be a high-value employee is possible. You have to work on the right tasks to grow in the right areas. Here are a few tactics to negotiate your salary requirements with confidence.

1. Hack time to accomplish more than most

Do you want to get paid well for your hard work? Of course you do. I hate to break it to you, but so do most people.

With so much competition, this won’t be an easy task to achieve. That’s why you need to become a pro at time management.

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Do you know how much free time you have? Not the free time during your lunch break or after you’ve finished working at your day job. Rather, the free time when you’re looking at your phone or watching your favorite TV show.

Data from 2017 shows that Americans spend roughly 3 hours watching TV. This is time poorly spent if you’re not happy with your current lifestyle. Instead, focus on working on your goals whenever you have free time.

For example, if your commute to/from work is 1 hour, listen to an educational Podcast. If your lunch break is 30 minutes, read for 10 to 15 minutes. And if you have a busy life with only 30–60 minutes to spare after work, use this time to work on your personal goals.

Create a morning routine that will set you up for success every day. Start waking up 1 to 2 hours earlier to have more time to work on your most important tasks. Use tools like ATracker to break down which activities you’re spending the most time in.

It won’t be easy to analyze your entire day, so set boundaries. For example, if you have 4 hours of free time each day, spend at least 2 of these hours working on important tasks.

2. Set your own boundaries

Having a successful career isn’t always about the money. According to Gallup, about 70% of employees aren’t satisfied with their current jobs.[1]

Earning more money isn’t a bad thing, but choosing a higher salary over the traits that are the most important to you is. For example, if you enjoy spending time with your family, reject job offers requiring a lot of travel.

Here are some important traits to consider:

  • Work and life balance – The last thing you’d want is a job that forces you to work 60+ hours each week. Unless this is the type of environment you’d want. Understand how your potential employer emphasizes work/life balance.
  • Self-development opportunities – Having the option to grow within your company is important. Once you learn how to do your tasks well, you’ll start becoming less engaged. Choose a company that encourages employee growth.
  • Company culture – The stereotypical cubicle job where one feels miserable doesn’t have to be your fate. Not all companies are equal in culture. Take, for example, Google, who invests heavily in keeping their employees happy.[2]

These are some of the most important traits to look for in a company, but there are others. Make it your mission to rank which traits are important to you. This way you’ll stop applying to the wrong companies and stay focused on what matters to you more.

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3. Continuously invest in yourself

Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. Cliche I know, but true nonetheless.

You’ll grow as a person and gain confidence with the value you’ll be able to bring to others. Investing in yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can read books to expand your knowledge in different fields.

Don’t get stuck into the habit of reading without a purpose. Instead, choose books that will help you expand in a field you’re looking to grow. At the same time, don’t limit yourself to reading books in one subject–create a healthy balance.

Podcasts are also a great medium to learn new subjects from experts in different fields. The best part is they’re free and you can consume them on your commute to/from work.

Paid education makes sense if you have little to no debt. If you decide to go back to school, be sure to apply for scholarships and grants to have the least amount of debt. Regardless of which route you take to make it a habit to grow every day.

It won’t be easy, but this will work to your advantage. Most people won’t spend most of their free time investing in themselves. This will allow you to grow faster than most, and stand out from your competition.

4. Document the value you bring

Resumes are a common way companies filter employees through the hiring process. Here’s the big secret: It’s not the only way you can showcase your skills.

To request for a higher salary than most, you have to do what most are unwilling to do. Since you’re already investing in yourself, make it a habit to showcase your skills online.

A great way to do this is to create your own website. Pick your first and last name as your domain name. If this domain is already taken, get creative and choose one that makes sense.

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Here are some ideas:

  • joesmith.com
  • joeasmith.com
  • joesmithprojects.com

Nowadays, building a website is easy. Once you have your website setup, begin producing content. For example, if you a developer you can post the applications you’re building.

During your interviews, you’ll have an online reference to showcase your accomplishments. You can use your accomplishments to justify your salary requirements. Since most people don’t do this, you’ll have a higher chance of employers accepting your offer

5. Hide your salary requirements

Avoid giving you salary requirements early in the interview process.

But if you get asked early, deflect this question in a non-defensive manner. Explain to the employer that you’d like to understand your role better first. They’ll most likely agree with you; but if they don’t, give them a range.

The truth is great employers are more concerned about your skills and the value you bring to the company. They understand that a great employee is an investment, able to earn them more than their salary.

Remember that a job interview isn’t only for the employer, it’s also for you. If the employer is more interested in your salary requirements, this may not be a good sign. Use this question to gauge if the company you’re interviewing is worth working for.

6. Do just enough research

Research average salary compensation in your industry, then wing it.

Use tools like Glassdoor to research the average salary compensation for your industry. Then leverage LinkedIn’s company data that’s provided with its Pro membership. You can view a company’s employee growth and the total number of job openings.

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Use this information to make informed decisions when deciding on your salary requirements. But don’t limit yourself to the average salary range. Companies will usually pay you more for the value you have.

Big companies will often pay more than smaller ones.[3] Whatever your desired salary amount is, always ask for a higher amount. Employers will often reject your initial offer. In fact, offer a salary range that’ll give you and your employer enough room to negotiate.

7. Get compensated by your value

Asking for the salary you deserve is an art. On one end, you have to constantly invest in yourself to offer massive value. But this isn’t enough. You also have to become a great negotiator.

Imagine requesting a high salary and because you bring a lot of value, employers are willing to pay you this. Wouldn’t this be amazing?

Most settle for average because they’re not confident with what they have to offer. Most don’t invest in themselves because they’re not dedicated enough. But not you.

You know you deserve to get paid well, and you’re willing to put in the work. Yet, you won’t sacrifice your most important values over a higher salary.

The bottom line

You’ve got what it takes to succeed in your career. Invest in yourself, learn how to negotiate, and do research. The next time you’re asked about your salary requirements, you won’t fumble.

You’ll showcase your skills with confidence and get the salary you deserve. What’s holding you back now?

Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

Reference

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