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Are your earnings not enough to maintain the style of living you prefer? Perhaps you’re stuck in a vicious cycle of debt you want to get out of, or maybe you just want to start saving for a big financial goal like buying a house. Whatever the case, you can follow the tips below to gain control over your finances right away.
1. Start Budgeting
The best way to get control of your finances is to make a plan for your money. With a budget, you can see exactly where your money is going and where you need to adjust your spending to save money.
Begin by noting all the income you have coming in on a weekly or monthly basis. If you’re accustomed to getting a tax refund, include this money using a tax return calculator to get an accurate estimate.
Next, make a list of all your expenses and deduct them from your income. You’ll want to deduct everything including entertainment, eating out, and other irregular expenses. It’s at this point you’ll begin to see where changes can be made to better control your spending.
2. Get Financial Wisdom from Experts
Budgeting and gaining control of your finances isn’t a talent with which we’re all born. It’s a learned skill, and there are plenty of experts on the subject. You can gain better insight into your finances by reading books. Books on finance offer a wealth of information from how to get out of debt to building a solid investment portfolio. Head to your local library for free books and audiobooks on taking control of your finances.
3. Cut Expenses
It’s impossible to lower regular monthly expenses, like rent or your car payment. However, you can also reduce the variable expenses you incur. For example, you can change your car insurance or renter’s insurance provider to save money, or you can be more mindful of your energy usage to cut your utility bills each month.
Another way to cut monthly costs is to get rid of your cable TV. Cable TV costs are astronomical, but if you “cut the cord,” you could potentially save hundreds of dollars a month.
You don’t have to give up TV altogether. Cheaper streaming services like YouTube and Netflix allow you to watch your favorite shows for less than half the cost of cable. If you can’t live without cable TV, however, consider downgrading your package to fewer channels to save a little bit each month.
4. Stop Using Credit Cards
If you’re struggling financially and turn to credit cards to make ends meet, you’ll never get out of debt. To take control of your finances, you need to stop relying on credit cards for your everyday expenses. Stop using them altogether and begin paying their balances down – one card at a time – to get out of this financial trap.
5. Open a Savings Account
You may think you can’t afford to put money into savings, but if you think about how much money you blow on things like eating out or buying clothing. you’ll see that you can afford it if you cut back.
If you’re in the habit of eating out more than once a week, cut out one of these times and put that money into a savings account instead. Once you make a habit of it, you’ll be surprised at how fast it adds up.
Whether you don’t make enough to live the way you want to or you’re hoping to save up for a big financial purchase, the tips above will help you gain control of your finances.