Knowing your financial hacks and ropes is the way to go in this century. However, a doubtful thought strikes in regards to the numerous blogs and books highlighting different ways of managing your finances.
Personal finance may tend to be a complicated topic, which is not the case. It’s so simple; the junk has been cracked down to more elegant pieces — 15 quick hacks to help you be in control of your money. Yes, simple strategies key in financial management.
So, what are these tricks to your financial freedom?
Just like acquiring new skills in school, you get to learn good financial habits. It’s not a matter of reading books and expecting magic to happen. You have to begin practising the habits from time to time until they become part and parcel of you.
Just like toilet training a toddler, the financial practice has to be a daily routine for excellent financial tips. The tips can be achieved by setting them down on your to-do lists or adding to the dairy for regular reference.
What are the practices?
1. Spending Less
Many working-class cadres often get distracted by lifestyle struck, trying to fit in class around you. Research by CNBC show 78% of Americans working full-time lives from paycheck to paycheck.
How do you do it differently? Knowing the trick is not as important as doing it. Yes, once you know how to plan your finances, you have to begin practising the act.
If you want to outlive the paycheck to paycheck life, you have to spend less than you earn. It is not only essential but a crucial financial aspect for your economic well-being.
To achieve this finance tip, tracking down your spending is vital. You can be having a shopping or to-do list. Alternatively, downloading a free personal finance app is an option too.
2. Begin budgeting
The term budget may worry you of your usual hobbies. It doesn’t mean that you are completely cutting off what you enjoy most. Budgeting is creating a plan on how to spend your money. It has an idea of how to allocate your monthly earnings to meet your expenses.
You can implore the use of the 50/30/20 rule. It involves using 50% of the income on basic needs, bills, food, housing, and others. You do 20% for savings and 30% for other requirements that can be what you enjoy most.
Don’t you think this is the way to manage your finances? Yes, it’s an easy way to get out of the paycheck to paycheck syndrome. However, if there is a need for the adjustment, you are at liberty to fit your lifestyle.
3. Breaking down Your Income and Expenses
The internet has all the tools to financial powers. To better your budget, check on GeekLimit on Reddit to grow your finance tips. It seems to be an old trick but serves better.
You may be wondering how this works, the idea behind it is breaking your expenses and income into daily income values, for example:
- If you make $3500/month = ~$117/day
- If you pay $1000/month for rent = ~$ 30/day
- If you pay $ 300/month for other bills = ~$ 10/day
- For basic needs (food, gas, phone, etc) $ 1500 = ~$ 50/day
From the budget, it implies that you’ll be left with $27 a day after spending. You will likely have to cut down on some of the cost if you want to enjoy life.
If you plan to take a vacation worth $2700, you’ll have to save for 100 days without spending anything extra. Alternatively, you can minimize costs to achieve the target if you want to go on vacation sooner.
Going by this trend, if you’re looking forward to your dream car worth $20,000, it means you have to work out how to achieve it. Either you save for approximately five months without spending a dime.
If that doesn’t suit, you can slash your expenses to increase on the amount you’re saving to meet your target.
This tip helps you to know how to plan your purchases and growing savings over some time.
4. Reward Yourself First
This is one of the remarkable ways to hold on to the future. It dramatically impacts on your future financial well-being. When you prioritize yourself first, you are merely building your economic prospect. When the future comes, you will be more than grateful for doing so.
So how do you pay yourself?
When you get into the habit of paying yourself first at the end of the month, it is likely to be in your savings account, that makes the work easier. When money lands into account for savings purposes, there are slim chances of the money being spent.
By doing this, you would have taught a saving habit which will expand your financial freedom. Imagine living a life without money; it sucks! It’s better to plan yourself early enough by adopting beneficial finance routines.
5. Financial Goals
Have you ever thought of owning assets and don’t know where to start? This can be daunting. Accomplishing financial goals is not something you wake up in the morning and begin.
You have to have a clear plan on where to begin and what steps to follow next. A clear roadmap will lead you to achieve your goals faster than expected. You have to be steadfast in your financial goals to fulfil your dreams.
How do you manage it?
When starting, you have to begin small. Rome was not built in a day; you have to work your way up after starting small to accomplish your aims.
Here is how to plan yourself:
You need to classify your goals; we have short-term and long-term. So, here we go;
Here you can include what you want to achieve within the next three months, six months or even a year.
This category encompasses the dreams you have been aspiring since your childhood. They can include: building a house, owning that luxurious car etc. Remember you have to plan on when to achieve these with convenience. For example, what to have within the next three, five or ten years.
Notably, short-term goals can be stepping stone to accomplishing the long-term ones. Check on these examples of reasonable financials goals:
- Save $5,000
- Build a house
- Start investing for a dream car
Remember that setting up your plan is the first thing to tracking your purposes. Begin by the short-term ones to fulfil your visions. If possible, jot them down somewhere and keep track of the progress.
6. Managing Your Credit Card
Do you know that your credit score is a vital aspect of your financial life? Managing your credit life is thus essential. Being that a credit card is critical in your finance toolkit, paying back is the only solution.
When you walk into a store to make a purchase with the credit card, know that you are borrowing from your bank. Since this is a loan, failure to repay the money on time will earn you interest on your balance. The interest piling up can become a monster that will eat you up if you don’t remit monthly.
On the other hand, responsible use of the credit card will boost your credit ratings. When you pay your dues monthly, your credit score will be okay. A guarantee to benefits such as rewards points, cashback and travel points.
What is the best thing to do? If you have to use the credit card, do so to pay back promptly. You can choose on when the bank should recover the debt, i.e. bi-weekly or monthly.
You should be using your credit card to help you manage the credit score and credit report. Free tools like Credit Sesame is of great help when managing your score.
In case you are bound to forget when to make the payment, you can use Trim to notify you when the due date is approaching.
Note: If you are in a position to pay your credit once, do so. Handling a credit card as a debit card is the best thing you can ever do to gain your freedom.
7. Keep off Bad Debt
The word debt brings with it shivers on quite many people. However, not all debts are bad. We have good debts and bad debts.
Being that any debt is owing to someone or an institution some amount of money if you can keep off the better. From other people experiences, you’d Never want to owe someone money.
So, what is the difference between bad debt and good debt?
Bad debt is the ones got through purchases that lose value and generate no revenue. In simple terms, such obligations don’t add any value to you. Such examples include credit card debt and auto loan.
On the other hand, good debt is the ones that are beneficial in the right situations. Though many people tend to believe that there are no right or wrong debts, these debts are different.
Sample out these scenarios,
You walk into a bank to take a loan that will help you build your business. This is a guarantee of benefit to your financial future. Such a practice is what is deemed beneficial, thus a good debt.
Or you walk into a store to pick up some purchases and use your credit card. This is a credit card debt. This debt is not bringing out anything in the future, and all you have to do is paying back. Failure to pay on time leads to a negative credit listing, bad news, right?
Notably, good debt has lower interest compared to lousy debt which accrues interest.
Here are examples of good debts that you can think of:
These are one of the best investments you can go for, do you know why? It adds value. When you take a student loan for schooling, it increases your pay as an employee in the future. Additionally, the loan has a low-interest rate that is a plus compared to other investments.
However, a student loan can also be dubbed lousy debt. Imagine going to college and specializing in a field that you don’t have a passion for that should not be what you are going to do. After completion of studies, you get a job that doesn’t add value to you and annoying.
Remember, after all these hustles, paying back a loan that is just weighing you down? Make the right decision for good repayment periods.
This type of loan is one of the best you can delve on. It is averagely a good debt. Even though they are long-term loans, they tend to have low-interest rates that make them suitable to people.
The interest rates make it easy for you to have some money left for other investments. Additionally, the interest rate is tax-deductible, which becomes a bonus to you.
Though many people tend to think that the value of housing keeps on rising, you decide to make the right move. The trend may not be the same as to where you want to build or buy. Moreover, put into consideration all expenses that include property tax, utilities and home insurance.
Business debts come with one major question; will it increase your net worth? If the response is yes, that means that the debt is good. In a situation that it becomes a no, that automatically makes it a bad debt.
However, business debt is, most of the time, a good debt. With this mushrooming online businesses, it is easier to start up one with a small investment that can go along way in certain undertakings. Check the parameters to ensure the growth of the business, a surety to an increase in net worth.
8. Emergency Fund
Have you ever thought of how your life would be in the case of reduction? Would you survive for the next six months while looking for another job? If yes, you are on the right path. However, you need to dig deep if you can’t survive after losing your job.
A study done on Americans revealed that around 24 per cent (57 million people) don’t have an emergency fund. I bet you don’t want to be in the same picture. Because emergencies are never inevitable, having a backup plan is a way to go. Though we don’t know the exact time it will strike, being prepared is the better option.
How do you prepare for the emergency?
Preparing for an emergency is not something too big to worry about. You can do it, save some cash. In case you lose your job tomorrow or get retrenched, you can have some money to last you up to six or ten months.
Common emergencies you are likely to encounter:
- Medical overheads
- Car problems
- House repairs
- Job loss
- Natural calamity
Here is what might happen to you if you don’t have an emergency fund.
Smith works at Miktech Bureaus, earning a salary of $30,000 per month.
Smith’s only son, Clark falls ill while at school and taken to the clinic. After tests being made on him, he is referred for further tests. He undergoes several tests which prove futile as Clark’s health keeps on deteriorating.
After making several attempts in different facilities, a more advanced facility diagnoses Clark with some chronic illness, cancer of the limb.
Since the young boy is too ill, Smith walks to his bank for an emergency loan. After some hours, the credit of $20,000 is approved. Immediately, he deposits the cash into the hospital’s account to cater for medical bills.
After one week, Clarks becomes unstable and taken to the life support machine. The bill overwhelms, and Smith goes for some top-up at the bank which is granted. Additionally, he gets $25,000, which goes straight to cater to the medical bill.
Unfortunately, Clark passes on after a week of battling cancer. Smith is left distressed with the passing on and the outstanding loans plus the bills at the hospital, his life is complete hell.
With interest accruing day by day, Smith is left with a negative credit score. He has a 15% interest rate on loan got. It will take Smith 6 months to pay off the debt he got for hospital bills.
Moral of the Story
If Smith had some emergency fund, it could have helped him a great deal in managing the hospital bills.
9. Know your value – Net worth
Net worth is a complex field that people tend to shy off from most of the time. However, it’s simple. This is the worth of money you own.
In simple terms, net worth is the money you have after selling everything you own and paying all you owe people. In equation:
Net worth = What you own – What you owe
How do you arrive at this?
If you want to know your worth, create a list of all the assets you have and their current value, for example, money, investments, real estate, cars etc.
After compiling the list, allocate each asset with the estimated cost and add the total value of all assets.
Repeat the same process with liabilities. Create a list of liabilities like credit card debt, mortgage, student loan etc. From there, proceed to find the total estimated value of all the liabilities you have.
After finding the values, substitute for finding your net worth, for example
Net worth = What you own ($1,000,000) – What you owe ($300,000)
Net worth= $ 700,000
Given that the high net worth is positive, it implies that you are stable. What you have to do is to continue working to increase the net worth even more.
In case you have a negative net worth, all you need is review your budget to work a way out of increasing your worth. You don’t need to worry more if you have another pending loan.
It’s simple, re-calculate your net worth to be up to date with finances. Keep track of your finances; free tool Mint can help you track your net worth.
If you aspire to grow, begin investing when you are young. Your net worth will increase only if you choose the investment path.
Considering what other people say, do not be afraid to invest. People fear to invest in thinking they will lose when they invest. This is not the case, just invest.
Keeping your amount in the savings account will help you out during emergencies but not development. The truth of the matter is, money in the account loses value over time.
With the rampant inflation, an average savings account has a tiny 0.06% annual percentage yield. The inflation is at around 1.7%, that implies that yearly money in your savings account is less. In addition, it has less buying power.
To be ahead of the proliferating inflation, consider investing in real estate, lending, stocks etc.
11. Communicate with your partner
Money is so evil when it comes to relationship. It has been attributed to be the 100% relationship wrecker in couples’ home. However, the most significant way to deal with money issues is effective communication.
Talk to your partner on everything, including personal finances, to avoid wrangles. Have it in mind that you are a team and you must have teamwork.
When you communicate to each other, you can share financial goals and correct each other quite often. It can be a habit you form to meet maybe once or twice a month to chat over your finances with your better half.
Averagely, if you begin frequently talking with your fiancé on matters finance, you’ll build each other. Your relationship will be fun most of the times. You will be motivated to stay in the relationship and keep on building each other.
Be on the know. Money should not be the cause for your relationship downfall!
12. Look for a Side Hustle
Getting another side hustle means that you will be pocketing some extra coins. If you are not happy about the salary, you have currently, consider finding another hustle.
I bet you are struggling to be contented with what you are earning per month; would you mind getting some more cash? If yes, supplement your income with a side hustle.
If you are set, you can begin right away. But remember that a side hustle comes with a lot of sacrifices. You will need your free time to start working, making that extra cash.
The goodness of such hustling is that you will do it when you want it done. Additionally, starting a side hustle does not require much capital; you can begin with the little you have at hand.
Your effort is what will translate to the level of success. If you spend more time building your hustle, it will be successful in the end. Your sacrifices will guarantee your financial freedom in the future.
Do you need much for a side hustle?
The money factor is never the baseline in a side hustle. Determination is what matters; it is virtually limitless because the hustle is yours; it’s your decisions that count. If you are devoted to pumping more energy and resources, the hustle will grow more.
13. Read more on financial management
When you begin a habit of reading blogs, books or materials relating to personal finances, you are likely to manage your finances well. When learning, you will get the ropes on how to control finances.
Allocating a few hours, a week to learn new tricks will significantly impact on the way you manage your finances.
I got the habit of reading top financial management blogs in early 2017, and since then, I have never looked back. If you try it today, you’ll be astonished on how much you will be loaded with information within the shortest time.
Remember, it’s not just reading. You have to put the knowledge learnt into practice. Doing what you learn over some time will give room to new behaviours to set in.
So, when you get going with your habits, your financial health will change.
Note, no one will ever guide you or show you how to succeed with your finances; it’s you to do it yourself.
You need to take charge of your financial life. Start learning and spend more time practising how finances work, it’s possible, and you can do it!
14. Be Yourself Financially
Have you ever been wrapped up comparing your financial situation to a colleague? Or you want to be in the same lifestyle with your neighbour without considering essential factors? That’s why you should heed to finance tips.
Family and friends, at times, make us have unnecessary pressure. You would want to own that luxurious car your friend is having, but in the real sense, it’s not possible.
What should you do in such a situation?
The simple rule is staying within your means. If you are servicing the loan(s), by no means should you upgrade to a brand new car? Stay away from getting expensive apartments or going out frequently.
Even if you are tempted with the social media pictures of friends flaunting goodies, stay put. It is right to live comfortably instead of living beyond your means.
If you dare follow that path, you will plunge into a monster debt that will take time to come out from.
Don’t compare yourself with others; what you see may not be the real picture of what is happening. Be focused on the financial path you are following and soon or later, and you will triumph on your goals.
Here are the ways to build up your financial prowess;
- Invest in yourself by taking classes, buying courses or books.
- You can attend financial education seminars
- Find a side hustle to make extra cash
- Budget for finance app like Mint, Personal Capital to organize your investment.
15. Work up your Earning Potential
Knowing your worth is crucial if you aspire to meet your financial goals. It doesn’t have to be constant. It should be growing over some time.
At your place of work, you can begin working your way up to earn extra coins. Possibly, furthering your studies can guarantee you a promotion.
Alternatively, you can make salary discussions geared towards the company needs when in meetings. Tell your employers what they want to listen to – you care about the company needs.
Even if you need a big house or the latest car model, that’s not the business of the employer. Setting the pace as a good employee is what will give you an upper hand. When you want a pay rise, prove that you are the ideal employee with the company at heart.
You never know what may follow then, a promotion may come your way or the definite pay rise.
How do you know your earning potential if going for an interview?
If you have gone for an interview and asked about the salary estimates, would you quote? Would you remain silent or give approximations?
In negotiating instances, get the company to propose figures first. Imagine quoting an amount that will not give you room for arbitration. You may be lowballing or highballing without your knowledge.
If you let your employer propose the amount first, you can push them higher. The result may be doubles of what you thought of getting.
Besides, you can negotiate for more. You can engage your client on the working hours, official title, vacation time and leaves. Given that the employer has set room for negotiations, you can work to propose everything you have in mind and reach a consensus.
What Value to Talk About
When looking for employment for financial prosperity, don’t assume you don’t qualify. Many people tend to shy away by underquoting their abilities when job offers are made.
It’s a matter of trying out your luck. You never know that the job you are shying from could be the next big financial breakthrough you were meant to encounter.
What’s your next plan?
Having explored the beneficial finance tips, you are at liberty to make a sound decision. Do you contemplate beginning a new life journey? Do you want to get back your lost glory?
You can still stand up on your feet if you failed. Begin practising these simple tips, and soon your life will fall back into its rightful place.
- Be motivated
- Read widely and implement the ideas
- Avoid bad company
- Do what is right at the best time
If you can instill these routines into your life, you are good to go. Do not relent until you achieve the goals. Stay positive, and you will meet your financial prosperity!