Whether we love it or hate it, money is an unavoidable part of our lives. It’s one of those things where if you don’t take charge of it, it will take charge of you. Everyone can manage money. It requires time, patience, and a shift in how you view it. The hardest part is starting, so we have some pointers on where you can begin.
Look at your account. It’s easier to ignore your finances, especially when you don’t have as much as you’d like or need. This is the best time to take a deep breath and look at what you have. Become familiar with your spending patterns by observing your account often. Check-in daily and pay attention, making notes on changes to make to your spending habits. Becoming aware is the first step, taking charge is the next.
Create a budget. A budget puts you in control of your cash flow. There are many guides to creating a budget, but the budget that is going to work the best is the budget you create for yourself. Know how much money you make, when your bills are due, and where your money is going. If you can’t keep to your budget, revisit it and adjust your numbers. The best way to do this is by keeping track of all your expenses.
Keep track of your expenses. Make a spread sheet to track your expenses (or find an app that does it for you). Include your regular bills, rent, and groceries in one column, and make a separate column for extra expenses. Track every purchase, even the small ones. If you ever have a “where did my money go?” moment, you can look back and see exactly where it went and adjust your budget. When you track where your money is going and what you are spending it on, you can figure out what sacrifices you need to make to stick to your budget.
Set goals. Lay out your short-term and long-term goals. Where would you like to see yourself financially? How much would you like to save? It’s easy to be overwhelmed in the world of money, but it’s as simple as starting small. Start with goals that you can meet. A little money set aside is still money set aside. It’s up to you to set out what you want and get yourself there. Hitting goals comes with making sacrifices. You may need to shift your lifestyle to get yourself to the place you want to be. Don’t get overwhelmed by the long game. Know your goals, keep your values and your priorities in mind, and take it one step at a time.
Avoid impulsive purchases. Impulsive buying has gotten the best of us all. Every time you want to buy something you don’t need, set that money aside. It helps to have multiple accounts—one for spending, one for saving, and one for your monthly bills. Watch out for impulsive urges, calculate the cost, and then set that money aside to get yourself to the next level of your goals. Living intentionally and consciously will lead to more growth.
Managing money requires self-discipline. It’s an art that takes time and dedication, but everyone can do it. When you are accountable to yourself, you will meet your goals. The most important part is starting. Start today with the money that you have. Set up a spreadsheet and lay out your goals. The rest is up to you. You’ve got this!
Written By Jade Paxton for FRANC