Many of us struggle with money management, but not to our own fault. Unfortunately, more often than not people are not properly educated on the topic and don’t even know where to start. Here are a few basic pointers that can be helpful in starting to take control of your financials.
A budget is the financial blueprint of any company, corporation, non-profit, and you need one just as much as they do. In order to manage your money, you first need to know your current financial situation so you can start to devise a financial plan. Making a budget can sound like a daunting task, but it’s really quite simple. First, you must make a list of all your fixed expenses and fixed income; whether it be money from mom and dad, the Netflix subscription, a check from a part-time job, or any other income or withdrawals that will reoccur. This will give you a baseline of what to expect each month. Next, it is important to keep track of your spending habits and record what you buy and why. Once you do these to simple tasks you can begin to adjust your spending habits to allow you to the financial flexibility you desire.
Long Term Mentality
With the budget you’ve just created and molded to your personal spending habits it is time to think about the big picture. Something many of us can struggle to do at times. Chances are as a college student or young professional you do not have a heaping amount of spare income, but what’s important is setting a small portion of each paycheck you receive aside to invest long-term with. The hardest part is deciphering what type of investment would best suit your budget and financial goals. It is important to find an investment that has a good interest rate like a Roth IRA or build a portfolio that will pay dividends in the long run. You might ask, “How can I invest when I’m in college debt and have rent to pay?” but the important thing is to just invest in your future and long-term regardless if it’s $5 a month or $500 a month, the crucial part is to start as early as you can. It’s not about how much skin you have in the game but how long you play the game.
Now that we have a budget and have started to think about the long-term future I want to talk about a different kind of investment. It can be a struggle to change your spending habits or find an extra $10 bucks to set aside in your savings account, but getting back wasted or under utilized time is impossible. No, I’m not going to rant about how you need to live in the moment and make the most of your life, although there is serious validity in that statement. I’m talking about asking yourself a very simple question every time you are thinking about making a purchase. The question you should always ask yourself is, “How can I spend money to save time?”. I’m not talking about going to fast-food restaurants every meal or buying something new rather than fixing it. What I’m talking about is making rational purchases that will aid your productivity and save you time on a day to day basis. The logic behind asking yourself this question is rather simple, once money is spent it can be reacquired but once time is spent it is irrecoverable.