For some reason, we never learn about money management in school. This can become a real challenge as we transition into adulthood. While some of us grew up knowing how to take care of our money, many have little clue and may even end up suffering from poor financial decisions made in the past. The good news is: it’s never too late to fix your finances!
If you’re looking for a change, give these practical money management skills a try!
1. Savings before expenses
When your monthly salary comes, you probably set aside some for groceries, utility bills, and other essentials right away. Some people’s savings come from what’s left after paying all the necessary expenses. While that strategy works for some people, others are left with little to zero savings depending on how fat your paycheck is.
To avoid that from happening, you might start putting aside a realistic amount directly into your savings account before allocating your money for bills and other necessities. This may prepare you for unexpected expenses and save you in case you get low on cash. You may also learn how to maximize the remaining amount you have and not spend beyond that!
2. Create a budget
This might sound obvious, but budgeting your money allows you to have a clearer picture of where your money goes. This includes your grocery list, utility bills, personal savings, emergency funds, and other things you need money for.
By budgeting, you can allot portions of your income to things that really matter. It may also be an effective way to avoid spending leaks and save up for sudden expenses or emergencies. Being on a budget also allows you to spend your extra cash on items you want—without feeling guilty about it!
As long as you’re spending within the budget, some small side purchases may not severely affect your monthly expenses. You can start off by keeping track of your purchases on a piece of paper or a spreadsheet.
3. Manage your subscriptions and memberships
Memberships and subscriptions are useful and fun until you forget you’re subscribed to dozens of services you’re not using. This might include gym memberships, or online subscriptions like Netflix, Spotify, and others.
It’s essential to keep track of these, so you’ll know if you’re still maximizing the services you’re paying for. If you notice and find some subscriptions that you no longer use, you should consider canceling them right away!
4. Know that there will always be another sale
Among the most popular spending triggers we have are clearance sales or major markdowns. This is when we usually go on shopping sprees because things are 10, 25, 50, or even 75 percent off. We buy because of the fear of missing out on those discounted items—not because we need ten pairs of high-waist shorts or twenty pints of ice cream.
Putting up signs like “sale” or “discounts” is a tactic used by stores to trigger your urge to spend. Don’t fall for this trick and remember, cheaper doesn’t always mean better!
Among the best money skills you need to practice is being conscious of your spending—it may be helpful to know your priorities.
5. Let your money make money
Putting your money or resources in investments is one of the most popular money management skills you’ll hear from people. It’s allocating money or other resources to grow them and generate income or revenue in the future. You can try searching for investment companies online to better understand which product best suits your needs.
Wouldn’t it be nice to travel back to 2009 and get Bitcoin when its value was under a dollar? If you missed jumping on the crypto bandwagon early, don’t worry—it’s never too late to enter the markets of cryptocurrencies.
You can explore some interesting investment strategies like HODLing, where you buy Bitcoin, hold it for a very long time, and sell it when the time is right. This is very popular, especially with new investors.
6. Limit the credit lines you own
Having a credit card or two can be really helpful, especially for those who make big purchases most of the time. It can yield exciting rewards and discounts, increased purchasing power, and more.
However, having multiple active credit cards at once can hurt your pocket. If you’re not careful, there’s a risk that you’ll make impulse purchases you can’t pay off. It can also be challenging to keep track of all the payment due dates from different companies.
Most—if not all—credit card companies charge annual fees even when you’re not using the card. Check your credit lines if you have many, and consider closing those accounts that you don’t use anymore. You may save hundreds of dollars worth of charges by doing this.
7. Live within your means
Here’s another must-have practical money skill: don’t buy something you can’t afford, especially if you have other important bills to pay. You wouldn’t want to see yourself frowning over a low bank account balance, right?
Maybe that wristwatch looks really good on you, but is it still within your budget? If not, then you can leave it at the store and come back for it when the time is right.
8. Try some side hustles
There’s a great deal of side gigs that can be a nice source of extra income. Know where you’re good at and turn that passion, hobby, or skill into profit! You can stream your gameplay on various platforms, sell delicious pastries online, take writing or editing gigs, translate some write-ups, or transcribe audio files, during your free time. You can add your extra income to your savings or spend on stuff you like later on.
9. Carry enough cash
Swiping a credit card is so tempting and easy to do, but the repercussions of not doing it in moderation can be hard to bear. We’re gradually transitioning into a digital world where cashless transactions are becoming the new normal. However, having some cash in your wallet that’s enough to take care of your errands can save you from spending too much! When there’s no more cash, you can’t spend anymore. Simple!
10. Note your bills’ due dates
Your friend may be okay with you running late to a meeting, but don’t be late when it comes to paying your bills. Late payments often come with penalties or charges, and if you’ve already set aside money for your bills, that means you have to take out an extra amount outside of your budget.
Check and note all your bills’ due dates to ensure that they’ll get paid on time, so you won’t have to spend extra bucks!
It’s never too late
In addition to what we’ve listed above, you can also try other practical money skills like taking an off-season vacation, using discount coupons on groceries, buying locally made items, and a lot more. You’ll be surprised to know how much you can save!
It might be frustrating to deal with the undesirable effects of financial mistakes from the past, but we all learn from our experiences. Again, it’s never too late for you to develop a solid financial plan. Try some of the tips we’ve discussed above and let us know which works best for you!
*The content of this article is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.