How to Stay on Top of Your Finances With Dutchess Partners
Making mistakes in your finances will always cost you. It’s painful to think about all the ways your hard-earned cash would have been spent more wisely. But, being purposeful about how you spend your money requires a lot of discipline. If you don’t really know exactly where your money went in the last month, then you probably need it.
Yet you shouldn’t worry about it too much, and you don’t need fancy apps and charts to help keep you on track. A notebook is more than enough, even better than accounting for everything on your phone. Sure, budgeting apps can be extremely helpful. They have the added value of memory and plenty of robust features. However, staying in charge of your finances starts with developing productive habits and practicing self-discipline. So, before you jump right into spending more money to subscribe to the most popular finance app, why not consider approaching your finances with the following tips?
Keep It Simple
A system that’s simple and robust is always the easiest to maintain. Simplicity and efficiency create the spine of a good financial habit. The less you have to think about it, the better. A great bit of advice is to reduce the number of accounts you use to the minimum and juggle as fewer credit cards as possible. It is fine to have a separate savings account that you don’t touch. But, when you have to think too much about what kind of bonuses each of your credit cards will give you, then it’s time to let a few of them go. Once you have lessened your load, make sure to always automate your finances wherever you can. Be mindful of your cognitive load. The more you have to work with your finances, the more stressful it will likely get. Plus the automatic payment method is a sure way to know that your payments will always be done on time, you won’t accrue any late payments which also affect your credit score.
Live Off Less Than What You Make
This is pretty straightforward, right? Well, it’s actually where millions of people fail the most, simply because they don’t act according to their wage. It’s easy to spend a bit more on luxuries, which is why 14% of Americans have about $2000-worth of credit card debt every year. Living above your means is always a sure way to get yourself into some financial trouble.
The best way to go about it is to use only 70% or 80% of your income each month. Pretend that the rest doesn’t even exist. You can do that by automating your deposits to your investment and saving accounts. Set aside the remaining 20-30 percent for your future and unexpected expenses. Plus you always want to make sure you have that extra money set aside in case there is ever an emergency.
Create a Plan You Can Live With
Now for the pen and paper part. Even though it can be boring and stressful to do your finances on paper, it’s something you’ll be thankful for. Besides, you need some kind of plan to make the most of your money. You can do this in three simple steps:
1.) Specify your monthly earnings – Nothing new here, but knowing exactly how much money you have to cover your expenses is essential.
2.) Identify your exact needs each month – Besides identifying your essential expenses such as rent/mortgage, bills, and food, take good care of all your other needs as well. This list includes such expense as cable, streaming services, hobbies, clothing. Make sure you have enough to enjoy yourself because that makes your budget plan truly livable.
Additionally, write down any big purchases you want to make and when you want to make them. Define whether you’ll need a loan for purchasing any of them or not.
3.) Break down all your earnings and expenses to daily units – Knowing how much you earn and how much you can spend each day helps to keep things in perspective. This way, you can even forget about your plan and just know your boundaries for the day. Track such expenses like the coffee you get each morning on the way to work, or the lunch you purchased at the deli down the street. These small purchases can add up over the week an seeing how much your overall spending may encourage you to make more frugal decisions (such as making coffee at home instead).
4.) Track Your Expenses – Write down all your larger expenses in your notebook. You can keep track of them along with all your other expenses with an app like YNAB.
Set Savings Goals
Your simple system should take care of your savings, but it’s much easier to stay disciplined with goals. Keep your desired achievements in perspective, and they will make saving money a worthwhile process. Everyone wants to enjoy vacations, have more leisure time or get out of debt, so keep your goals in focus.
Stay Consistent With Your Positive Habits
It’s not your super budget plan that will make the greatest difference, but your everyday habits. Making small positive changes in your spending and saving habits is what will get you the best results. Once you automatize good habits, you can forget about your spending and just move closer to your goals.
If you find that you are still in over your head and drowning when it comes to your current expenses, consider reaching out to Dutchess Partners. They offer a low debt consolidation loan that is manageable. Choosing this option means you will no longer be held back by those high interest rate credit cards. Getting behind on your finances can leave you afraid to answer your phone or open the mail, that is added stress you shouldn’t have to live with. With Dutchess Partners expertise, they can assist you in finding the best financial plan so you are no longer drowning in your expenses.
Whether you’re running a small business or you’re just a college student trying to save some money, applying these tips will help you. As long as you have the discipline and focus on your goals, saving money won’t be a problem at all. Also, making a habit out of planning your finances in a notebook will be something you’ll gradually grow to love.