To improve your personal finances in the coming months, you need to set specific financial goals.
You may want to:
- Hit a particular income target
- Reduce your debt by a certain percentage
- Save a specific deposit towards buying a new home
If you are really determined to achieve your financial goals, read these tips.
8 Easy Ways To Boost Your Personal Finance
1. Monitor your credit
Make it a duty to go through your credit report at least once every quarter. Take a close look at the figures and see if there are discrepancies or evidence of fraud.
You can get a free credit report once a year from the major credit reporting companies like Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. You may also subscribe to a credit monitoring service that can track your credit and alert you if there are any drastic changes.
In addition, you need to take steps to raise your credit score. Make it your goal this year to work towards a score of 850, regardless of what it may be now.
A high score will make it possible for you to get relatively low-interest rates when you need to get a loan for a car or a new home.
2. Reduce credit card debt and fees
Reducing credit card debt should also be one of your main financial goals for this year. You can move from paying 20% to 30% of the debt. As you build new financial habits, decide to eliminate up to 90% of your credit card debt.
List out all your debts with the ones with the highest interest at the top. Then start paying them off one after the other. This will allow you to avoid penalty fees and raise your credit score significantly.
3. Create a budget
Make a budget for your income and expenses. This personal budget will help you to avoid overspending and remind you about important future expenses.
To create your budget:
- List out all recurring expenses for the month
- Arrange them in order of importance
- List out your income sources
- Add up your income and expenses separately.
If your expenses exceed your income for the month, you must start reducing your spending immediately.
Don’t just set up a budget and leave it. Set up a reminder on your phone to review it every month.
4. Invest in real estate
Whether you have the money or not, you can still invest in real estate. When buying or selling homes, the key is to focus on good cash flow.
As much as possible, have a ready seller and buyer and ensure that you make a good profit. You can use a variety of methods such as:
- Using lease options and seller financing
- Trading some of your fixed assets like jewelry and cars
- Working with an investment partner
- Taking a loan from a bank
If you have a good credit score and a full-time job, it will be easier for you to apply for a home loan at a fairly good interest rate. Lenders these days are fairly clued in when it comes to their potential future customers and now offer tools and calculators which are at your disposal with an internet connection and a device that can access the same.
You can compare interest rates online before you choose a lender for the loan. The rate you eventually get from your lender will depend on the amount of money you offer as a down payment, which in turn depends on your savings.
5. Build up your emergency fund
An emergency fund will help you to handle any unforeseen medical emergencies or a sudden loss of employment. Financial experts recommend that you save enough money to cover your regular expenses for about six months.
But with a little bit of discipline, you can build up reserves that will last you and your family for up to one year if you are not able to work. If you build up substantial savings, you can use it as collateral for a loan, or put it into a fixed term savings account to earn higher interest.
6. Set up a financial calendar
If you are a very busy person, you will likely have difficulty remembering every financial task for the month. You may forget to pay your bills promptly or start spending from your salary before you make your monthly savings.
The best way out of this is to set up a financial calendar. Set up dates and deadlines for bill payments, credit card payments, and savings. Set up payment reminders on your phone and use automatic fund transfers for your savings.
7. Choose cash and avoid overdrafts
If you tend to overspend and you are always surprised about why you don’t have any cash left at the end of the month, adopt a “cash only” spending habit. This may seem a bit cumbersome and overwhelming at first. But you will soon discover that is an effective money saving strategy.
Another method of avoiding overspending is to remove overdraft protection. Most banks allow overdrafts to make it convenient for you to get money for an emergency or urgent payment. Remember that the convenience of an overdraft comes with a fee. So sign up for an account that has no overdraft allowance or fees.
8. Stay motivated
It is nice to read all these tips and feel that they are simple and easy to implement. But you must realize that old habits die hard. Some of the poor financial habits you’ve already adopted will take time, effort and persistence to stop. So you must stay motivated.
Keep your vision alive by putting up your goals where you can see them daily. Work on your financial goals with your spouse or a close friend. Then reward yourself as you achieve your short term goals.
These tips are not rocket science; they are simple, proven ways of boosting your personal finances. Most of them are easy to implement and you can use them to begin the journey toward personal wealth today.