It’s been a long, trying year — almost two of them! — and maybe your finances aren’t in the strongest place. The bills keep coming in and the bank accounts are looking a little tight to keep pace.
Feeling the pressure is common and understandable, but don’t lose hope! There are easy ways to get your financial house in order and to try and put yourself on stronger footing.
Here are six ways to help organize your finances and start feeling more confident.
1. Take an honest look at your income and outgoing dollars.
When was the last time you made a list of your bills and expenses and compared your income? Write down every payment you make every month. Be sure to include all of it, from streaming services to your rent or mortgage, utility bills, transportation, etc. For expenses that might fluctuate, include a best guess amount. The more detail you can provide down to the penny, the better and more accurate a picture you’ll have.
2. Write a budget.
Now that you know what you’re dealing with, see where you’re spending too much or allocating too little (how’s your savings account looking?). See if you can make some cuts and shifts to help reduce excessive bills and get things back on track. Then, once you have a budget established — this can be done in a specialized accounting software or even a basic spreadsheet! — print it out and keep it in a place that’s easily visible to remind yourself of your goals.
3. Be prepared for emergencies.
Know, from the start, that life happens and unexpected expenses will come up. Is there an item in your budget for that? Make one! Put aside a little each month, or each week, to help build up a cushion so that you won’t need to rely on credit cards or go to family or friends for help should you need to make an emergency car repair or replace a broken washing machine, for example.
4. Try to consolidate your debt.
Look at your credit card balances. Check the interest rates. If you have the ability to use one card to pay off the others — preferably one with a good rewards program and a low-interest rate — use it to consolidate your debt into one payment. Or check into personal loans from a credit union, as they tend to have lower interest rates than bigger banks. Consolidating your debt means you have one payment each month, instead of multiple, and you can direct more of your payment to the principle instead of chipping away at interest. If you have student loans, there are plenty of programs for consolidating those as well.
5. Develop goals for your financial health.
People who want to lose weight often will set a target goal in mind, or a date by which they’d like to drop a few pounds. People training for an endurance event, like a marathon or long cycling event, will train for months with their event circled on the calendar. It helps to have something to focus on and work toward, instead of just looking into the endless future. The same is true for your finances! Pick a bill you’d like to pay off and set a target deadline for doing just that. Want to go on vacation? Decide how much you’d like to save toward it and take steps to make it happen. When you accomplish one of these goals, while keeping your other bills in check, take a moment to celebrate — you’ve earned it!
6. Use tools to help keep yourself focused and on track.
There are countless websites, apps, tutorials, online classes, and coaches that can help you keep a close eye on your finances. Some will set daily or other regular reminders for paying bills, making a deposit to your savings account, etc; others will provide advice on how to meet your goals and tools that can help you reduce debt and increase savings. Find one that works well for you and watch the difference in your bank account!
It might seem overwhelming at first, but financial health is like physical health: Getting started is the hardest part, and after a while, it becomes second nature. You can do this!
Start Your Path to a Bright Future
If you need a little help or feel like a new job is needed, contact Davis Staffing. We work with excellent companies looking for people just like you who are ready to work hard and earn their paycheck. Contact Davis Staffing and let’s get you started on a path to a bright future!