Five Ways to Get Your Personal Finance Back on Track in 2018by Courtney Myers Professional Writer and Editor
You may have started this year out inspired. In January, every goal seems reachable and there’s no such thing as aiming too high. Then, cold and bleak February rolls around and suddenly you find yourself slacking off just a little. By the time the spring and summer arrive, that to-do list is a bygone artifact and you’re right back to your old ways. If you’re part of the 53% of Americans who vowed to save more money in 2018, how’s that looking now? If you’d like do to better, you’re not alone. Personal finance is a journey and like any good one, it has its share of ups and downs. If you’re currently in the valley, here are a few ways out.
1. Start small.
Are you currently swimming in debt? If so, it’s impossible to duck underwater, hold your breath for 30 minutes and swim to shore without coming up for air. To make any sort of progress, you’ll have to take your time and chip away at the issue problematically. This might mean saving just $5 a week until you feel comfortable adding to that sum. The key is to simply start and make an effort to move forward. By doing it this way, you’ll be more likely to be consistent and stick with it.
2. Take advantage of technology.
Sure, you might have learned how to balance a checkbook in grade school and you carry around a manual, sliding tip calculator in your wallet at all times. While these traditional tools are valuable in their own right, there are so many more options available at your fingertips. Thanks to the tech revolution, there are now myriad software programs and financial apps available that make tracking your financial progress as simple as tapping a screen. Do a little research and find one that fits your focus. Even if it costs $1 or so to download, it will more than pay for itself if it can get your spending back on track.
3. Stay accountable.
We all need accountability partners in our lives. They’re there to keep us on the straight and narrow and convince us to make good choices while mentoring us against making the wrong ones. As such, an accountability partner is a vital asset to have by your side as you navigate personal finance. If possible, find someone with a deep understanding of your personal situation, as well as a knowledge base on smart saving. If you don’t know anyone who fits this bill, ask your local community bank. Chances are you’ll find an associate more than willing to help you understand the importance of handling your money carefully, and as a bonus, you may even learn more about complex topics like investing.
4. Record everything.
You can’t stay true to your savings goals if you don’t have a clear picture of where your money is going. Make it a point to record every transaction, both credits and debits, so you never have to be surprised by a charge again. While traditional checkbook registers work great for this scenario, don’t forget about the mobile apps you have at your disposal as well. You’re far more likely to keep track of on-the-go purchases if you can enter them quickly while in the store rather than waiting until you get home to remember.
5. Prioritize your interests.
At the beginning of your personal finance journey, you might have made it a point to cut every single unnecessary expense. That meant things like magazine subscriptions, laundry service and even cable television went out the window. Suddenly, you’re sitting on more cash than you had originally, but you’re bored and have nothing to spend it on. Rather than eliminate every costly thing that brings you joy, prioritize what you enjoy doing the most and reduce or get rid of the rest. If you like going out to the movies, for instance, you can still visit the theater once a month or so. You may just need to eat one or two meals at home to counteract it. The key is balance, and with it, you’ll reach consistency.
Taking the First Step Toward Financial Freedom
These five steps are far from revolutionary, but they’re basic enough to serve as solid building blocks as you create your financial foundation. Along the way, you’ll receive tons of advice, both solicited and not, from those who have been there. Listen to your mentors and read the literature but remember that ultimately, personal finance is exactly that -- personal. What works for one person might not work for you and that doesn't mean the approach is wrong. Over time, you’ll learn to tweak these methods to fit your lifestyle. You may even find that saving money can be a fun adventure if you look at it the right way!
Created on Apr 5th 2018 21:37. Viewed 1,124 times.