7 Personal Finance Essential Tips
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Identify fixed and variable expenses and vet your variable expenses
Make an exhaustive list of all your monthly and yearly expenses. Don’t delay this — Do it now.
Which ones can be done without? Be honest, and start cutting. This is the first step towards financial maturity.
Come up with a plan for conquering your debt
The first thing to do is create a debt payoff plan. Is there anything that you can do to get rid of your debt faster?
Your plan should include all of your outstanding debts, including credit card balances, home loans, student loans, personal loans and more.
Can you take on a side hustle to make extra money?
Can you negotiate with the creditor to reduce rates?
Or cancel some of these accounts altogether?
Your plan should be personalized for your circumstances and it will make a big difference in how quickly you can pay off your debt.
Have an Emergency Contingency Fund of at least half a salary
This fund is to cover unexpected costs that we all have to deal with at some point. Time off work, car repair, house appliance replacement. These things can and do happen to everyone — be prepared!
It should not be used for things like buying a new TV or going on vacation — this type of fund covers unexpected costs that may be incurred during the course of employment and can help to avoid financial ruin and high interest loans in times of crisis.
Be frugal even when doing well
Being frugal is not just about saving money. Being frugal means you are thinking ahead of time and investing in something for future purposes as well as learning to be happy with the essentials.
Never visit the supermarket when you’re hungry
Tips for frugality:
-Spend your money wisely and use the cash for what it is meant to be used for.
-Don’t spend money on things you don’t need.
-Start saving as early as you can and never stop.
-Find your friends and family who are motivated to save and learn from them.
-Figure out where you can cut back on spending, then do it.
After a certain point, more money doesn’t mean more happiness
There is a correlation between happiness and wealth. But there seems to be a tipping point.
This doesn’t mean that you should never buy anything for yourself and live like a monk. Instead, there are many things that we can do to be frugal when we are doing well financially so that we don’t fall off the happiness cliff when our income increases past the tipping point.
Start building a retirement fund early
Millennials are struggling to save for retirement, but starting early can help. The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. Even if you’re young and just earning minimum wage, ideally you should be socking away 10% of your salary per month in a high-interest savings account or reliable ETF.
Learn how to negotiate with your lenders (and in general)
Negotiation is an important skill to have, especially when it comes to your finances. Learn the different ways you can negotiate with your lenders and how to get the best deal.
Be proactive by always checking your bills as they arrive and generally not putting things off
It’s all too common for modern adults to have unpaid bills that have been sitting around for, sometimes, over a year. Late payments and their fees can creep up on you and leave you paralyzed.
People make bad decisions when they’re facing financial strain
Don’t put things off. If you’re having difficulty in making the decisions you know are right it’s very helpful to find someone you can talk about your issues. We often avoid talking about these things in fear of embarrassment or that the other person will think we are looking for a loan. If no one comes to mind, asking an anonymous question on Quora or Reddit can be of great help.
Financial issues are extremely common so you’re definitely not alone — even if it feels like it at times. The benefit is that there are tonnes of people out there that have gone through the same problems you have. Listen to their advice and apply it. Just remember to be a little patient and keep track of your progress.