When it comes to you finances, are you doing okay, but know you could be doing better? If you answered yes to that question, you are not alone. When it comes to money, most of us could stand to up our game a bit.
Lots of little changes can add up to big results, like a fatter savings account, more contributions to retirement funds, the means to do really cool stuff and just greater peace of mind. That last point is a particularly worthwhile goal as worrying about money is a unique brand of distressing. Here are just helpful tips to get you on your way to better money management.
Define Your Weak Spots
When it comes to our money issues, we all have our own unique blend of ‘stuff’ tripping us up. If you want to improve your money picture, you have to dig a bit and identify your weak spots. Making an intention to be ‘better with money’ is a good one, but way too vague. You want a clearer picture of your personal situation so you can get a better idea of the best way to go about achieving your vision for a more money-savvy person.
So, what are your issues? Do you tend to turn to shopping to boost a bad mood? Are your weekend outings a bit too extravagant? Do you have an expensive hobby that you perhaps need to rein in a bit? Do you pick away at your savings for things you really don’t need?
See a Budget as an Ally
For many of us, the word ‘budget’ leaves a bad taste in our mouth. It makes us think of sacrifice, giving up all the fun stuff and obsessing over every dollar we spend. And for this reason, we tend to avoid making them, or we give it a go and quickly abandon it. We would rather live in ignorant bliss as to how we are spending our money—so long as our bills get paid on time, who cares what I’m doing with the rest of it?
But, budgets are not the enemy. In fact they can be one of our best friends. If you really want to be better on the money front, you have to sit down and figure out how you are handling your money; you need to see where things can be tweaked.
There are lots of great sites, such as this one, that offer great tips on making budgets for all types of people and goals.
When making one, remember to be realistic. Being responsible with money does not mean forgoing every purchase that is not absolutely necessary. It is about making sure we are being responsible and smart with our money. You want to be able to contribute to investment accounts and build up a solid savings to get you through an emergency or unexpected job loss. So, don’t set goals based on a monthly budget that has some wiggle room in it for fun things, things that enhance your life. You just have to figure out a sensible portion—there is no magic formula. You know your finances and where that line is between reasonable and too much.
Get Specific with Goals
Like it was mentioned earlier, vague intentions about being more financially savvy are not enough. You need to flesh out this goal into much more specific ones. That will create order in your mind; it will give you focus, and make you much more likely to take effective actions over the long-term.
So, what are some of your goals? Do you hope to save a certain portion of your income each month? Do you want to pay off a particular debt in a certain timeframe? Is there a vacation you would love to take or a special item you want to purchase?
You want to go a bit bold here, but don’t set one so high you are unlikely to achieve it. This will discourage you, and when we feel discouraged, it is easy to get off course completely rather than modify the path.
If you adhere to these three tips, you are well on your way to enhancing your money mojo.