Wise money management is essential for a balanced, happy life. Financial stress resulting from poor money management skills can affect our capacity to make good decisions, harm our relationships, affect physical and mental health, and ultimately to function well in life. It is no exaggeration to say that poor money management breaks up marriages and breaks down hope. Yet, money management is a skill which can be learned. Even if financial problems are largely the result of just not earning enough income, good money management skills can reduce the stress of these circumstances and provide a bit more mental room to focus on solutions.
Here are five tips for starting to manage your money wisely, which, if applied, will improve the overall quality of your life:
1. Know where your money is going
It is important to stop the financial leakage. We all know what it is like to have our money dribbling away one coin or one note at a time. It is important to pay attention to our spending. It can be very helpful to record all expenditure for a set period of time just so you know where your money is going. Prepare to be shocked; most people have no idea how much money is being lost to unnecessary expenses. Once you know where your money is going, you can curtail unnecessary expenses.
2. Plan a budget and stick to it
You can design your own, or get a free budgeting form off the internet. Make sure at least some of your money goes to debt reduction and savings. Create a budget that will meet your financial obligations and if you have to cut down on certain expenditures to live within your budget then do so. Once you remove the stress of financial insufficiency through good money management, you will find you are able to improve your financial circumstances gradually. This is next to impossible when you are overspending.
3. Pay yourself first
Treat yourself as your most important creditor. Determine an amount that can be saved weekly, fortnightly or monthly for long term purposes and emergencies and save it regardless. Somehow we manage to find the money for the phone bill, the rent etc. so much decide to find the money for savings. This money management decision is life changing as over time it leads to financial independence.
4. Automate your payments
When things get stressful and we become overwhelmed with financial worries, our financial affairs can get out of control very quickly. Internet banking can solve a lot of this problem. If a part of your problem is that your income is inadequate, then automate some or most of your payments. Doing this, releases the stress of having to find the money for a lot of different payments. You may still be short one or two payments but it is easier to look for a solution for one or two payments as opposed to six or seven. Effectively, automating your payments saves you time and stress and helps you to take control of your financial affairs.
5. Consolidate your debts
If you are able to consolidate a number of debts into one loan at the lowest possible interest rate, your monthly expenditure will decrease, sometimes by a lot. If you own your own home, you will be able to get a home equity loan at comparatively low interest, which is a better option than a personal loan.
These money management tips can improve the quality of your life by helping you take back control of your finances, reduce stress, increase savings and make better long term decisions regarding your spending.