Break The Pay Check To Pay Check Cycle
Nothing is as dehumanizing as struggling to make ends meet and falling short every time. I have seen households literally starve because suddenly the expected pay check somehow fails to materialize. Yet people still go ahead unable to break from this frustrating lifestyle. It takes a lot of work and discipline to break free from that.
If you’re drowning in bills on an already modest income it can seem impossible to gain control of your money situation. But with these practical steps, you will be able to eventually got control of your finances.
Track your expenditure
This is the best way to become conscious of how money actually comes and goes in your life as opposed to how you think it comes and goes. This is the step that somehow makes the biggest impact. It doesn’t matter how you track your spending, so long as you do it. You can use a cash notebook. You can use an on-line tool like Wesabe. Or you can use a piece of software like Quicken or Microsoft Money. (Many modern computers come with one of these pre-installed!)
Whichever method you choose, stick with it. Make it a habit. Don’t mix up numbers. Record your transactions as soon as possible. Most of all, don’t judge yourself. This exercise is merely for data collection; it’s not the appropriate time to make changes to your habits.
Make a budget
After you’ve tracked your spending for a few weeks (or months), use the data you’ve collected to develop a budget. According to The Millionaire Next Door, budgeting is one thing that sets the wealthy apart from the rest of us — 55% of millionaires keep a budget.
They become millionaires by budgeting and controlling expenses, and they maintain their affluent status the same way. Many people fail to budget for a variety of reasons: it’s boring, we don’t need it, we don’t know how. But this simple act provides a roadmap for your money. There are a variety of budgeting methods you can choose, from.
Start an emergency fund
For years I lived paycheck-to-paycheck. I spent everything I earned. This worked well until something went wrong. Something always went wrong. Suddenly I’d find myself without money to pay for a car repair, or facing an expensive doctor’s bill. So I found myself in debts. Starting an emergency fund is an important first step to taking control of your finances.
Open a retirement account
If you’re young, you probably don’t think you need to start a retirement account. You’re wrong. No matter how old you are, now is the time to begin saving for retirement. Why? Because compound returns favor the young, and in a big way.
Spend less than you earn
This is the fundamental money skill. Its common sense, yet many people never learn do this. Only by spending less than you earn can you hope to build wealth. This is easier to do if you track your spending or develop a budget, but those steps aren’t completely necessary. Even if you do nothing else in this list, spending less than you earn can put you ahead of your peers.
Knowledge is power. Personal finance can be a mystery, but it doesn’t have to be. SheSpell.com usually has tips and tricks that can make a world of difference. Read personal finance books and self-development manuals — personal finance and personal success are deeply intertwined. Money is more about your mind than it is about math.