10 Ways To Improve Your Finances
It’s never too early – or too late – to get started planning for the future. Consider setting financial goals to strive towards. Whether that includes ditching poor spending habits, paying off debt, or saving money for that new car you’ve had your eye on, we have you covered. The first step to achieving your financial goals it to first reevaluate your current financial habits. Learning how to improve your finances now will set you up for long term financial freedom and success. Launch CU wants to see you achieve your goals! That’s why we will be covering ten ways to improve your finances.
1. Create a Financial Budget
Often times, we think we will be fine budgeting our money on the fly and putting money aside for our savings that we “think” looks right. Sure, sometimes we can get lucky, but creating a true financial budget will help you establish more realistic and accurate goals. After all, we aren’t all math wizards. If you need help creating a financial budget you can follow a tried and true 50/30/20 ratio. This consists of spending roughly 50% of your after-tax dollars on necessities, no more than 30% on your wants, and at least 20% on savings and/or debt repayment.
2. Check Your Credit Report
To make sure you don’t have incorrect information on your credit report that could be hurting your credit score, we recommend monitoring your credit report routinely. By doing so, you can correct any false information and fix your credit score as soon as possible. A lower credit score produced by incorrect information could result in higher premiums and interest rates. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you suspect foul play such as fraud or identity theft, consider freezing your credit card account by calling your financial institution. To file a dispute call the credit-reporting bureau directly.
3. Research How to Earn Extra Income
If you’re trying to put away extra income for a large purchase for a car, house, or even tuition, consider a side hustle. Brainstorm some ideas and make a list of your skills that could help you earn extra income. This could range from seasonal work, services you could provide on your days off, or even requesting additional hours at work. A great site to find ideas you may not have thought of is Side Hustle Nation.
4. Automate Payments
If you struggle to make payments on time due to a hectic schedule or just plain forgetting, follow along closely to this one. Setting up automatic payments could save you time and money by helping you avoid late fees. Additionally, paying your bills on time will help you increase your credit score! Don’t forget to monitor and check your bills periodically to make sure they are accurate. Consider using BillPayer or Biller Direct within Launch CU’s Digital Banking Suite to automate your bills. You can also set up recurring transfers and loan payments!
5. Cut Out Unnecessary Fees
If you’re looking to save a bit more each month, consider cutting out or lowering the number of bills you pay each month. One thing you could consider cutting is cable. Swapping to a streaming service such as Hulu or Netflix can save you tremendously. Cutting out smoking is another great way to save money each year. This goes beyond just the cost of a pack of cigarettes. On average, smokers pay more for health insurance, life insurance, and long-term care insurance on the private market. Of course, kicking the habit is easier said than done.
Additionally, pay attention to any memberships you may have but not taking advantage of. Do you have a membership to the gym that you have been avoiding? If so, consider an at-home workout instead or get some cardio by running outside.
6. Price Shop
Sometimes you can negotiate with car insurance companies and phone companies. Consider calling to see if you can negotiate your bill and lower your costs. Often times, if you prove that another company can offer a better price, they will lower theirs to match it. This doesn’t always hold true, but it’s worth trying out! This also applies for most stores you visit! What’s the worst that could happen? They say no. That’s okay, try another store until you get a yes!
7. Create an Emergency Fund
A financial crisis’ is not something we can predict. As such, it’s best to be prepared. One of the best ways to prepare you and your family from financial emergencies is to set up an emergency fund. It might be hard to set aside money that you’re not getting a return on, but take our word for it, you will be happy it’s there when you need it! The typical amount of money you should consider for your emergency fund is between three to six months’ worth of your expenses. While this may seem like a lot, this amount doesn’t have to appear overnight. Try to set aside money weekly, monthly, or even bi-monthly. Another great option to consider is setting aside the money you may get from your tax return.
8. Meal-Prep and Cook at Home More
We all know that restaurant and fast food is convenient. but often times it is more expensive than eating at home. Finding time to cook a healthy and delicious meal at home takes time and dedication. I’m not one to say I don’t enjoy a good restaurant steak from time to time, but it starts to add up! This holds true when you start eating out more and more. Try to cut back on dining out and cook more affordable meals at home! If you’re short on time, consider a meal-prep day. You could plan your meals out on Sunday and cook a few of them for the week, or even plan to use a slow cooker to save time.
9. Read More
What better way to learn about personal finances than reading tried and true personal finance books? You can learn everything from budgeting, to doing your own taxes, to investing! Just make sure you do additional research before you implement some of these plans. While some concepts have proven results, others can be pretty far out there. If you need reading suggestions, check this list to improve your finances. Launch CU’s blog also offers a number of informative and helpful articles regarding personal finance!
10. Adapt and Overcome
Lastly, it’s important to be flexible. If issues come your way, don’t give up! Adapt and overcome them. Always stay positive and strive to be a better person than you were yesterday. Remember, even baby steps can lead to success.
Saving for the future is intimidating. By following these ten ways to improve your finances now, you are taking the first step towards achieving your financial goals! Launch Credit Union is always here to help, with our team of industry experts to assist in your plans to achieve future goals.