This is a guest by Rosana about finances.
Improving your financial outlook necessarily needs to take almost a holistic, whole life perspective to get the most out of it. While cutting costs by clipping coupons will certainly save you money, it should only be only a small part of your approach to improving your financial fortunes.
Here are 7 methods to getting ahead in your financial life.
Use a Debt Payoff Planner
When you have debts to repay, then this needs to be part of your overall plan to improve your financial situation in life.
Using the debt payoff planner from Tally is useful. It provides a guide with simple steps to follow to find improvements. The Tally app also helps you to avoid missing a credit card payment and sometimes makes debt consolidation options available too.
Don’t ignore your debts by only focusing on other areas. Include them in your planning because the sooner you do, the quicker they’ll be handled. Cut expenses to find extra money to put to your debts. Then once they’re clear, make it a point to never get back into consumer debt again.
Develop Your Career
If you’re a career girl looking to get ahead, then make this a deliberate focus.
Take short courses, certifications, or other training to become more capable. Use these to advance to other positions with another employer if your current one isn’t keen on promoting you or is unable to offer that right now.
If you’ve fallen into a certain industry or career but it wasn’t planned, it’s time to take a step back to reconsider that. Is there another role or career choice that it’s clear will be better suited to your talents and/or interests? If so, look into how you can effectively make the transition to this career instead because you’ll be happier that way.
Create a Side Hustle
In addition to working on career advancement, figure out a way to create a side hustle.
While most of your expenses will consume your primary income source, creating a profitable secondary income is something that can directly benefit you financially.
There is more flexibility to develop something based on your interests. So, if you’re an avid amateur photographer, look at ways to get value from your photos. For instance, websites are always looking for affordable photography to include in their posts.
Be aware that any side hustle is likely to cost something to get started in the beginning. That could be equipment, computer software, or other expenses. However, there should be a clear path to earning money from it. Some hustles will pay sooner while others require finding clients and are slow going in the early months. So, be realistic about how long it’ll take to get going to avoid disappointment.
Reduce Transportation Costs
The cost of transportation is one of the regular expenses that people find hard to get away from. When you live a considerable distance from your employer’s office, then it’s often impractical to not own a car or drive there each weekday.
Nevertheless, explore options to reduce your transportation expenses. A less expensive, or smaller car can save money. Working from home all week or a couple of days a week will reduce how often the vehicle is used, cut down on mileage, and vehicle wear & tear too.
Also, see if you can carpool with co-workers or your partner. It’s not always possible, but it can save money. Alternatively, consolidate trips to run errands. It all helps to get transportation expenses lower.
Find Extra Money to Pay Off a Few Debts
It could be ‘found money’ and we don’t mean cents found behind the sofa.
Each spring is tax refund time for many people. Use the bounty wisely. If you’re receiving an unexpected bonus at work or they’ve seen fit to give you a pay rise, earmark the extra funds to savings, establish an emergency fund, or pay off debts.
Likely the debts are costing more than any savings can earn in interest, so focus on debt repayment. Ensure you have spare money available in case of unpleasant surprises like a job loss, as it’s not the best economy right now. But get your money working for you by repaying debt wherever possible.
Plan for the Future
Any financial outlook needs to consider future requirements.
Do you have short to medium-term goals that require considerable money to fund them?
Plan for these by breaking down the real cost of getting them achieved. No longer accept rough estimates that won’t be close to accurate. Dig deep into the details to get a close approximation of what your goals will truly cost to achieve. They’ll then feel more real.
Once you know this, determine when would be the ideal time to achieve them? Then figure out the number of months to get there and what’ll be required in savings to reach this goal. Set the money aside each month until each of your saving goals is completed.
Take retirement seriously.
Even if you’re still a younger adult, the years will add up quickly. They appear to run too slowly when you are eager to grow up and start living. Then time accelerates away from you in your adult years. If you’re 20 and speak to a 40-year-old, they’ll tell you that the time went by almost in an instant.
The good thing with retirement is that a little each month goes a long way when it’s accumulated over 20-30-years. The boom and bust of the stock markets have little long-term effect because returns are smoothed out over the decades.
Look for index funds to keep investment costs low and to receive as close-to-the-market return as possible. Vanguard or Fidelity offers low-cost mutual funds or ETFs, including target-date funds to help reach your investment goals.
Find the Right Balance
Some people become so obsessed with achieving financial independence that they go all out. That can be a good thing because they’re more likely to get there, but it’s an all-or-nothing approach that doesn’t make many people incredibly happy!
For instance, cutting entertainment and socializing costs to the bone to save an extra $50 or one hundred bucks a month to a retirement plan won’t do much for you. Perhaps you’ll retire a few months sooner but at the expense of a richer life. Enjoying the company of good friends, having fun, and taking your mind off serious matters is healthy.
Avoid being too one-sided in a focus on improving your financial life. While taking advantage of all reasonable opportunities can be effective, find the right balance for you. Otherwise, you may make yourself unhappy because you’re rich in one area of your life but poor in several others.
Being a happier person isn’t something you can redo later. There are no reruns. Working almost all available hours to create a richer financial life isn’t compensated for when there’s little time to enjoy it. Also, the extra stress of the long hours can be unhealthy for the body too.
By making active choices in your career, where you live, and how you do so, it’s possible to craft a life that’s only as expensive as it needs to be without depriving you of anything fundamental. You’re then able to prioritize saving and investment for a better financial future because of making a few smart choices in your career and elsewhere too.