Financial Wellness is a critical aspect of your family’s overall wellness, and it’s important to focus on how to improve your finances. While money doesn’t create happiness, it does affect our body and mind in severe ways if there is a lack of it. You must take control of your family’s finances because in doing so you will be less stressed every month. You will be in control of your financial situation, and most importantly you will be prepared in case of a financial emergency.
As with everything it is important to take baby steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Not to mention when you break it up into small steps it is easier to stay organized as well as you will continue to be motivated because of your little successes.
Here are 18 Small Steps to Help Improve Your Finances in 2018
Create Goals and Share Them
No matter what you are trying to accomplish in life, you must think about what you want to achieve and create goals. Not only should you develop goals, but you should also write them down and then share them. You can share them with whoever you want, but this adds a measure of accountability.
Learn about Personal Finance
You wouldn’t want a person operating on you who haven’t been to medical school so why would you handle your finances without a basic understanding of personal finance and it’s essential terms and definitions? Take some time to do some reading, learn and understand the basic concepts of saving, compound interest, debt, and investing. With the combination of the knowledge as well as your goals, you will be empowered to transform your financial situation.
Sit Down and Examine Your Relationship with Money
How you feel about your money, and your foundational beliefs about money will shape your success/failure with money. Your past, your childhood, your current situation all develops your feelings and your relationship with money. It is essential to sit down and know how you feel about money, why you do certain things, why you think the way you do. All of this information will help you to learn how to manage your money better. Not to mention you might learn something new about yourself that will help you to change your future.
Institute Family Financial Meetings
At a minimum set up family financial meetings so that you and your spouse (or significant other) are on the same page. Being on the same page and meeting regularly will help you to have a healthier relationship. Working together to develop a plan and a budget it will minimize any blaming if a situation arises.
Calculate Your Net Worth
If you are just starting out of your financial journey or if you have been managing your money well in the past it is important to view an overview of where you stand. Working through a net worth statement will help you to examine and understand where you are what assets you have and what debts you have.
Get Your Financial Items Organized
Are you always late paying your bills because you can’t find them? Are your bills piling up? Getting organized will make a huge difference in managing your money. I highly recommend setting up a Financial Binder or Money Management Binder. Also, it is crucial you have a plan when bills come in so that they don’t get overlooked or misplaced.
Plan for a Rainy Day
Whether you plan or not the rainy day is coming! It isn’t a matter if it will happen it is a matter of when it will happen. You need to have an emergency savings fund in place. It doesn’t matter if it’s a car accident, if someone hacks your account or if you need to get a new tire. You don’t want to stress if one of these situations arises. So start planning today it will make all the difference.
Examine Your Spending Habits
Do you know where all your money goes? Do you know how much money you spend in a day? If you can’t answer these questions then not only do you need to review the past 3 to 6 months of your bank statements. You also need to carry a small notebook and write down everything you spend money on during the day. I am sure this will be a wake-up call for some of you. If you want to improve your finances, this is a must do.
Automize Your Bills
It may sound like a simple thing, and it is, but it will make a huge difference. Setting up automatic bill payments will help you remember so your payment is never late again. Not only will you never be late again it will help you free up time and help you to be more organized.
Plug Money Leaks
After you have examined your, spending it’s time to plug the leaks. Do you pay $4 or $5 every day for coffee or soft drinks? These small items add up over time. To take control of your, financial situation, you must plug the leaks and quit throwing your money away.
Sign up for Direct Deposit
If you don’t already get your paycheck, via direct deposit, you are missing out. When you get your paycheck via direct deposit, the money will be automatically added to your account. You don’t have to worry about checks or going to the bank anymore. Finally most of the time you will get paid sooner when you sign up for direct deposit.
Automize Your Savings
As soon as your paycheck a percentage of it should automatically go into your savings account. With our bank, we can set it up with a particular dollar amount or a percentage. Once again because it automatically does it, you save time, but also you don’t see that money in your account. Therefore, you are less likely to spend it.
Start Paying off Debt
If you have debt of any kind, you must do everything in your power to do whatever you can to pay it off as quickly as possible. Having debt will burden you and feel like there are rocks on your back. It’s time to break free and become debt free. Use either the snowball method or the avalanche method but start paying towards your debt.
Use Tools to Help You Manage Your Money
In today’s world, there is a ton of tools that can help you manage your finances that much easier. There are a ton of apps for your phone that will help you save money, invest money, get rebates back on your purchases. Some of my favorites include Digit, Acorns, Ebates, and Ibotta. Of course, you also have apps to help you budget, and pay off debt. If you are more a pen and paper person like me than create a binder to house all your personal financial information. If you are unsure where to start check out my 2018 Financial Wellness Planner Printable Set.
Simplify Your Home & Your Digital Life
Your first step is to go paperless as much as possible. This will be a huge step not only for the fact you will have less paper all around you, but you will be more organized. We just get a paper bill once every few months they all come to our emails or straight to our bank account. I then copy them to Evernote, write them down on the calendar.
Simplifying your home sounds like it would be the opposite of saving money but trust me when you can know where everything is you will spend less money by not buying things you already have.
Go ahead start cleaning out your email box (unroll.me), your digital files, your paper files, declutter your entire house. Not only will it save you money, but it will be easier to stay organized, and you will be less stressed.
Start Meal Planning
Groceries are one of the most significant sections of some people’s budget, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With setting aside a little time each month or even each week, you can create a meal plan. With using coupons, meal planning and stopping extra trips to the grocery store you will be able to stop spending so much at the grocery store. I use a small section in my planner to plan weekly meals, and then I create my grocery list in Picniic. I keep all my recipes in Paprika Recipe Manager so that I can access them no matter when I go. Meal planning will change your life no more arguments about what to eat for dinner.
Try a No Spend Month
Have you heard of a No Spend Month? If no you can read more about it here! There are so many reasons you should complete a no-spend month! Do you need to reset your finances after a holiday such as Christmas, or even Back to School time? Are you trying to save your emergency fund up, want to travel or just to add the money to your savings for a future large purchase. No matter your reason a no spend month will help you achieve your goals plus it is a challenge, so that makes it fun.
Find Ways to Make Extra Money
Whether you are trying to pay off debt or just build your savings sometimes you just need extra cash. There are several ways you can make a little extra money. You can take surveys on opinion outpost, use Ebates, or start your side hustle. If you want to go a more traditional route get a second job or a weekend job, a little extra money can go along way when you are trying to pay off debt or build your savings account.
Remember no matter where you are on your financial journey it only takes one small step to change your future path. Don’t wait for start now! Make 2018 your best year yet.