Taking personal finance habits seriously is the first thing that says you’ve become an adult. Mostly the part when you don’t have enough and you start finding ways to make more finances.
Because when you search for ways, you make habits which then afterward you use it through your whole adult life. It takes time and effort to get your balance in plus. That is just the way life works for normal people. And it’s even harder in today’s tough economy. With so many young adults moving back in with mom and dad, that line between childhood and adulthood is blurring. Building personal finance habits is a way more tough job than it looks.
No matter your financial situation you can start using this advice and tips to start moving your balance from zero to sky high (hopefully). Here are some ways we hope that would help you and make you a personal finance responsible adult.
Setting and following a budget is probably the most basic personal finance habit, yet only about one-third of people actually have a detailed budget. I went for years without an accurate budget, using my checking account balance as a rough gauge of how much money I had available to spend. Eventually, I realized this was a terrible way to run my personal finances. A detailed budget is necessary to get a handle on where your money is going and to start deciding where you want your money to go – instead of just watching it go away!
Writing out a list of all of your income and expenses is only the first step toward becoming skilled at budgeting. You need to monitor spending and work to stay on track every month. Sometimes unexpected expenses will pop up, and it takes skill to find ways to spend less in other areas to recover and stay on budget.
You can get a real budget started by looking at your bank statements. Also, and credit card bills from last month and adding up spending by category. I used colored highlighters to mark up my spending into categories. Such as food, clothing, pets, entertainment, transportation, housing, utilities, etc.
Food expenses are especially challenging for me, since food cost varies so much depending on what you decide to eat. In my household, we use a money envelope as a tool to help us stay on our food budget. Every payday, I take out cash for the budgeted amount for food spending, both groceries and dining out. All food spending comes out of the money envelope, so we always know how much is left to invest on food.
Get an Education
Believe it or not, your education level has a major impact on your ability to manage your personal finances. Financial experts like Don Gayhardt make it clear that the more you can earn, the better off you are on a financial level and this is true. When you get an education, you are increasing how much earning power you have. Just make sure that you research schools and do what you can to minimize your expenses. You also want to ensure that the school you choose is affordable and fits within your budget.
Manage and Minimize the use of Your Credit
You want to make sure that you keep your credit in check and that you know what your score is as soon as you become an adult. Make financial decisions with your credit in mind. One ding on your report can have major consequences, so make it a point to pay bills on time and to protect your credit.
There are times when you have money in your pocket and it just burns a hole as the saying says. However, it is important to control your spending and ensure that you are making the right choices. Save up for a larger expense instead of putting it on credit, for example. This allows you to learn better money management and the item will cost less in the long run since you will not be paying interest on it like you would if you charged it on a credit card.
Minimize Your Use of Credit
Credit cards and other forms of credit can be great and are excellent in times when you have no choice. For example, when your vehicle needs new tires, you have to get them. If you do not have the cash, a debit card can be a good choice. However, reserve your use of credit only for those occasions when there is absolutely haven’t any choice. Additionally you want to shop around, choose a card with rewards and other features that actually benefit you.
People who are financially successful do more than reduce spending and save money. They take the next step and invest money that they free up through smart spending decisions.
This investment mentality is what allows the small amount of money you avoid spending to grow into real wealth that can change your lifestyle and allow you the freedom to pursue your interests. Regular saving over time adds up – even with small investment amounts.
Continuous investment requires discipline to keep investing money for the future rather than spending it now. Savvy investors assess what kind of investments to buy and manage their investment portfolio based on economic trends and the performance of their opportunities.
The most important factor in being a successful investor is to make regular investments over the long term and let your wealth grow.
Do It Yourself (DIY)
It seems like everyone that comes to my house to do something charges about $60 to $100 per hour. I try to minimize paying people to come over and make an effort to take care of maintenance and repairs myself instead to save money. I learned to do basic plumbing repairs and installation, including sweating copper pipes with a torch. Also, I can do basic electrical wiring and repairs. Some people in my neighborhood have landscaping companies look after mowing and weed control, but not me. The more things you can do for yourself, the more money you can save.
Develop skills to do work for yourself instead of paying others to do it for you. You’ll save money and get a great feeling of satisfaction when you can do the work yourself.
Get a job. Any job.
Out of work? Can’t find a job? Collecting unemployment? Don’t be a victim. Trust me, I’ve been there. I didn’t have a job during one of the worst years of the recession, and I was broke, and I had been depressed, and it was awful. But instead of being a victim, I sucked it up. I had a college education and I felt like so many jobs were beneath me… but I did them anyway. I worked FOUR jobs at one point. FOUR. It was hard. I used to be tired. But I made it work. You CAN get a job. It might not be your dream job, but you can get employment. Work at McDonald’s. Just work at Subway. Work at the mall. Babysit. Tutor. Get a working job. You don’t have to stay there forever… any job can give you experience in SOMETHING. As you can see creating a good personal habit is a must.
Pursuing happiness by buying expensive stuff is that there is always something else you’ll need to buy in order to be happy. As soon as you get back from vacation, it is time to start thinking about where to go for the next one. After your new car isn’t the newest on the block anymore, the excitement is gone. Buying happiness is like chasing a mirage. You can’t really reach happiness through buying things, but you can spend a lot of money trying! Good personal finance habits will create a life without any concerns regarding funds and will ease the road coming.
One great part about being an adult is giving back to your favorite causes. Get in the habit now of giving back — either with your time or with your money.
Contentment is about finding joy in the life you have right now, not the life span you could have if only you had more money.