Do you feel like your financial goals are too far out of reach? Between the monthly bills, ongoing debt, unexpected expenses, and the rush of daily life, it can be hard to find the time and energy to focus on money management and long-term goals.
But with a new year comes a new opportunity to learn how to improve your finances, so you can spend more time focusing on the things you love. It can be difficult to know where to start, so here are four simple ways to start improving your money management skills and reach your financial goals this year.
1. Make a budget
Whether you want to buy a home, retire without debt, or improve your overall financial well-being, you’ll have a better chance of reaching your goals if you create a plan of action and budget accordingly. Many people get overwhelmed with the idea of making a budget, but it’s actually quite simple.
Start by filling out your personal budget worksheet and see how much money is coming in and going out each month. By keeping a close eye on your expenses, you’ll be able to identify any spending leaks, make necessary adjustments to save more, and prioritize where your money goes every month. Making sure you have a healthy budget is a great first step to improving your finances.
2. Get your spending under control
Once you have a clear picture of where your finances stand, it’s time to fine-tune your budget so you spend less than you make. Make sure to cover necessities first and get rid of any expenses that don’t add much value to your life. That way you’ll have more to put towards your savings and financial goals.
There are plenty of money-saving tips and pain-free ways to cut back and improve your finances. Perhaps you could dine out less, reduce your energy costs, or if you really need to make a change, downsize to a smaller home. The savings could really add up over time and get you another step closer to your financial goals.
3. Start building your emergency fund
If money is tight, there may not be much left over after you calculate your necessary monthly expenses and what you hope to save. But if you’re genuinely wondering how to improve your finances, it’s crucial to set aside some funds to cover unforeseen situations. In fact, building an emergency fund is arguably the most immediate and critical savings goal that can help you improve your finances.
Life is unpredictable and no one knows when a layoff, major home repair, or medical emergency may come up. Depending on your situation, experts advise having three to six months’ worth of living expenses set aside in a savings account. Otherwise, you could end up resorting to credit cards when you’re in a bind, and that can quickly set you on a downward spiral of debt.
4. Get rid of your credit card debt
Perhaps the best way to improve your finances is by freeing yourself from credit card debt. Not only does it free up extra money in your budget, it could also help reduce your financial stress. There are many ways that you could get out of credit card debt depending on your current financial situation.
If you have extra cash coming in each month, you may want to consider using that money to start paying down your debt more aggressively. On the other hand, if high interest rates are holding you back from making a dent in your credit card bills, transferring your debt to a card with a lower interest rate may be the right option for you. No matter how you choose to handle your situation, getting out of credit card debt could help you improve your finances and reach your financial goals faster.
If you’re in the process of learning how to improve your finances, these tips can help you be better equipped to reach your financial goals. And, with your thoughts no longer locked into the constant pattern of worrying about money, you can finally devote more energy to family, friends, and the things you truly enjoy in life.
Use a simple guide to improve your finances
Making the decision to manage your money better is a great first step. And thankfully, learning how to deal with debt, money, and planning for your future doesn’t need to be hard. At Freedom Debt Relief, we’ve developed a simple to follow guide to help you find the tools you need to move to a better financial future. Get started by downloading our free guide right now.
- 10 Financial Goals for the New Year (The Balance)
- What Is Debt Settlement? (Freedom Debt Relief)
- The 6 Skills You Need to Be Financially Successful (US News & World Report)