Home Money & Finance 11 Things You Can Implement Today to Improve Your Financial Situation

11 Things You Can Implement Today to Improve Your Financial Situation

by Olufisayo
Improve Your Financial Situation

In a world that offers an array of possibilities, many people live financially handicapped lives. A wealth of knowledge exists to combat a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, but when money is tight, everything feels overwhelming and hard to achieve.

Improve your financial situation slowly but surely by implementing these 11 steps.

Improve Your Financial Situation

Tally Debt

We stand little chance of building any momentum toward re-paying our debt if we don’t even know how much we owe. Write down your balance for each account, the interest rate, and the minimum payment. Some simple math should give an outlook of where your debt is headed if you continue your ways.

Create a Budget

Just 41 percent of Americans keep a budget. This is a central reason why Americans don’t have savings and aren’t investing for retirement. Whether an app or a notebook is more your style, all that matters is getting serious about setting spending goals and tracking your purchases. Doing so is integral to becoming financially secure.

       

Automate Bill Payments

Cybersecurity concerns may cause some to fear online banking, but its conveniences are unmatched. Any institution that offers online banking also provides the option to set recurring payments. Do it once and never worry about missing a payment again.

Use Cash Instead of Card

Every major bank tempts consumers to sign up for their cards with generous welcome bonuses and rewards points for common spending categories. These rewards cards can be a financial tool if the monthly balance is paid off. But for most people, they are nothing but trouble. When you develop your budget, consider using a cash envelope system for spending areas that don’t come with a specific bill, like groceries.

Meal Plan Your Grocery List

Grocery shopping can be an extremely satisfying—or maddening—experience depending on how one approaches the task. It can also be a cost-effective, or expensive trip. The differentiating factor is the presence of a grocery list.

Not any list will do, though. Your list needs to turn into a variety of meals you’ll want to eat. Focus on affordable foods with substantial nutritional value, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, Greek yogurt, spinach and canned tuna. Also understand that the same foods can taste wildly different with seasonings, sauces, and cooking techniques, so if you’re feeling limited in your menu, keep changing things up!

Set an Emergency Fund Goal

Some say emergency funds are overrated, arguing that if we live within our means, then we’ll be able to afford a surprise expense. That may be true, but it’s not relevant advice for anyone in a precarious financial situation. Emergency funds should cover three-to-six months of living expenses, and even longer if the job search forecasts to be longer. Keep your emergency fund in a high-interest savings account and add to it monthly.

       

Improve Personal Security

The average person these days has dozens, if not hundreds of accounts. Not all carry the same level of sensitivity, but if the same passwords are used across accounts, one breach could compromise identity and financial information.

Password managers generate unique passwords for every account and encrypt them behind a master password. The other thing to do is set two-factor authentication on sensitive accounts. Yes, it’s a slightly longer process than typing the same password and logging in, but it’s infinitely more secure.

Find a Better Car Insurance Policy

How long have you been with the same auto insurer? When was the last time you had an accident or major traffic offense? If the answer to both of these questions is “a while,” then you might be due for a better premium. Ask your insurer for loyalty and good driver discounts; and get quotes from other providers. It’s also worthwhile to review your coverage levels to see if you’re paying for anything you don’t need.

Reevaluate Your Phone Plan & Bill

Cell phones are one of those things people are reluctant to give up no matter how much they’re struggling financially. At the same time, smartphones are widespread technology. The sheer amount of choices on the market means there’s likely a better deal to be had. Consider switching to a pay-per-use plan and taking advantage of any public Wi-Fi when it’s available (which is almost always these days).

Ask for Better Terms on Financial Products

Though financial products always come with lengthy terms and conditions, things are never set in stone. If they were, entrepreneurs like Andrew Housser would not have been able to launch debt relief and consolidation companies for people looking for debt help. Lower interest rates, adjusted monthly payments and grace periods are all negotiable. Explain your situation and ask your creditor if they can meet you in the middle.

       

Change Your Tax Withholding

The government wouldn’t give you an interest-free loan, so there’s no reason you should either. Claiming a higher amount on taxes will increase your paycheck and allow you to make more progress on your debt and emergency fund. You may end up owing some money in taxes, so be sure to put a little away each month.

Radically changing your ways in any area of life requires motivation and discipline. While there are hundreds of ways to improve your finances, the above strategies will get you headed in the right direction.

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