Financial stability is a goal or even a priority on just about everybody’s list. When our finances aren’t in order, it causes a lot of stress. Let’s get real, when it comes to managing our finances it can be overwhelming especially in our 20’s when we feel like we’re supposed to have life all figured out. The good news is that the sooner you create a financial plan, the brighter financial future you’ll have.
Our money habits play a significant role in the success of our future. You don’t have to have it all figured out because what matters is that you at least get started. There’s so much to creating healthy money habits besides just opening a savings account. Fortunately, I have had some great financial advisors to keep me on track and even Sallie Mae out of my voicemail.
When you make a financial plan and set goals, your debt will decrease and your finances will increase. Here are some ways to help you manage your coins.
Write it out
Write out your debt, your income, investments, or anything you may have a financial obligation to. It’s uncomfortable at first but by writing it out, you get to see an overview of your finances. Also, keep in mind now that you’re seeing it all written out you’re one step closer to your financial success.
Create a budget
This is a key step to your financial success. There are many ways you can track your budget. There are apps, budget printables, or you can even create your own excel spread sheet. These will assist you in monitoring your income, debt, and expenses. It’s critical to this process to not only see but to understand where your money goes, so then you can improve your good and bad spending habits.
For me, this was the fun part. Where are you trying to take this journey? What are some things you to do? For me, my goals included an emergency fund, travel money, and I never wanted my account to go under a certain amount. Look at your life and how you want it to go financially. Have fun with this part.
Pay off your debt
Whether it’s student loans or even a credit card, it’s wise to create a repayment plan. This is where high-interest payments and low credit scores can occur if you allow your debt to increase. You want to have a low debt to income ration. There are great resources to assist you with the debt repayment process.
Here are my two favorite methods I use to pay off debt.
Debt Payment Challenges - I find these on Pinterest or through Google.
Dave Ramsey Snowball Method - This is a debt reduction strategy where you pay your debts in order of smallest to largest.
Live Below Your Means
This means it’s time to make some cutbacks and smarter financial choices ladies. Let’s first go into what I mean by cutbacks. Is there something you indulge in that you don’t really need? For some, it may be Starbucks, every 2 weeks manicure/pedicure, or even eating out all the time. I promise you can survive without it. Remember the bigger picture, financial freedom.
Living below your means is a way of living and for even me, it’s a lifestyle. It means to spend less than what you make. If you’re making $30K-$40K a year, don’t spend as if you’re making $70K. I’m sure everyone has heard the saying “keeping up with the Jones”, some people will try to live a lifestyle that they see on tv, social media, or even a life they wish they had. That’s a no no, let’s not do that. If you are living above your means, make the change today.
Increase your income
I’m not telling you to go get another job, ever heard of a side hustle. If you have time for a second job, go for it. However, having a side hustle is a common thing now. There are people who work full-time or part-time jobs with side hustles. I have friends who have more side hustles than they do jobs. I want to keep it real with you, side hustles take time, however, they are worth it. One word of advice, find a side hustle that interests you or even something you’re passionate about.
Open that savings account and create a savings plan. Make it fun, do a savings challenge with family or friends. There are tons of savings challenges on Pinterest (as you can see, I love Pinterest). Take your extra funds and put it away. As you start to see your balance increase, it’s going to push you to save money. Also, you can have multiple savings accounts for different things, but check with your bank first as some require you to keep a certain balance or even charge fees. My bank doesn’t so I have multiple savings accounts for different things. Try it - you may see that it works for you.
There is a lot of information out there that can help you. I hope that this is enough to get you started. Here’s to financial success and freedom. You got this!