Getting your personal finances better organized should save you time, spare you stress and swell your disposable income. Here are some strategies that could deliver a favorable return for what is usually only a small investment of effort.
- Track your spending
Do you know how much you spent on eating out last month? Or buying petrol? What gets measured gets managed so the first step towards gaining control of your finances is working out where your dollars go.
- Pay yourself first
Most people pay their bills first, then spend, and save, whatever is left over. Many of those people never achieve significant financial security. Counterintuitive as it seems, many have found the ‘pay yourself first’ method is the road to wealth. When money comes in, set aside a certain amount for personal spending and, ideally, saving first. Only then start dealing with other outgoings.
- Have some savings for an emergency
Even if you’re not much of a saver, you should have enough money stashed away to cover your living expenses for at least three months. You may never have to draw on this money but knowing you have some breathing space, should calamity strike, provides priceless peace of mind. Plus, if something does go wrong you won’t have to immediately resort to maxing out credit cards or taking out emergency loans with punishing interest rates.
- Do you have a store card, a couple of credit cards and a back-up credit card you use when travelling?
There are two issues with this. Firstly, it often means lots of fees and charges. Secondly, it means easy access to lots of credit you may not need. This can lead to increased debt, especially for those without iron self-discipline. Do a spring clean and rationalise your supply of credit cards to only ones you need