Four Essential Steps to Manage Your Finances


Managing your money seems simple enough at first glance. After all, you may be aware that basic premises are to spend less than you earn and to save money regularly. However, given the fact that so many adults of all ages and educational backgrounds have trouble managing their personal funds, you can see that this is an area of your life that requires more strategic planning and forethought. Maybe you need to consider Atlanta credit repair to really help you get back on track. If you are ready to take charge of your personal finances at home, you can get started by walking through these helpful steps. 

Create Thoughtful Goals

If you regularly spend slightly less than or exactly the same amount of money that you earn, you will get nowhere fast with regards to achieving financial security or achieving other life goals, such as buying a home. Money may not buy true happiness, but it is essential for basic creature comforts and those little extras that make life better in different ways. Think about the many things that you want to accomplish within the next three to five years, and make a separate list of items that you need to accomplish within the many years following that. These are your short-term and long-term goals. Assign a specific target date to each of them, and research a realistic cost for them. With some basic math, you can determine how much money you should be saving each month to achieve your goals. Remember to add additional savings goals for retirement and to fund an emergency savings account.

Set a Budget

Now that you understand your savings goals, you need to create a budget that includes funding these goals. If you are like most people, you are spending too much money to properly save for everything that you want to accomplish in life. If this is the case for you, find ways to scale back. Remember that many people live far more extravagantly than they need to. At the basic level, you need food, shelter, utilities and perhaps transportation. Even the cost that you pay for some of these items can be adjusted with a few thoughtful changes. Be humble, and avoid the Joneses mentality so that you can achieve your many goals for the future.

Research All Purchases

Some people make huge purchases without fully understanding the full impact of their actions. For example, the true cost of owning a home extends beyond the mortgage payment. Property taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs, home and lawn care services, related equipment and supplies and more need to be taken into account. There are also costs associated with the purchase and the sale. Similar costs are associated with buying a car. If you plan to buy luxury items, such as a new pool for your backyard, understand the costs associated with financing an inground pool versus paying cash. For example, if you pay cash, you eliminate interest charges. However, you also eliminate the ability for your money to be invested and to grow intelligently.

Remember the Future

Regardless of your current age, you need to plan ahead for the years when you no longer want to work or are able to work. It is not reasonable to think that you would work until you take your last breath. Therefore, there will be many years and even decades of your life when you must survive without a paycheck. Not planning ahead for this time in your life will not make it go away. You must acknowledge the need to save for retirement, and you must regularly save money so that you are prepared for this time in your life.

As you can see, you do not need to consult with a financial advisor to take control of your finances. You simply need to be honest about your expenses and goals, and you need to incorporate everything into your budget. Your budget is not a goal. It is a representation of what your income and expenses currently are. In order to adjust expenses, you must first make legitimate changes to those expenses in real life. Implement these efforts, and you will be well on your way to properly managing your money.