Most people only worry about getting their personal finances in order when they are struck by a major life event, such as having a baby, getting married, filing for divorce, being audited or even after a natural disaster.
Taking control of your personal finance should not be something too difficult and intimidating if you are motivated and especially if you do it before any major events happen. See below a few tips on what you can do to get it back in track.
The very first step, as mentioned, is to be committed and motivated. You should dedicate yourself to go through everything and not overlook any potential financial issue you have and review it with professionals of the finance industry like Southeast Financial. Ordering a credit report, even if you are not going after a new credit card or a loan, should be a good place to start, as it can give you an insight of many different parts of your financial life. Many private businesses offer detailed reports, and by federal law, the three large credit bureaus are required to provide yearly reports.
Gathering your financial paperwork, such as utility bills, bank and credit card statements, mortgage, insurance and any other financial obligations and debts is also very important. Determining what your financial obligations are will allow you make arrangements and create strategies to pay down your debts be prepared in your calendar for all payment dates.
A great personal finance habit you should acquire is to organize all your financial documents. Nowadays, it is even easier as everything can be done digitally and have multiple backups. Try to keep everything as organized as possible, labeling all your documents and grouping it by tax year.
You should definitely create a budget if you don’t already have one. Write down your fixed expenses, then your discretionary expenses, like shopping, eating out and entertainment. Once you create your budget, stick to it as best as you can. Write down on it every purchase you make to see where your money is going to every month, and you can see how well you are behaving by seeing how much of your budget you are actually spending. There are many online personal finance apps and software that can provide you budgeting services, or you can stick to the traditional spreadsheets.
Debt elimination should be your main priority if you happen to have any. Like a disease, if not treated it can spread and cause other issues to your financial and mental health. Rule of thumb is that you should pay at least twice the minimum payment amount plus charges every month.
If you have more than one or two credit cards, there is no need to have additional ones, as this can cause more financial confusion and further increase your debt. And while you are indebted, try to pay for as many things in cash and debit cards as possible, so if you don’t buy anything that you are not able to pay for at that exact moment.