Guest Post: 4 Simple Steps to Keeping Your Finances on Track

Is trying to keep on top of your finances stressing you out? You’re not alone: many Americans are so stressed out about finances they’re losing sleep at night.

The good news is improving your financial health can be accomplished with a few small, simple actions.


4 Simple Steps to Keeping Your Spending, Saving, & Financial Planning on Track

finances
Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

Be Budget-Minded

If you want to ensure that you make smart financial choices, you need a budget. Creating a simple budget is one of the most effective ways to manage your finances and stick to your goals.

Be sure that when creating a budget you’re realistic about your spending habits (i.e., non-essentials that are important to you, things you don’t mind splurging on, the cost you’ll pay for convenience, etc.). If your budget is unrealistic, you’re unlikely to stick with it. You also need to be flexible enough to make changes to your budget as your finances… and life… evolve.

Here are some budgeting tips:

  • Learn about budgeting systems (i.e., zero-based vs. the envelope system) and go with the system that works best for your short-term and long-term financial goals.
  • Create a budgeting spreadsheet to track and manage your finances.
  • Follow the 50/30/20 budget rule for after-tax income: 50% for essentials, 30% for non-essentials, and 20% for savings.
  • Be sure to plan for both monthly and non-monthly expenses.
  • Set aside at least $500 for a starter emergency fund (which should be kept in a high-yield savings account if possible).
  • Decide which non-essentials (i.e., travel, gifts, dining out, etc.) are most important to you, and set aside the funds.
  • Get your family’s food budget under control with these five simples steps. (For more info about food costs, read what’s eating your money, an article from Earnest.)
  • Save money while becoming more financially savvy with free financial and budgeting apps.
  • Reduce spending to increase your budget’s available balance. (For example, if you’re mechanically inclined, consider handling your own car repairs. You can save money with Ride Digest, a free online resource for car owners.)

Start Saving

The sooner you start building your savings the better. Even putting $20 a week into an account that’s reserved for emergencies or long-term goals (such as a the purchase of new tech gadget) will go a long way toward growing your finances, making you more financially secure, and ensuring that you stick to a budget.

Don’t Overpay on Insurance

Many people consider insurance in any of its forms a necessary evil, but because it can protect your finances as well as your most valuable possessions such as your home and vehicle, it’s an important resource. However, this doesn’t mean you should pay high premiums on a policy that gives you more coverage than you need.

Take some time to review your current insurance policies, and then do some research to see if you can find better rates from a different lender for a smaller (or even the same size of) policy.

Be Strategic When Buying a Home

Buying a new home can enhance your finances and financial standing by providing you with a valuable asset. Before you buy a home, though, you’ll benefit from researching the process and all of the expenses involved, such as the down payment and closing costs.

Tips for buying a home:

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

Conclusion

While achieving financial stability is no easy feat, you can reduce stress by utilizing the above tips to keep your finances in check… and to move yourself closer to your financial goals!

What are your best tips for financial wellness? Post your tip in a comment!


Guest Author: Dorothy Watson

Dorothy Watson grew up with a single mother who suffered from bipolar disorder. Her mom wasn’t properly diagnosed until Dorothy was about 12 years old, so she saw her mom struggle for a long time. Since she has seen how hard life can be for people whose mental health hasn’t been properly addressed, she is an advocate for mental wellness. You can learn more at Mental Wellness Center.


Author: Cassie Jewell

Cassie Jewell has a Master's degree in counseling and is a licensed professional counselor (LPC), licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner (LSATP), and board-approved clinical supervisor in Virginia.

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