Personal finance is the management of an individual's financial needs, which include saving, spending, borrowing and investing. Many people neglect their personal finances because they don't know how important it is to keep track of what money they have coming in and going out. For example, if there was a large balance left on the credit card at the end of the month, it would be easy to spend more because you wouldn't know how much is left.
Having an idea of where your money is at all times can help you to save or spend responsibly. If there was no credit card balance, it might be easier to avoid impulse buys so that you can enjoy your savings later on. Additionally, having organised finances means that it will be easier to make purchases when the time is right.
For example, if you are saving for a house deposit, you might want to shop around for the best mortgage rate. If you have your personal finances organised, it would be easy to do this by finding out where you stand financially, how much credit card debt you have and how much money you make. You could even get financial advice from a professional to help you with your decision, which will save you time spent trying to figure it out yourself.
When your finances are organised, it will be easier for you to plan the short and long term life goals that you wish to achieve. These might include saving for a wedding or to buy a house and/or paying off debt or raising children.
It is important to keep track of your personal finances because it will help you achieve your goals and smooth out the bumps along the way. Having an organised financial plan means that you won't be caught by surprise when something unexpected happens, such as an increase in the cost of living. It will also ensure that you are financially responsible, which means that you won't be tempted to spend money impulsively or borrow more than you can afford.
Here are 5 effective ways to ensure that your personal finances are in order.
Create a budget
A budget lists out what you earn every month along with what you need to spend on monthly costs like rent/mortgage, groceries, bills, etc. Then it gives the leftover amount so you have extra money left over for fun stuff! By listing out everything coming into and leaving your possession during one month, you'll get a better idea of how you're spending your money and see where you can cut back or maybe even earn more.
On top of creating a budget, you should also maximize your saving ability.
Use credit wisely and pay off the debt ASAP
Think about it: when you use cash to purchase something, you actually feel the impact of what it takes to buy that item, which may lead you to decide not to purchase it. When using a card, however , this pain-free spending is much easier than with cash because swiping doesn't mean anything other than for fun — making it easy for us to forget we're actually spending money here!
The longer we stay in consumer debt (meaning we owe money but aren't paying interest), the harder it becomes to dig ourselves out and the bigger the interest we'll have to pay on that debt. Next time you think about buying something, make sure you're able to purchase it by only using funds on the card which you already have saved up for this expense.
Find out your credit score to avoid nasty surprises down the road
Your credit score is a number that's given based on how "credit worthy" you are, mainly based on your previous history of borrowing and repaying debts. It can affect what kind of mortgages, loans, etc. you get from different banks as well as whether or not they offer low rates or high ones. You can check your credit score by going to sites like Clearscore for free.
Follow the 20/10 Rule
By following this rule, you'll be able to budget for necessities and fun things alike!
The rule is simple: every time you earn $20, you will put 10% of that into a savings account until it reaches $200. Every time you reach $200, take out the money and spend it how YOU want to. This way, you can set aside some of your earnings without feeling like you've deprived yourself — and if one month comes up where absolutely nothing's going on, use that unneeded money saved in your "fun" fund to splurge guilt-free.
Invest in your retirement
When we turn older, we become eligible for two main types of retirement benefits, including SMSF’s and employer-provided plans. Each plan, however, will give you different amounts of money that depend on the amount you earned over your lifetime. Though it's not mandatory that we take full advantage of our employer provided plans (and self-employed workers aren't eligible to participate in them), employers who offer matching contributions for 401k/403b plans are basically providing free money if you contribute to your workplace savings. This is because they agree to match a certain percentage of what you put in up to a maximum amount which usually equals about 3%-6% of your salary.
By checking your credit score and creating a budgeting plan, you'll gain control over your finances and be able to do the things listed here! Remember, however, that you are responsible for your own money . So it's up to you to take control so that even when life throws curveballs at us, our finances will be one thing we don't have to worry about.