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5 Tips on How to Manage Your Finances More Efficiently

5 Tips on How to Manage Your Finances More Efficiently

In my school, I had to know how DNA is replicated and why the War of the Roses was called that – but finances, nope! Mathematics and arithmetics are fun (not really), but they did not provide me with what I really need today – and that is how to have enough money to survive from one paycheck to the next.

In this article, I presume that you have a job, or at least some sort of income, and I have a good guess that you are not good at managing your finances; well, guess what? Nobody is. Unless you are Donald Trump and you are born rich.

The rest of us, we have to make do with what we’ve got, and it usually isn’t enough. Mortgages, credits, student debt and other nasty words such as these can creep up on you when you least expect it and ruin your chances of visiting Italy this year, or the next for that matter.

Well, unless you’ve developed a great singing talent while reading my introductory paragraph, and you’re planning on making big bucks while singing country songs, prepare to read our 5 tips for making yourself more financially stable.

1. Know Your Expenses

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    This is the first, and probably the most important item here. You need to know exactly how much you and your family are bringing in, and how much is going out. This might seem like a true hassle and a lot of paperwork, but you need to know the current state of affairs.

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    It might seem obvious, but you should spend less than you earn, as that would be the perfect case scenario; then, you’re done and you can stop reading right now. If you find yourself on the negative side, no matter how impossible that might sound, a lot of people actually live like that, yes, it is somewhat stressful, but it is possible.

    Once you get to know where your money is going, and what kind of life it is living, it is also important to know terms like investing, taxes, insurance and retirement plans. Once again, nobody mentioned those things while you were in college, and somehow, they are trying to actively ruin your life. Remember: Google is your friend – if you don’t know something, google it immediately; only knowledge can help you with your financial troubles. Or rich uncles – they are also a nice solution.

    When creating a list of expenses, try to find something that looks like something you can live without. Maybe you don’t really need that gym membership, since the last time you visited, Christina Aguilera was still popular. On the other hand, maybe you can give a few dollars more on a bank account that will make all ATM withdrawals free – you never know where some hidden expenses might be unless you play this game of hide and seek.

    The most important thing here – be honest with yourself; the only person you could be lying to here is yourself (and people are quite good at that; I know I am – I’m looking at you, diet). The more honest and reasonable you are, the more rational decisions you will be able to make. Ask a friend to help you, your mother or father, unless they plan on nagging about how fiscally irresponsible you are.

    2. Learn What to Rent, and What to Buy

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      Many people do not agree about whether it is better to buy stuff or simply rent it – in the long run, that is. For example, if you are planning on renting a home, where you plan on living with your family, it is better to think about buying it permanently, via bank credit. Renting may sound like a good solution for now, but after 10 years (and trust me, time passes by quickly) you might regret only renting, when you could have paid off 70% of your home by that time.

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      On the other hand, renting a DVD might be a much better solution than buying it. I know, nobody buys DVDs anymore, but you get my point. Do not go in blindly and buy everything you need; there is probably a service that can provide you with the same result, for less money. If you’re having money issues, it’s a better idea to join the local library than buy every book you want.

      If you plan on using something for a long time, then it is better to buy – it is called cost analysis, and it sounds difficult, because it is. It involves not only money, but whether you actually need that item, and how much money that item will cost you in the future. Even though I mentioned that you should take a bank loan and buy a home, it is not a piece of advice I give out lightly.

      You should be 110% sure that you can survive such an adventure, and then decide. Think about your future mortgage and when you should start paying it off. Maintain a high credit score, which means that you cannot use your credit card like Monopoly money; only buy what you can actually afford.

      3. Play the Responsible Game – Invest

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        Now, this is something everyone needs professional help with. Finances are all around us, and they are way more complicated than we’ve ever imagined. Investing may sound like magic from a Harry Potter book and, while it might actually be quite similar, it has real-life consequences, and you should be on the winning side. The more you know about the financial instruments at your disposal, the better choices you’ll be able to make, and you’ll know when to back away.

        Investing into your 401(k) plan is also an investment, even though many people don’t consider it that way. Whenever you get your paycheck, a small portion is set aside, and after years, especially when you’re older and unable to work, you’ll have money on the side, or in case of an emergency.

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        If, on the other hand, you’re interested in stocks, there are many options that we cannot cover in an entire article itself. That is why it is better to find someone who does that sort of thing professionally, but even then be mindful of what you’re doing.

        Another type of investing can be insurance. There are many kinds of insurances. You can insure almost anything (it’s even said that Jennifer Lopez insured her behind, so there’s that fun fact). You never know when you might need a large sum of money for something unexpected. Hey, nobody likes thinking about this kind of stuff, but it is a part of life.

        Life insurance might help your family if someone unexpectedly dies, and health insurance will help you with doctors’ bills. Home insurance will help you in case of break-ins, natural disasters and what-not. Like I said, it is all dark stuff, but dark stuff happens.

        4. Always Have a Savings Account

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          Once you’ve surveyed your finances, and found some money you are willing to set aside, then it is a good idea to start a savings account.

          Choose any bank, just don’t try to hide your money under your bed. Not only will a bank give you a small interest (in this case, you are lending your money to a bank, and they are paying interest to you – and isn’t that a nice turn of event?), but it will keep your money safe and sound, and always at your disposal. Even a small monthly amount can accrue to a lot of money over a few years, and that can easily become your kid’s college or emergency fund.

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          When creating a savings account, you should always have at least 3 months’ worth of money – so that in case you suddenly lose your job, you have some time to find another without worrying about survival. Another great piece of advice here is to create a special savings account that is not connected to any credit card. This is to prevent yourself from spending that money when you do not really need it. You should not even have easy access to it. It might sound counterintuitive, but it will help you save some money.

          5. Find Additional Income

          Another great piece of advice that might seem too obvious is that you should find another job. There are many agencies that will give you an opportunity to work online as a tutor of almost anything you are good at. Do you know a bit of German or French? Why not use those skills and earn some money in the process. The Eastern markets are full of people who are more than eager to learn Western languages, so it is even possible to be an English teacher, even though you are not fully qualified.

          If you need more radical changes, you can sell off the stuff you don’t use, and make some money that way. Make a yard sale, or even better – put all the things you haven’t used in the last year on eBay, especially things like clothes and electronic appliances.

          Mind you, this won’t solve your finances, but it might help in the short run, especially if you are struggling to get your hands on some quick cash. An additional job will help you in the longer run, but it will probably ruin your personal life, but who needs that anyway.

          All joking aside, finances are no laughing matter. Money can ruin your life or make it great, so it is extremely important to always take care of it. Spend it wisely, invest it properly, and always have a small backup.

          If you are in dire need of some help, either find an additional job or ask a friend for a quick loan. Refrain from banks, but if you cannot avoid them, use their services cautiously, and always bring someone with more experience to the bank; they can help you understand the fine print and make a better decision. Good luck!

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          Featured photo credit: http://getrefe.tumblr.com/ via 66.media.tumblr.com

          More by this author

          Vladimir Zivanovic

          CMO at MyCity-Web

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          Last Updated on April 19, 2021

          40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

          40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

          Ever had those moments where you really wanted to eat something delicious and healthy but didn’t have the financials means to do so? Whether you’re a student or parent, this compilation of 40 great, healthy, and inexpensive recipes will make every night special and help you get fit! No more meals where you have to force the food down! It’s time to make that budget your best friend and turn it into great recipes. Enjoy!

          1. Fish Tacos in Crunchy Shells ($3.56 per serving)

          Is there a better way to end the day than a Fish Taco dinner filled with protein and nutrients and is easy on the wallet? This recipe calls for a boys’ or girls’ night in front of a good movie or game.

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            2. Mini-Meatball Noodle Soup ($3.43 per serving)

            We’ve heard of the delicious spaghetti and meatballs recipes, but imagine having that same meatball goodness in a soup? It’s like Christmas in a bowl. Healthy, warm, and only $3.43 per serving.

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              3. Spaghetti and (Vegan) Meatballs ($2.13 per serving)

              Now it’s time to look at the traditional spaghetti and meatballs recipe, but with a little twist: vegan meatballs. This way, you can enjoy the Italian tradition without adding on the extra calories. I’m sold!

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                4. Kabocha Squash and Lentils ($3.12 per serving)

                Absolutely delicious way to end the day with a Kabocha Squash and lentils dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that you can actually make many other things from the mixture, from dips to full-on meals. All under $5 per serving.

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                  5. Baked Coconut Lentils ($0.91 per serving)

                  Coconuts are always a good idea, but it doesn’t have to be eaten only for dessert or breakfast. With this great recipe, you can now eat a lunch or dinner filled proteins and a coconut twist. Yum!

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                    6. Easy Marinated Roasted Chicken ($3.40 per serving)

                    We love chicken and at less than $5 per serving, we are in heaven with this recipe. Add some vegetables and rice on the side and you’ve got yourself a full meal!

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                      7. Organic Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin ($2.36 per serving)

                      This is absolutely divine. You get in your healthy greens and your fat macros with this great recipe. Takes only a few minutes to make and it’s easy on the wallet. Bon Appetite!

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                        8. Beef Pot Roast ($3.22 per serving)

                        One word: perfect. This meal will warm your insides and fill you up with the high protein content.

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                          9. Fajita-Style Quesadillas ($0.43 per serving)

                          If you want to eat Mexican tonight but want to stay in your budget, this Quesadilla recipe is your best friend. It’s tasty and filled with healthy ingredients for less than a dollar per serving.

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                            10. Fish Tostadas with Chili Lime Cream ($2.82 per serving)

                            Another great lunch idea for the busy days ahead. Prep this in the morning or the night before and you’ve got yourself a healthy and cheap lunch meal!

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                              11. Beef and Black Bean Chili ($1.36 per serving)

                              Might not look like much, but this amazing chili is actually extremely healthy for you. The protein from the beef and the carbs from the black beans will fill you up in no time, and keep you full for a long period of time. Delicious and warm, just right for the winter!

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                                12. Crispy Fish and Peppers ($2.18 per serving)

                                Amazing recipe for anyone looking to change up their meals while keeping their macros in check and not going overboard on spending. Satisfies your crunch tooth (see what I did there?) and gives you all the protein you need to stay full and lean.

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                                  13. Vegetarian Gumbo ($1.50 per serving)

                                  You have the perfect macro mix here with the carbs, fats, and proteins. At less than $5 per serving, you’ve got yourself a meal that will last for the whole week!

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                                    14. Mexican White Bean Soup ($0.99 per serving)

                                    With the cold weather creeping in, it’s not a surprise that soups are coming back in style. This great Mexican White Bean Soup dish will keep you warm for winter without making a hole in your pocket.

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                                      15. Black Beans with Mango & Cilantro ($0.38 per serving)

                                      Mangoes make every dish a little bit sweeter, which is why we absolutely love this recipe. A normal rice and bean dish might be a little meh, but add the sugary taste of mangoes and you’ve got yourself a party!

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                                      Black-Bean-Cilantro-Mango

                                        16. Bean Burritos ($0.71 per serving)

                                        If you’re having people over tonight and don’t want to spend too much time or money on food, this dish is a great option! You can even cut up the burritos into pieces and make finger foods while everyone’s watching the game or gossiping.

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                                          17. Five-Spice Beef Kabobs ($2.43 per serving)

                                          The spices in this recipes add a delicious twist to the beef kabobs, which is definitely worth trying!

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                                            18. Cornmeal Crusted Pork ($1.92 per serving)

                                            If you like the fried crunch but want to opt for a healthier alternative, cornmeal is your man. This healthy recipe will satisfy all your fried desires without making you pop open your pant’s button.

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                                              19. Chicken, Tomato & Cucumber Dinner Salad ($2.57 per serving)

                                              Easy to do, extremely healthy, and super delicious. A must-try!

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                                                20. Lentil Soup with Beef and Red Pepper ($1.90 per serving)

                                                I can’t believe how cheap this meal is, especially for all the nutrients it contains. You can make a big pot on Sunday night and divide it into small portions to last you a whole week.

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                                                  21. Smoky Mushroom Stroganoff ($1.90 per serving)

                                                  Craving pasta but not sure what to top it off with? How about smoky mushrooms with a twist?

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                                                    22. White Bean Tuna Salad ($1.36 per serving)

                                                    You can add this White Bean Tuna Salad in your sandwich or just eat it as-is for a quick lunch on a busy day.

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                                                      23. Sausage Eggwiches ($0.80 per serving)

                                                      Who says you have to eat fast food to get an eggwich? This delicious recipe will give you an amazingly healthy eggwich for less than a dollar per portion. Can you say Breakfast?

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                                                      Sausage-Eggwiches

                                                        24. Baja-Cali Black Bean Salad ($1.17 per serving)

                                                        Great snack to add to a movie-night with friends. You don’t have to use chemically-processed salsas anymore, you can now use this homemade salad for your chip dips.

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                                                          25. Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce ($2.24 per serving)

                                                          Italians always knew how to make carbs look good! This delicious Gnocchi recipe will give your lunch a whole new meaning. Easy to make and only $2.24 per serving.

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                                                            26. Vegetable Lasagna ($1.73 per serving)

                                                            If you were looking for a healthy lasagna, you’ve just found it. At under $5 per serving, you can fill yourself up right away without putting on the extra calories.

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                                                              27. Fajita-Ranch Chicken Wraps ($2.05 per serving)

                                                              Don’t know what to make for lunch this week? How about delicious chicken wraps with a healthy ranch? This recipe will make all your lunches, even the quick ones, healthy and colorful.

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                                                                28. Quinoa with Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                A dish that has quinoa and brussel sprouts can’t be unhealthy, it just can’t, which is why this dish is one to keep in the books. Easy to make, healthy, and will keep you full for a long period of time.

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                                                                  29. Butternut Squash Chili ($1.04 per serving)

                                                                  You don’t need meat to make chili now that you have this recipe! It’s 100% healthy, filling, and smells absolutely delicious.

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                                                                    30. Fast Shrimp Bisque ($2.03 per serving)

                                                                    Seafood doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to do it right, and this fast shrimp bisque is a great recipe to try if you’re in the mood for some seafood!

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                                                                      31. Chicken-Noodle Casserole ($0.98 per serving)

                                                                      Looks divine doesn’t it? This super easy to make dish will satisfy all your taste buds without burning a hole in your wallet or adding a few extra numbers on the scale.

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                                                                        32. Burrito Cups ($1.18 per serving)

                                                                        Entertaining someone tonight and don’t know what to make as appetizers? These burrito cups are a great alternative to chips or other greasy finger foods. All you need to enjoy it is a spoon and a cup.

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                                                                          33. Lemon-Dill Shrimp & Pasta ($2.45 per serving)

                                                                          Another impressive shrimp recipe under $5 per serving. The lemon-dill twist adds a great taste to the dish.

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                                                                            34. Potato Frittata ($0.87 per serving)

                                                                            If you want to eat potatoes for breakfast but still want it to be healthy, this is the recipe for you. At under a dollar per serving, this potato frittata will make you see potatoes in a whole new light.

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                                                                              35. Grilled Pork and Pineapple ($2.67 per serving)

                                                                              Meat and fruits? Oh, yes. The juiciness of the pork mixed with the liquid sugar in the pineapple will make you wish you knew about it sooner.

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                                                                                36. Greek Honey-Lemon Pork Chops ($2.15 per serving)

                                                                                Another splendid recipe mixing sweet and salty for a healthy meal. Easy to make and absolutely mouthwatering.

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                                                                                  37. Jamaican Pork Stir-Fry ($2 per serving)

                                                                                  You can add this healthy stir-fry to any dish as a side or amply enjoy it as-is for lunch or dinner. You can even make a wrap sandwich out of it if you’re in a rush to eat.

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                                                                                    38. Herbed Salmon ($2.49 per serving)

                                                                                    Salmon contains a healthy dose of fats that will boost your metabolism, lower inflammation, and make you happier. At under $5 per serving, need I say more?

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                                                                                      39. Five-Spice Pork Kabobs ($1.96 per serving)

                                                                                      Exquisite recipe under $5 per serving that will most definitely awe everyone at your dinner party.

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                                                                                        40. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Mango-Black Bean Salsa ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                                        You don’t have to eat sweet potatoes alone anymore with this flavorful recipe.

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                                                                                          Featured photo credit: Featured Photo Credit: 5 Dollar Dinners via 5dollardinners.com

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