1. Money

8 Personal Finance Tips to Make Life Easier

By

It can be difficult to manage your personal finances. However, it is essential if you want to really succeed and build wealth. These eight personal finance tips will make it easier to manage your personal finances and make it so you do not have to spend another sleepless night worrying about how you are going to make ends meet.

Personal Finance Tip 1: Follow a Budget

It sounds pretty basic to follow a budget, but it is important to realize that your budget is the basic tool to get control of your finances. Your budget is your monthly spending plan. It lets you check to see if you are putting your money where your top priorities are. Your budget helps you recognize areas where you are overspending and you need to cut back. Realizing that you need to actually track your spending and stop when you are out of money in a category will make reaching all of your other financial goals easier.

Personal Finance Tip 2: Get Out of Debt

Stop paying interest to other people, and start earning it. You cannot begin to build real wealth while you are borrowing money. Stop using your credit cards and set up a plan to pay them off quickly. If you do this you will be on your way to building wealth. It is important to realize you do not need to borrow money to pay for a car, or to use your credit cards to cover yourself during an emergency. With planning you do not need to have any debt, except for a home loan.

Personal Finance Tip 3: Save for Emergencies

Make it a habit to set aside money each month for your emergency fund. Ideally you should have between six months to a year’s income set aside to cover you when you lose a job or another financial emergency comes up. If you are self-employed or you work in a job field with frequent layoffs you will want to have a larger emergency fund than if you are in a stable job. Once you have reached this threshold you can keep saving the money each month, but put it towards building wealth instead.

Personal Finance Tip 4: Plan for Retirement

No one else is responsible for you once you retire. The current Social Security system may not be in place by the time you reach retirement age, and so you need to make sure you are taking care of it starting now. Start putting fifteen percent of your annual income into retirement accounts as soon as you start working, and you will be well off when it is time to retire. If you have not started doing this yet, star now. The sooner you start, the better off you will be financially. Make it automatic so you don’t need to think about it each month.

Personal Finance Tip 5: Create a Financial Plan

You need to have a goal that you are working towards. It will help you stay focused on your budget, and help you reach your financial goals. The best way to do this is to create a financial plan that will take you from now until you retire. You should include the big things like buying a home, traveling when you retire, opening your own business, and a time guideline as to when you want to accomplish these goals. You can adjust the plan as your goals change, but having this plan in place will help you to continue to move forward financially.

Personal Finance Tip 6: Diversify Your Income

This is especially important if you are self-employed. You should have multiple types of income coming in. You do not want to rely on one client to provide all of your business, and you may want to start a side project or turn your business into a side business so you have more than one source of income. This may simply mean having both partners work at different companies. It is helpful to have multiple streams of income because if one dries up you have another to fall back on while you are working on replacing the one you just lost.

Personal Finance Tip 7: Decide What Is Most Important to You

Some people may be more focused on different things and your financial goals and the time you spend working should reflect your goals. You may put your priorities on spending more time with your family and be willing to sacrifice some of your lifestyle priorities to do that. You may want to build lasting wealth to pass onto your children, and you may be willing to sacrifice fancy vacations and huge house to do that. It is important to realize what is most important to you, so that you can line up your priorities to that. Once you match your spending to your priorities, you will be able to reach your life goals much more quickly.

Personal Finance Tip 8: Make Saving Money a Priority

You should make saving money a priority in all aspects of your life. This means you should contribute money to savings each month. It also means that you actively look for the best deal on all of your purchasing. You may want to consider shopping at consignment shops and hitting the sales for most of your purchases. This frugal attitude will make it easier to reach your financial goals and stick to your budget. It is worth the extra effort to get a good deal, because it can alleviate some of the financial pressure.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.