5 Tips to get and keep your financial well-being poppin
Track your income and your spending, not just on a spreadsheet - write it down. This first step brings awareness to your financial health. Are you spending more than your income? If yes, what are your high spending categories? Your bank or even mobile apps such as mint may be able to assist you in identifying where you have high spending levels, and once you have identified the culprit (for me it’s always food) you can create a plan on how to reduce it, make a budget. Using myself as an example I will reduce my high food charges by cooking at home more and bringing my home cooked meal for lunch at least 3 times a week and just by doing this, I can save at least 25 dollars a week.
Review all bank statements and check for errors.
Very often I hear different people complain that a miscellaneous charge was found on their account however, this charge was found while searching for something else and is usually months old. My recommendation is to make time on the weekend, maybe the first thing on an early Saturday morning to review the transactions from the prior week this way you can be up to date with the incomings and outgoings of your account. It was only a month ago that I caught 2 payments to my gym in one month, people are usually shocked that businesses make mistakes like this, but it happens more often than not so be detailed with your review.
Opening your bills as soon as you get them.
When I was younger and struggling to get my finances together, I developed a habit of stacking all my bills in one place until I felt brave enough to address them. At that time bills would give me anxiety, shoot, the postman gave me anxiety by bringing the bills. After that build up my heart would sink reading the details of each bill. I wondered how I could change this process. The only thing that worked was facing my bills head on. I adopted the idea that I owned the bills the bills didn’t own me. Now whenever I receive a bill online or by mail (Hi Mr postman) I read it almost immediately and decide how and when the bill will be paid.
Saving is mandatory
One thing I learned from my mom at an early age was that having a savings account was super important so I’ve always had a savings account. The downside to this was figuring out what to do with it once I started saving money. Do I just look at it? Do I spend it on a rainy day? Whats a rainy day? So many unanswered questions so of course the stash was soon depleted. What works for me (so far) is having an emergency fund and a savings account. The emergency fund is for emergencies only - big surprise expenses. I say go for $500 then if you can afford it go for $1000. Do not touch it under any other circumstances, and please use a different bank from your primary one. My regular savings account is used to save but I also use it sometimes to save for trips or large purchases. Automate your savings! It really helps when you don’t have to physically transfer money from one account to the other, you don’t see it, which means you’ll be less likely to miss it. Last but not least - contribute to your company’s retirement plans or create your own by investing in an IRA. Save money now in order to live comfortably in the future.
Check your credit report
Ignorance isn’t always bliss and back in the day the credit report wasn’t as accessible as it is today, and even when it was checking it more than once a year was a big no-no. Today your Online bank, as well as other mobile apps such as Credit Karma and Credit Sesame, are at your fingertips. Check your score at least twice a month and read all of the additional recommendations. it's important to have a reasonable amount of credit history, a low utilization rate, and no missed payments.
If all these tips are followed, you will be living your best financial life.
Surround yourself with friends that share similar financial goals.