Personal finance is a big part of everyone’s lives. In fact, it’s the single biggest finance factor that will impact your day to day life and everything that happens. I’m on track, my net worth is on the rise, but is yours? If you find yourself running short every month and are stuck in the paycheck to paycheck cycle, maybe it’s time to reconsider the way you look at money and your finances.
People manage to fight their way to financial freedom every day and you can be one of them! There are loads of easy ways to fight that fight. Here’s my top ones for changing the way you think about your money.
Create a Budget Spreadsheet
Spreadsheets can be daunting, but are a great way to strategically plan out and track your spending for the week, month or year. If you can’t input formulas, google spreadsheets has some great templates with everything set up for you. Remember to include:
- Your income
- Food Costs
- Debt Repayments
- Fun Money
These are the bare basics of any budget and should take precedence at the forefront of your budget spreadsheet. On another sheet, track everything you spend. You can do this daily or weekly depending on how much time you have to dedicate to the budget. This can help you to identify where your money is going, and anywhere the fat can be trimmed, so to speak.
Think about what you want with regards to your money, or even your life. Creating a vision board can be great motivation for getting on top of your finances, spend an afternoon creating either a physical vision or a digital vision and look at it every so often to remind yourself of what you are working towards.
You also need to set specific goals. Do you want to pay off your debt? Buy a house? Go on an expensive holiday? Set realistic time frames and a plan to reach the goal by the deadline, incorporate this into your budget and stick to the plan.
Get the Pay You Deserve
This can apply to your current job or negotiating pay at a new career. If you’re happy in your job but believe you need a pay rise, assess your value to the company. Don’t go in all guns blazing asking for more cash for a more comfortable life, your employer doesn’t care. Instead, come prepared with real, tangible evidence that 7you are a valuable asset to the business and demonstrate how your value to the company requires the salary to reflect that.
When entering salary discussions for a new position, let the employer name their price first. This does two things: let’s you see how much they are willing to pay and how much they value their employee’s work, and prevents them from negotiating a low pay based on what you tell them. Unfortunately, there’s no easy bands for how much you should get paid depending on your qualifications, your experience or your lifestyle. So you’ll have to assess this for yourself and come up with a reasonable number to work with. Don’t go too high, or they’ll think they can’t afford you and don’t go too low because they WILL pay you as little as they can.
Try and choose credit cards with 0% interest on purchases for a set period, these introductory offers are designed to draw people in but they 0% really does help. If the interest goes up to a ridiculous amount after the offer ends, transfer your balance to a new card, transferring a balance can even get you bonuses at some credit companies.
If you already have a mountain of debt and want to start reducing it, take manageable steps to improve the amount you owe. Start paying off high interest debts first to reduce the interest you’ll have to pay. If you need a bit of motivation, pay off smaller debts first, but I would always recommend tackling the high interest rate debts first.
Try and save as much of a deposit for a house as possible, it may seem impossible, but the more you save, the less you’ll hav e to pay off – sounds simple, but so many people over look this. Choose a mortgage repayment plan that has payments below 28% of your income, or is less than what the cost of renting would be.