Budgeting to improve finances

If you’re trying to save money, make more money, or just get smarter about your approach to your finances, you probably have a lot of questions about personal finance best practices.

Because this subject is such a broad and far-reaching one, it’s helpful to just get to the basics, first, before advancing into deeper tactics.

So, here are four basic, easy-to-do tips to improve your personal finance.

Tip #1: Come up with a budget, and stick to it.

Developing a budget for you and your household is a crucial step to take to make sure you know exactly what money is coming in and what money is going out. So, how is this done? If you don’t already know how to use a spreadsheet, head over to Google and learn about the Google Docs platform, which includes Google Sheets, a free spreadsheet tool.

In coming up with a budget, gather together all of your monthly expenses, tally them, and do the same for all of your income streams. Then, determine what a good expense number is for you, and stick to that expense, and not a penny more.

Tip #2: Identify unnecessary expenses and eradicate them.

This may be something you think you have a good handle on, until you actually look at your bank statement and realize how much of your paycheck goes to unnecessary things. As you evaluate your expenses, don’t leave anything off the table. Bring it all to light, and don’t shame yourself for prior spending mistakes.

This is an important step, because it helps to reveal ‘hidden’ areas of spending that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Tip #3: Switch to lower-fee or no-fee financial services platforms.

Does your checking account have a monthly administration fee? What about your credit cards, do they have annual fees associated with them? If they do, why are you paying them? Fees add up quickly, and they can wind up doing serious damage to your bottom line. So, ferret out the fees you’re paying, switch to a lower-fee or no-fee provider of the same service, and you’ll end up giving yourself a raise for your trouble.

Tip #4: Shop around for a better paying employer.

One of the most common complaints people have around money is that they don’t make enough of it to support the lifestyle they want. What most of those same people don’t know is that there are better-paying positions that would require them to do the exact same thing they’re doing today, just for more money. Don’t believe this? Do a quick search of companies that are hiring for jobs like the one you have, and before long, you’ll end up finding a better-paying gig at a company that might even offer better benefits, too!

By putting to work these four crucial steps, you can go a long way in realizing your personal financial goals. Good luck!