A MAJOR change just took place very early this morning. Whether or not the election went the way that you wanted it to there is no better time than today to make a change in your life. That change could be anything you want it to be as long as it is a positive one.
I for one believe that making positive changes to your finances will inherently better your life overall. So why not start there!?
EXAMINE YOUR EXPENSES WITH A FINE TOOTH COMB
Grab a pen, paper and your bank/credit card statements. Begin with writing down your fixed expenses (your expenses that aren’t going anywhere which includes any debt). This consists of your rent/mortgage, utilities, insurance, transportation, etc.. Then write down pretty much everything else you spend. Instead of tracking your spending in the future I would go ahead and write them down from the prior 3 months. This will be eye opening.
From this point you should be able to clearly see where your spending habits are going wrong. Make the decision to make the changes that are necessary to save some of the money that you might have been frivolously spending. Cut out the extra fast food stops, Starbucks runs, cut cable or going out too often in general.
Don’t forget to evaluate your fixed expenses either. You can shop around for your different insurance coverage, reduce your rent by moving somewhere less expensive or you can even look into refinancing your mortgage while rates are still low. I specifically talk about this here when I started to look into cutting my expenses.
TAKE A LONG HARD LOOK AT YOUR INCOME
Remember that truly your income doesn’t matter as long as you are smart with what you are making. You can be making $35k and if you manage your expenses and savings accordingly then you can turn out to be wealthier than the person who makes $100k but overspends and doesn’t save much.
Once you look at those expenses and determine what you can cut out entirely and/or reduce you should have a good idea of the income you really need to cover all of your expenses. The goal is to be able to pay your bills AND save. If your income isn’t cutting it from the beginning and you are in the red you should look at ways to make some extra money or increase your current income. If your performance at work can back it up then ask for a raise. You can also look for another job with higher pay.
The key here is after you have fully evaluated your expenses and income you actually need to put the effort into applying the changes necessary to making your money great again. This includes:
Actually call around to shop your expenses that are negotiable.
Contact a trusted mortgage lender and inquire about a possible refinance.
Be willing to downsize your home/car if it will save you money.
Be willing to cut out the extras like cable, gym membership and any unnecessary spending.
Then, you will need to:
Set up a savings account, preferably somewhere other than your main bank, and have a set amount direct deposited from each paycheck. Set a small savings goal at first to get started on an emergency savings.
Start contributing to your employer’s retirement plan – especially if they offer a match (FREE MONEY). You should never pass up free money!
If you can muster up the motivation, stick to it and see the light at the end of tunnel you will make YOUR MONEY GREAT AGAIN! There is no president that can stop you from improving your financial life. This is all up to you and making your money great again can lead to a happier less stressful you.