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5 Money Management Tips For Leading A More Productive Life

5 Money Management Tips For Leading A More Productive Life

If there is one thing guaranteed to raise your stress levels, it’s the money worry. Whether you’re under pressure to pay the mortgage or struggling to find the cash for that much-needed holiday, personal finance is one of the modern world’s biggest worries. Concerns over money can have a negative impact on your life, limit your choices, and impact your relationships with others.

However, armed with a little financial know-how it is possible to get a grip on your finance, and ensure your money is working hard for you, allowing you to lead a more productive life.

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1. Claim Back On Tax Allowance

If you are self-employed, you may well be eligible for a variety of tax benefits that you’re currently unaware of — anything you pay for which is necessary for your job — can be claimed back against income tax, ensuring you keep a higher proportion of the money you earn.

Travel expenses, work clothing and equipment, all qualify and if you work from home you’re even entitled to claim back the cost of electricity and internet bills if they’re relevant to your work — and by limiting the amount of tax you’re paying, you’ll have more money left over for investment opportunities.

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2. Keep A Record of Outgoing Expenses

    One way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your earnings is to keep a record of everything you spend — by monitoring your outgoings, you can gain an understanding of your finance which will stand you in good stead when it comes to the potential future investments, as well as ensuring the money you do spend goes as far as possible.

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    It’s all too easy to unwittingly overspend, but by keeping a record of what you spend on a daily basis, you’ll have a better idea of where the money is going.

    3. Take Advantage of Savings Account Offers

    Once you’ve got a grip on your accounts, the next step is ensuring that you have a savings account which suits your needs. In the ultra-competitive field of high street banking, companies offer all sorts of interesting deals designed to get you to bank with them. High rates of interest will see your savings inflated over time, while other perks include air miles and luxury hotel accommodation — perfect for high-flying businessmen and women who travel the globe for work.

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    4. Put Your Savings To Work

    If you’ve managed to save up a lump sum for the future, it’s important to make sure you’re putting that money to the good use. Whatever your position, there are plenty of opportunities to increase your savings through investment — bonds offer small but steady rates of interest, while if you’re looking for larger potential rewards, you might consider researching stock trading or spread betting.

    Although the risks are higher (and it’s possible to lose money as well as make it), by studying market movements, you can gain the knowledge required to earn substantial profits, taking advantage of benefits including tax-free profits and 24-hour trading. By learning how financial markets work, using the wealth of market-insight resources available from websites such as Market Watch, Reuters, and CMC Markets, you can try to grow your savings pot and turn a profit on your existing capital.

    5. Research Crowdfunding Opportunities

    Another possibility for investment which you may want to consider is crowdfunding — raising money for projects by presenting investment opportunities to a large number of people, offering significant opportunities with limited risk. Not only does crowdfunding allow you to begin a business venture with a reduced capital investment, it can also increase the profile of that venture as investors spread the word — and if the business is successful, everyone’s a winner, as those who have a stake in the business will receive a proportion of the profits!

    Those are five of the best money management tips to incorporate into your routine. Give it a try!

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    Tom Willis

    Web Marketing & Content Producer

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    Published on September 17, 2018

    How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

    How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

    Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

    With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

    So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

    1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

    It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

    You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

    So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

    2. When you want something big, wait

    Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

    It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

    We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

    A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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    So, you get the itch.

    You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

    Here’s where you have to take a step back.

    Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

    Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

    It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

    The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

    3. Live smaller than you can afford

    You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

    You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

    That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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    Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

    Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

    The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

    But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

    4. Practice smart grocery shopping

    Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

    But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

    Create a grocery budget

    Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

    Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

    I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

    Make a list… and never deviate

    Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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    You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

    These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

    Eat before going grocery shopping

    It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

    If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

    After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

    Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

    However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

    This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

    5. Cancel your gym membership

    Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

    The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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    Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

    I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

    Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

    Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

    For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

    Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

    There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

    It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

    I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

    Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

    The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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