Happy Easter everybody! As we remember the historical significance of Easter, it is also a great opportunity to view your own finances in the same way. Everything might look like doom & gloom right now, but, in a moment that all changes!
List Your Current Financial Struggles
What is holding you back financially at the moment?
Is it credit card debt, student loans, a home mortgage, or simply not having an idea of how you spend your money?
Take a few seconds and list what your largest financial expenses?
Here are some for starters:
- Any existing monthly payments (credit cards, car loans, the monthly mortgage, etc.)
- Any other monthly subscriptions like Netflix, cable tv, phone, etc.
- How much you spend dining out during your work lunch breaks or at supper when you come home from work or go to soccer practice.
Make a Financial Checklist
The next step is to make a plan to improve your finances. Just because it's finally Spring and it stay light outside until 9 p.m. doesn't mean money will start growing on trees. You need to be deliberate with your actions.
You might consider making a financial checklist that has two primary objectives:
- Rebalance your budget to reflect your new financial goals
- Discover ways to earn additional money
If you aren't doing so already. You should be tracking your expenses with a money app or on pen & paper. It only takes a few minutes each week & is a quick way to see if you are on track to meet your financial goals.
The secret to improving your finances is spending less than you earn.
The most efficient way to do this is, is by tracking your spending.
Make Spending and Savings Goals
Once you have an accurate idea of what you spend your money on each month, take your spending data & the list of your financial struggles to make spending & savings goals.
You should give priority to two areas:
- Start an emergency fund that can cover $1,000 emergency
- Make extra loan payments on your most expensive debt
Your new “financial life” isn't just living for the moment, it's preparing for the future so that you can finally escape the past.
Instead of thinking you have to spend every last penny of your paycheck on experiences and extra value meals, putting away money in a savings account (preferably at least 10% of your take-home pay) can allow you to earn passive income and pay for cash for your future purchases instead of taking on another monthly payment.
Follow-Through On Your Goals
Making goals is a good place to start, but, you need to follow-up to make sure you accomplish them.
That means you & your spouse should sit down and your review your spending for a few minutes (literally no more than 15) at least once a month. Find an accountability partner if you must.
Read personal finance literature like Dave Ramsey.
Share your goals on social media.
There're lots of tools available.
The desire to change & asking for help can make your dreams a reality.
Boost Your Earning Potential
In addition to cutting expenses, option#2 to improve your finances is increasing your income.
You may decide to earn a side income in your free time or try launching a side business with the intention of earning a replaceable income in time.
You may not have the time, need, or desire to do a side hustle. You can also make some quick bucks by selling your unwanted belongings on sites like Craigslist, Amazon, and eBay as you declutter your house.
Finally, be glad and confident as you see your finances and quality of life improve. Just because you may have made innumerable financial blunders in the past, doesn't mean that you have to continue repeating history forever.
Along with practicing sound money habits, using additional financial resources, and having a positive attitude. You have plenty to smile about!
Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.