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9 tips for financial improvement

There’s a lot of things you can do to improve your financial situation that’s just common sense, but so many people are too caught up in the drama of their lives that they’re unable to see what the common sense solution might be. When something feels incredibly complicated, then they believe that only incredibly complicated solutions will fix the problem. It’s just not true though.

What is true is that some of these tips for improving your situation will take discipline, and that’s probably the hardest thing about them.

  1. Always pay into savings first.
    There’s a common acceptance that you should be saving 10% of your income. You should make this the first bill you pay from every pay check. Set up an autopayment from your bank that transfers 10% of your income into a savings account every time you get paid. Try to ensure that the savings account is a high interest account and that you can’t wthdraw from it without at least 24 hours notice, to help break the cycle of impulse spending.
  2. Control impulse spending.
    This is probably the biggest problem for most of us. Eating out, shopping, online purchases… Lots of small items added up equal a big problem. Start by analysing your bank statement over the past month. See where you’re spending your money on eating out, etc, and start to limit your budget for those items.
  3. Evaluate your expenses and work out where you can cut back. If you’ve been spending $10 a day buying lunches, maybe you can cut back by taking your lunch every second day. Start changing your habits. If, for example, you don’t buy your lunch two times a week, that’s a saving of over $1000 a year. That $20 a week could be put into a debt you have, which would make it go away that much quicker….
  4. Eliminate debt.
    Credit cards, personal loans, hire purchases, or other debts… you need to get rid of them. The easiest way to do this is to list your debts with your smallest monthly payments at the top and work your way down to the largest monthly payment at the bottom of the list. Now look at the debt at the top. It might be $20 a month. Pay twice that amount! Instead of paying only $20 a month, pay $40. Pay even more if you can afford it. Once that debt is paid off and you have that extra $40 per month, put it towards the next debt on your list. Once that’s paid off, put the total towards the next debt…. Before you know it, your snowballing monthly amount has paid off all your debts and you’ll be debt free. Congratulations! This might take a few years, but your debts will be paid off much quicker with this method than with any other method. Instead of taking 10 years, it might take 5, and you can then use your newfound monthly wealth to invest in something that will improve your life rather than drain it.
  5. Invest in your future.
    You might not think about retiring if you’re young, but it’s going to be important to you one day. The sooner you start investing in your retirement, the less you’ll have to worry about it as you get older. The growth of your investments only increases over time, so the earlier you start, the more you’ll have when you retire. Research your options, but do it now. The more time you waste, the less money you’ll have, and you’ll only be kicking yourself when you’re old, unable to work, and have no money to support yourself with.
  6. Keep your family secure.
    You need an emergency fund for… that’s right, emergencies! This is separate from your savings account. Your emergency fund should be equal to at least 6 months worth of your wages. If you’re unable to work, or you need the money for an emergency, it’ll be there waiting for you to use, and your savings won’t be impacted at all. If you have a spouse or other dependents, then you should ensure you have life insurance and a will, so that if something happens to you they – and your investments – will still be cared for. Do it today.
  7. Pay bills immediately or by automatic payment through your bank.
    If you can get all the regular bills and expenses out of the way as soon as possible, then you’ll have less on your mind to worry about. It also helps ensure your credit rating is secure, which is important when you want to invest more of your money. If you’re late paying bills, then you become a potential risk to anyone that you approach for an investment loan. And you don’t want that. Keep your bills paid!
  8. Be on the lookout for opportunities to grow your net worth.
    Do whatever you can to increase your net worth, either by reducing your debt, increasing your savings, increasing your income, or increasing your investments. Or all of the above! Look for new ways to make money, or to increase the money that’s available to you. Calculate your net worth each month and do what you can to make it grow. You’ll feel great about it!
  9. Read about making money.
    The more you can learn about how to make money and improve your life, the better off you’re going to be. And don’t wait until tomorrow. Start now. Educate yourself – you’re the greatest investment of your life.

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