Samuel Johnson once said, “A man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments.” He couldn’t have been more right. It’s not enough to earn money. It’s equally important to spend and save money wisely. On one hand, we need to spend money to fulfill our needs. On the other hand, if money runs through our hands as soon as we get it, we are in the state of perpetual deprivation and are unable to save anything for the future.
Many of us have to face a point in life at which we are in a terrible financial condition. Your savings could be low, you may have recently (or not-so-recently) lost a job, or you could lose your savings due to battling illness. There are so many possible paths to arrive at that dreadful situation, but we can surely avoid it with proper planning and forethoughts. Below are 10 ways to help you make sure you never have to face a financial crisis.
1. Maximize your liquid savings.
Liquid assets such as cash in hand, cash in currents, saving and money market accounts, and certificates of deposit are our most important financial assets to ensure financial safety. The value of these assets doesn’t fluctuate with market conditions, unlike stocks and index funds, and we can have them at our disposal any time we want, without any financial loss. Maximize your liquid savings. It’s very important to not invest in stocks or other higher-risk investments until you possess several months’ worth of liquid cash.
2. Keep record of all your earnings and expenses.
The principal reason people face a personal financial crisis isn’t that they do not earn enough but that they don’t save enough. It’s easy to advise someone to save, but equally difficult to actually save something on your own. However, much of the trouble can be spared by keeping a record of all of your earnings as well as expenses. Keeping track of money coming in and going out will help you know if you are overspending or living within limited means. This will help adjust your expenses to align with your income.
3. Prepare your monthly budget and live by it.
When there is no bar set for tour expenses, you are more likely to end up overspending. Monthly budgets prepared at the end of the previous month can help you balance your finances. Prepare a well-organized monthly budget clearly specifying the budget for food, rent, recreation and so on. But remember, there’s no point in making rules if you can’t live by them. You also need to live by your monthly budget allocation if you want to ensure sound financial health besides setting it.
4. Keep your possessions in good condition.
Keeping your possessions in good condition is another effective way to avoid financial crisis. Keep everything you possess, from your car and household utensils to electrical and electronic appliances, in proper working condition. It costs much less for routine maintenance compared to the price you have to pay when they stop working completely, either to replace them or while repairing them. Investing small amounts to keep your possessions working will reap greater rewards in the long run, as money not spent is also money earned.
5. Stay healthy.
Just as routine maintenance of household appliances helps to save significant amounts of money, maintaining your body also helps the cause. Most often we visit doctors only when the problems we’re facing have become severe. This traumatizes the body and requires significantly higher medical costs. With regular exercises and healthy habits, along with frequent medical checkups, you can pretty much avoid the possibility of major financial setback on the back of substantial illness.
6. Pay off your debts on time.
The best advice would be to never take any debt. But it doesn’t mean that your financial condition is doomed forever if you have taken debts. The first concern of any debtor should be to pay off all debts in full. Having existing debts doesn’t only distress our brains continuously, but also means that we can’t afford further debts, which would be necessary in the face of the adversities. So plan wisely and allocate a portion of your monthly budget to pay off the debts.
7. Safeguard against job loss.
Losing a job is the major event that leads a person to financial crisis. With the loss of job, a person doesn’t have any money to use, particularly if the person has never spared any thoughts for saving before. Safeguarding oneself against potential job loss is a chief way to avoid financial crisis. This could be done via unemployment insurance from your office or the purchase of a private unemployment insurance on your own. You can also find an alternative source of income besides your primary job.
8. Save a portion of your earnings every month.
Saving shouldn’t be thought of as a luxury, something that you do when you feel like it. You should cultivate it as a habit. There’s no better way to save than putting away a certain amount of your earnings every month. The popular 50/20/30 rule suggests you allocate 20% of your monthly earnings for things like debt payments, retirement funds and savings. If you’re not in any debt as of now, saving 20% of your monthly income would be a wise idea. However, even if you’re in debt, save at least 10% of your earnings, as you need liquid cash in hand in case anything serious happens in future.
9. Try to minimize your monthly bills.
Just because you earn enough and are not facing any financial setback as of now doesn’t mean that the case will be the same forever. Try to minimize your monthly bills before the alarm bell rings. The focus for minimizing the monthly bills should be on cutting out unnecessary expenses as soon as possible. Look over your expenses and find out possible ways to deduct them. You could be turning on your heater or air conditioner even when you’re not home. Simply turning those appliances off when you’re not home will help reduce energy bills and thus, the monthly bills, significantly.
10. Spend wisely.
“Every penny saved is a penny earned.” You won’t be financially secure all the time, unless you are wise enough to spend wisely. Spending wisely is an art in itself. There are several techniques to spend wisely. One is to abstain from buying things you are hardly going to use. The other could be to compare prices amongst multiple vendors and go for the best deal. This could even mean spending money as an investment for the future, as the money you spend today could generate you further capitals tomorrow.
Featured photo credit: money career upstairs/Anatoly Tiplyashin via fotolia.com