Sometimes, it’s easy to lose track of your money.
When there are so many things to think about in our day-to-day lives, we can get into a habit of simply leaving our cash to deal with itself. Money keeps going out at the end of each month, and you just let your bills get paid on auto-pilot – until something goes wrong.
However, the truth is that if you want to get as much value as possible out of your money, then you need to be willing to take an active approach with your cash. The more you think about the “big picture” with your cash, the more likely you are to stay out of debt and accomplish your financial goals. Here are some of the money moves you can make today, to ensure you’re ready for the future.
1. Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Budget
Typically, smart money management begins with one simple thing – a budget. Tracking your money and making sure that you can understand every expense means that you don’t end up in your overdraft wondering what on earth happened. Although most people find the concept of a budget to be pretty boring, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
With so many tools and apps available to help you manage your money these days, it’s never been easier to track what’s going in and out of your bank account. Remember though, a good budget doesn’t just categorize spending, it also tracks every penny of income in your bank and allocates your money accordingly.
2. Improve Your Credit Rating
Bad credit is a global epidemic right now. Remember, even if you’ve never had a loan in your life, your credit may not be top notch. A person with no credit can have just as much difficulty finding a loan as a person with a poor history. If there’s nothing to show your potential lenders that you know how to be safe with money – then you’re in trouble.
Check your credit report to see where you are to start with. Once you know what you’re working with you can begin building your credit strategy. Start by paying off your debts, and if you haven’t got any credit at all, compare your personal loan options. You might be able to take out a small loan and pay it back over time to improve your rating.
3. Build an Emergency Fund
Just like having a good credit rating will save you from some serious stresses in the future, building an emergency fund now will make sure that you’re prepared for virtually anything. You’ll reach a point in your life when you’re sick of living income-to-income. Most of the time, that moment comes sooner rather than later. Remember, don’t just increase your expenses every time you start to earn a little more, find a way to save extra instead.
Your emergency fund will come in useful when you face an issue in your life that you couldn’t possibly have prepared for. It’s there when your car suddenly breaks down, or when you lose your job and need to find something new. Most experts recommend creating an emergency fund that’s equal to 6 months of income.
4. Pay off Debt as Quickly as Possible
When you have long-term savings goals in mind, like putting a down payment on a house, or going on vacation, the last thing you want to do is push all of your extra money into your debts instead. However, the quicker you can pay off your loans, the better off you’ll be. Ultimately, paying off your debts means that you have less interest to pay each month. That means more cash you can add to your savings in the long-term.
Additionally, when you’re getting rid of your debts as quickly as possible, you’ll begin to feel a sense of relief. There’s something relaxing about knowing that there are fewer people out there hounding you for money.
5. Get Investing!
Remember, preparing for the future doesn’t just have to mean saving your money – it also means using it wisely. As you get into your mid to late 30s, it’s worth thinking about your opportunities for investments. Hopefully, you’ll already be making contributions to your retirement and pension, but you can also explore some other options too. There are plenty of financial advisors out there that can help with managing your long-term finances.
You could even think about buying some cheap income-producing real estate. Rental properties produce a steady income, and property is something that people always need.