It is not uncommon for people to look at their checking accounts and wonder where all their money has gone. Life is full of expenses, including seemingly small ones that can really add up at the end of the month. Debt can become overwhelming if you find you need a loan to pay back other debts as payday loans or credit card bills. Without a personal finance system in place, it can be really easy to allow your monthly bills to overshadow your income.
Coming up with a personal finance system can help you avoid drowning in debt.
It is not uncommon for people to look at their checking accounts and wonder where all their money has gone. Life is full of expenses, including seemingly small ones that can really add up at the end of the month. Debt can become overwhelming if you find you need a loan to pay back other debts, such as online payday loans or credit card bills. Without a personal finance system in place, it can be really easy to allow your monthly bills to overshadow your income.
A personal loan can help in the short term. But doing some planning and small changes can make a big difference over time.
Here are some simple things you could do right now to keep your finances in check.
1. Track your Expenses
Do you know exactly how much you spend every month or even every year? It's important not to spend more than you actually make in income, but it's difficult to do that if you don't know how much you spend relative to what you make.
Start by creating a list of all your expenses, such as your rent or mortgage, car payments, groceries, utilities, clothing, entertainment, gifts, and so forth. The more detailed you can get, the better idea you'll have of how much you're spending on a regular basis. Every little thing adds up, including that coffee you may get in the morning.
Once you've organized and calculated your list, compare it to how much you earn. Does your income cover all your expenses and leave a little left over? If not, you'll need to make some adjustments to your expense list to bring that number below your income level.
2. Set up an Automatic Savings System
Manually taking a percentage from your monthly income and setting it aside in a savings account is often easier said than done. It's easy to skip taking a portion of your income to be put in a separate account.
A great way to start and continue to save is to have a certain amount automatically transferred from your checking account to a savings account every month. Setting up a savings account and system like this will take one more chore off your to-do list. You may not even notice the difference. You may, however, notice a growing pile of money in your savings account at the end of each year!
3. Divide Your Savings
Establishing a savings account is an important part of many personal finance options, but you could consider taking it a step further by choosing where to allocate your savings and how to divide up the money.
With a personal finance system in place, you can achieve financial freedom sooner rather than later.
Another consideration is devoting what you can monthly to some sort of retirement account. Common retirement accounts are company 401k or personal IRA. The sooner you start saving for this, the better.
Other savings allocations can include things like your child's future education, vacations, and even a contingency fund for rainy days that can - and probably will - happen. You never know what you might face at some point along the way.
4. Pay Down Higher-Interest Debt First and Repair Bad Credit
You could find yourself trying to choose which debts to pay toward because you cannot afford to make payments on them all. Every type of loan comes with its own interest rate. To save you money in the long run, focus on paying down high-interest debt first. As an example; putting $200 towards a $2,000 credit card bill with an 18% interest rate will save you a lot more money compared to paying off a $1,000 bill at 5%.
5. Reassess Your Finances Annually
To help assist with spending less than what you make, you'll need to monitor your budget every year, at times even monthly, as expenses can change. Maybe your mortgage term expired and you renewed at a higher interest rate, or perhaps the costs of utilities have gone up since you last created your budget spreadsheet. Things like these will most likely increase your overall expense amount and put you over the edge.
Setting up and monitoring a personal finance system isn't a difficult task, but it does require some time and effort. Most people don't enjoy budgeting, but this task can mean the difference between debt and being on the road to financial health.