Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Are you having difficulty paying all your bills on time? Are your credit cards maxed out?
If the above sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Like many other people out there, your finances could use some TLC – but you keep putting it off, and now, it’s time to do something about it.
Don’t fret – with these simple steps, you’ll soon be on your way to a healthier financial future.
way to a healthier financial future.
- Make a Budget
- Cut Unnecessary Expenses
- Open a Separate Bank Account
- Sell Your Old Stuff
- Consolidate Your Debt
- Protect Your Identity
- Check Your Credit Reports Regularly
- Pay with Points
- Find a Passive Income Stream
- Use Apps to Save and Grow Your Money
1 – Make A Budget
If you want to control your spending and work toward your financial goals, you need a budget. While the word “budget” is often associated with restricted spending, a budget does not have to be restrictive to be effective.
A budget will show you how much money you expect to bring in, then compare that to your required expenses—such as rent and insurance—and your discretionary spending, such as entertainment or eating out. Instead of viewing a budget as a negative, you can view it as a tool for achieving your financial goals.
Here’s a guide that can help you get started on making a budget.
2 – Cut Unnecessary Expenses
Buying Starbucks coffee each morning? Going out to eat or getting take-out regularly? Paying for cable with all the premium channels? These small expenses add up quickly if you’re not paying attention. Start tracking what and how you spend your money so that you can see what habits are blowing your budget. Don’t forget to review your subscription services periodically too. You don’t need to be subscribed to all the services at the same time! Pro tip, try rotating your streaming services. Have Netflix for a couple months and watch your shows you like, then pause your subscription and rotate to another.
3 – Sell Your Old Stuff
Do you still need those unused video games and unwatched DVDs? When was the last time you wore that sweater? Have a closet full of old electronics? It’s time to declutter your life, sell your old stuff, and make some money. And there are a lot of online tools that make it easy for you to sell what you don’t need anymore, like eBay, Craigslist, Mercari, Poshmark, Facebook Market, and OfferUp.
4 – Check Your Credit Reports Regularly
Having an error on your credit report can bring down your score, and a low score can negatively impact your life in many ways. Only by checking your credit report regularly can you make sure it’s free of error. If you have a low credit score, reviewing your credit report can help you figure out how to rebuild it.
If you find an error on your report that results in a dispute with the company reporting it, you need to file a dispute claim with one of the credit bureaus right away. The credit bureau will take steps to resolve the issue if you’re able to provide documentation of your claim. More information about how to file a dispute is available on pfgsacademy’s financially fit program
As we know some may not have the time or patients to handle fixing errors on their report as this can be a lengthy task. In that case we recommend hiring a professional credit specialist who can get your credit scores where it needs to be and eliminate some debt.
With a plan and the right steps in place, you can get your finances under control and have a healthier financial future.
5 – Pay with Points
Do you have a credit card with cash back and rewards points?? Start using them! For example, if you have a credit card that gives back 1.5% cash on every purchase, you can redeem that cash back for a deposit in your bank account or for gift cards. In time, those points and savings add up.
Pro Tip: Do your research and find a card that can help you earn the most points based on your spending habits and how you could eventually use those points.
6 – Find a Passive Income Stream
Believe it or not, there are smart and easy ways to make extra money. A couple of apps that take little of your time and can help you bring in a passive income stream include:
ShopTracker: Do you shop on Amazon? Then download this app, share what you’re buying on Amazon, and make a few bucks.
Paribus: Did you recently buy something, and shortly after, the price dropped? Paribus can help by getting you a refund when you shop at select retailers.
Rakuten (Formerly Known as Ebates): The app is an incredible source of cashback rewards for your shopping activities. Don’t just shop; make your shopping activities as entertaining by earning rewards. This is not a points-app, and it requires no forms to join. Also, they charge zero fees. Just join, shop, and receive cashback passively, for doing what you always do. All your favorite stores are in Rakuten, and you can earn as much as 40% cashback.
Ibotta is a free cash back rewards and payments app that gives you real cash for everyday purchases when you shop and pay through the app.
FunRaise: Unlike many others mentioned apps that are loyalty programs, cashback, or lockscreen reward apps, Fundrise is entirely different. With Fundrise, you have an opportunity to invest your hard-earned money, based on your goals, in a portfolio full of attractive real estate projects.