If you’re struggling with your finances, there’s time to turn things around. To take back control, you’ll need to be disciplined with your spending and learn how to save more of your money to reach your financial goals. The following is a list of some of the best strategies you can implement now to get your finances back on track.
1. Set Financial Goals
Setting financial goals can help you transform your finances. Think about some of the things you want to do or buy and write them down. Some of your financial goals might be:
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- Buy a house
- Save for your child's college education
- Improve your credit score
- Save for retirement
- Pay off student loans
Once you know what your financial goals are you can start researching ways to reach them.
2. Create a Budget
Creating a budget can help you understand where your money is going and cut down on unnecessary spending. If you've struggled with paying bills on time or overspending, a budget can help you control your spending. To create a budget, write down how much you bring in after taxes each month. Then, create a list of all of your monthly expenses, including rent or mortgage, car insurance, health insurance, electricity, food, transportation expenses, etc.
Once you know where you stand, come up with a plan to save money towards your financial goals, whether that means saving up for a down payment for a house, paying off debts or putting money towards your dream vacation.
3. Get a Credit Card
A credit card can help you afford the things you need while helping you build credit so that when the time comes to buy your first house, you'll be in good financial shape. It can also be a great way to earn rewards and points you can use towards additional purchases. Using USAA's credit card to help with managing money and taking advantage of other perks can help you get ahead on your financial goals, but remember to use it responsibly. That means avoiding maxing it out and paying off the balance every month. You'll also want to be sure you're using less than 30 percent of your card's total limit. For example, if your limit is $1,000, try to keep your balance under $300.
4. Increase Your Income
Finding ways to increase your income can help you reach your financial goals faster. Whether you decide to ask for a raise at work, get a new side gig, pick up a part-time job or start a passive income stream, there's always a way to earn more money. You could become a shopper or delivery driver with companies like DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub, Postmates, Shipt or InstaCart. You could also try freelancing, becoming a part-time customer service rep from home, babysitting, tutoring or becoming a virtual assistant.
5. Start an Emergency Fund
Setting aside a percentage of your money and putting it into an emergency fund can help you avoid tapping into your savings if and when an emergency arises. Put your emergency money into an account that earns interest and don't touch it unless you have an actual emergency. Keep it separate from your savings account so that you don't keep getting set back for other things you might want to purchase, like a new home or a new car every time you have an emergency.
Taking Steps to Improve Your Finances
Implementing one or more of the strategies above can help you revamp your finances. Setting financial goals, creating a budget, getting a credit card, increasing your income and setting up an emergency fund are all great ways to start improving your finances. No matter how far you've fallen behind, there's always time to catch up.