Mind Over Money: Taking Control of Your Finances

Mind Over Money: Taking Control of Your Finances - jar of coins image

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Money isn’t everything in life, and it’s of course possible to be happy and fulfilled without a ton of it in the bank. However, it is still important. Money is what keeps a roof over your head, and food in your stomach. It’s what allows you to get around, and buy the things you need. Therefore, being able to effectively manage what you have (whether it’s a little or a lot) is one of the most important skills to have as an adult. If you know you’re not great with money or are beginning to struggle, here are a few simple tips to help you regain that control.

Create Budget

The first step to taking control of your finances is to know exactly what you’re spending. It’s so easy to buy a magazine here, a coffee there, spend a few dollars on lunch one day. But all these little purchases add up, and if you’re not careful are what will cause you to overspend. Start by working out your expenditures: exactly how much you have coming in and then what goes out. What each of your monthly bills, rent, groceries and everything else costs. That way, anything leftover is what you have to play with and only that. Ideally, you will have a bills bank account where all of the money for essentials is transferred as soon as you’re paid. That way your expendable income is completely separate, it never gets dipped into at all.

Reduce Your Outgoings

Once you know exactly what you’re spending on bills, you can take steps to reduce them if needed. A huge tv and internet package for example might take up a huge part of your budget. Do you really need this? Could you drop it down to a smaller package or even cancel it completely? With inexpensive streaming services like Netflix, you won’t be short on things to watch and could save yourself a huge lump of money each month. Could you be more careful with your gas and electricity usage to reduce your fuel bills? One area where most families overspend is with groceries. If you create a store cupboard with plenty of dry ingredients and seasonings, you can prepare healthy meals for far less than buying everything fresh. For example, wholemeal pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa and other healthy grains pair perfectly with a homemade sauce using canned vegetables, herbs, and spices, Add a little meat from the freezer, and you have a healthy and balanced means during leaner times with money. Making a shopping list before setting out is another way that you will save money since you’ll have a set plan and won’t be as tempted by impulse or unnecessary purchases.

Get a Handle on Debt

Borrowing money can sometimes be useful. It allows us to study or buy houses and cars that we’d never be able to afford outright. But it can also cause a lot of problems too. When you take out loans, credit cards, and store cards for example, it’s easy to live ‘beyond you means’ and end up overcommitted. Before you know it, you might be in a situation where each month you only have enough to cover the interest meaning no money is being taken off the debt, and it doesn’t go down. Speak to a debt charity if you’re in trouble, they will offer you invaluable and non-judgemental advice. If your debt is a student loan, it could be worth looking into Obama student loan forgiveness and seeing if you qualify.

Save For Unexpected Bills

Unfortunately, life has a way of throwing a curveball every now and again. Things are going fine one minute, and the next it’s all going wrong. An unexpected bill drops on your doormat, your car breaks down or your washing machine packs up. This can spell disaster if you’re not prepared. Having a savings account that’s for these kinds of problems can give you a buffer and make life so much easier. Rather than borrowing money, you can sort problems right away and not get into any further trouble.

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