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Money Moves to Kick Finances In Gear

No matter where you are at in your finances, we could all use a little improvement.  After all, it’s important to minimize spending, maximize savings, be prepared in case of emergencies, not to mention having a solid savings to live off during retirement.  That can be quite the burden to put on your shoulders so it’s important to work with your significant other that you share finances with, or if finances are on your own, then a close family member or friend that are you are able to bounce ideas off as well can help.  Of course, you can always get assistance from a financial advisor as well, but a good start would be to ensure that you are at least following some money behaviors to set yourself up for personal finance success.

Build Up an Emergency Fund

You never know what life will throw at you.  You can be plugging along at your job and have a sudden layoff at work, which could take months to find new employment.  Your car could all of a sudden need repair, or your furnace could go out right as winter hits.  If one of those financial setbacks, how would you cover?  Well, if you don’t have anything saved to this point, most likely a credit card.  If you can keep a few months total worth of expenses in an account, you can be prepared.

Reduce Unnecessary Expenses

You may be asking yourself how are you going to find extra money laying around to build an emergency fund.  Well, reduce expenses.  That can be a combination of refinancing your mortgage to a lower rate, reducing energy use, driving a less expensive car, or looking at what you’re spending your money on a monthly basis and see if you can reduce.  Take a look at your bank or credit card statement from the previous month and circle what could have been avoided.  A great place to cut is going out to eat and replacing with going grocery shopping and prepping breakfast, lunch, and dinner from home, not to mention drinks and snacks, and watch the savings grow.

Maximize Credit Card Rewards

With so much competition of credit cards on the market these days, they are fighting with each other for your business, so why settle on a card that could not give anything back in return.  If you take advantage of a rewards credit card, you can earn either points, miles, or cashback just on making the purchases you would have made anyways, so don’t leave free money on the table and take advantage of rewards.  Now just make sure you don’t start overspending just to earn the rewards and risk having trouble paying back.

Or Use Cash Instead of Credit

If you just don’t trust yourself with a credit card and saving the risk of charging up too much and not being able to pay the statement balance before the interest payments start taking over, then maybe you put the credit card aside and start just using a set amount of cash for the month.  At least this way you can budget how much you can spend in a month, and once the cash runs out, that’s it until the next paycheck.  Maybe actually seeing the cash leave your hand and into the cash register may give second thought to impulse purchases.

Increase Savings Contributions

Now that expenses are starting to free up a little extra money each month, then the focus should be increasing contributions to savings.  After all, the longer you wait to make saving a priority, the less you will have in retirement.  Hopefully at this point you are contributing to a 401(k) account at work, and if you aren’t, the time to start is now, and take a look to see about matching contributions from your employer, of which if you contribute that maximum, you can avoid leaving any free money on the table otherwise.

Change Overall Behavior

You can have plenty of ways to increase your personal finance but it really starts with your behavior, and wanting to commit to reducing spending, increasing savings, in order to stay out of debt and put yourself in the best position not only now, but the future as well.  Keeping a tighter grasp of your finances will only help you in the end.  It’s not about being cheap, it’s about being smarter with your hard-earned money in order to maximize your financial impact in the present and the future, so continue to monitor going forward.

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