Whether you’re looking to improve your credit, make a major purchase, or set aside money for education or retirement, planning is essential.
In this article we’ll discuss 11 things you can do right now to make it happen.
1. Make A Game Plan
Failure to plan is planning to fail. If you want to succeed at anything, you have to have a plan.
When making your plan, be specific and realistic.
This doesn’t mean you can’t dream big; it just means you need to be reasonable in what you can accomplish under your current circumstances and in a given timeframe.
2. Establish Your Goals
When planning, it is absolutely necessary to know your goals.
Imagine running a marathon without knowing where to find the finish line. You must know what you’re trying to accomplish, why you want to accomplish it, and when it can reasonably be accomplished.
Setting both long-term goals and short-term goals will allow you to see not only where you want to be, but also the progress you are making along the way.
One of your long term goals may be to increase your income. Do you know the average compensation for peers in your profession? Knowing this data can help to set realistic goals.
3. Set Priorities
Once you have set some realistic goals, you need to set some priorities.
Prioritizing your needs before your wants will give you clear boundaries so that you can avoid pitfalls and successfully resist the temptation to deviate from the plan.
4. Create A Budget
You can’t stick to a budget if you haven’t made one, and if you haven’t made one, you haven’t planned well.
Budgets help you see your expenses clearly so that you know where your money is going and where it shouldn’t be going.
5. Plan Shopping Trips
Unplanned shopping trips are the killer of budgets.
Always plan shopping trips, and save receipts so that you can use past purchases to plan future shopping trips more wisely.
6. Shop Around
Whether you’re shopping for groceries or a new vehicle, do not fail to shop around.
Shopping for the best price isn’t about settling for the lowest priced option regardless of quality. It’s about finding the best prices for your planned purchases.
7. Avoid Unnecessary Expenses
It may be cute, it may be fashionable, it may be what everyone is getting, but if it doesn’t further your goals it has the value of a polyester doily.
Physical things are only part of the equation. What about subscriptions?
Everybody wants your money, but you need your money. So get rid of any subscriptions you don’t absolutely need or use on a daily basis.
This article shows you how to easily find and cancel unwanted subscriptions.
8. Scale Back
You love your latte! It’s a way of life. But it’s also setting you back $3.00 to $5.00 dollars a day. Think about that. That’s $21.00 to $35.00 a week on coffee!
How many weeks of drinking home-brewed drip coffee would it take to get your own espresso maker? Not many.
Evaluate your expenses and look for other areas you can scale back. It’s surprising how quickly little purchases can derail your goals.
9. Lower Your Fees
When was the last time you reviewed your bank’s fee schedule? Many banks have fees tucked just about everywhere, and you could be losing money.
If you’re paying membership fees, service fees, per-check fees, or low balance fees, it’s time to reconsider your financial institution.
10. Use Credit Wisely
Credit can be a lifesaver when unexpected expenses come up, but credit can also derail your goals.
If you’re having trouble keeping credit spending under control, consider cutting your cards and putting them in a file for emergency use only.
Don’t close your accounts, as this can actually damage your credit, but keep the cards out of sight until you get them paid down.
11. Expect The Unexpected
While credit can help out in emergency situations, it’s always better to have an emergency fund worked into your budget.
This fund should be separate from your personal savings, and should be used only for unforeseen situations. Having an emergency fund will help avoid adding interest to injury.
Planning for your future can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
Taking even one small step in the right direction can get you moving on the road to success.