Quick question: Do you seem to be losing your money as fast as you’re gaining it? Are your finances not as well taken care of as they should be? Here are some financial tips that will get you get back on track towards financial stability!
Step 1.) Assess Your Debt
In other words, find out where your money is going! The most important thing to do when you want to have financial stability is to make a general sweep of your accounts and find out just what exactly you are paying for. These could be credit card payments, loans, utilities, rent, gym memberships, the list goes on!
From there you want to just trim the fat- get rid of the things that you don’t need to spend $10/month for. If you aren’t going to the gym daily like you promised yourself Monday you may as well cancel that. Don’t watch shows frequently enough on either your Hulu or Netflix subscriptions? Prioritize which one you use for entertainment more and cancel the other. Cutting out that alone would be an extra $20-$60/month (depending where you get your gym membership and if you decide to remove both subscriptions)!
Also- Don’t eat out every day of the work week!
Seriously. An average of $10 per lunch and you’re looking at $50 a week (Not including maybe dinners over the weekend). Cut the meals altogether and you’re saving about $200 a month just by making yourself a sandwich instead of going to the nearby burger joint. Plus, its healthier in the long run (at least it should be).
Now that you got rid of the unnecessary monthly payments, it’s time to find out where your money SHOULD go to make payments easier. If you’ve watched our Debt-to-Income(DTI) Video , you know that principal interest, property taxes, private mortgage insurance and homeowners insurance should be about 30%. At least that’s recommended so that you could probably manage your budget.
Your next priority goes to any debts. That may include auto insurance, phone bills, health insurance, and internet. It all starts to pile up doesn’t it?
Finally you have your credit card debt (You could lump in student loans here if that’s something you’re paying off as well). We’ll get into detail with the next step on how to handle them.
Altogether, this is, admittedly, going to take a good portion of your monthly budget. But it should only be temporary! Afterall, you’re reading this because you are trying to save money right? So that means you are keeping spending at a minimum and you won’t be going out on shopping sprees of any sort.
Now credit cards can get out of control pretty quickly the more you have. 3-4 may be manageable but you are already looking at doing about $100/month just for minimum payments. Some quick advice to get these debts out of the way can be done in two different ways. There is the avalanche method and the snowball method.
With the avalanche method you are paying with the highest interest rate first. For example, you have four credit cards, and you budget $200 for monthly payments (you’ll have that extra hundred from not eating out so often, remember?). The three with the lowest interest rate you’ll do the usual minimum payment. The rest of the money will go to the fourth credit card with a high interest rate. It is ideal to pay with this method because the credit card with the highest interest rate will, overtime accrue high interest, which means you’ll be paying more over time.
The snowball method prioritizes getting rid of the highest balance of the four credit cards. This example has the same $200 budget. Now, instead of paying based on interest, you are paying based on balance, starting with the smallest. This may not be an ideal method if you have credit cards that are on the verge of hitting their limit, which is something you don’t want to do as it affects your credit score. Specifically, having a credit balance that is over 30% of the credit limit can look pretty bad if kept for a long period of time. But alternatively, you do close the credit cards with the lower balances quicker, which gives a nice psychological boost towards paying off all your debts.
After a couple of months of reducing your credit card debt (ideally if you’ve paid them all off) you’ll be left with some extra cash at the end of the month. But that should be saved for investments and retirement.
The three main components of figuring out how to stop wasting cash is assessing your money flow, budgeting your income, and eliminating credit card debt. No good thing was ever easy, but overcoming these mountains of financial stress could result in some well earned relief and happiness. Plus, it’ll allow for proper investing into projects, vacations, or just your future in retirement!
Stay tuned for Part II where I’ll discuss how to best use any extra cash that you could have. Comment below any comments, questions, or just give us a a shout out!
Special thanks to the subreddit r/personalfinance for the information.