Building good money habits is easier said than done – especially when you have new costs. Whether you’re getting married, having a baby, or starting a business, you need money to make it happen. Under these circumstances, staying financially healthy may seem a bit more challenging. Here are 11 tips and tricks to make the journey easier.
No matter the size of your paycheck, it’s impossible to get ahead if you’re always spending more than you make. Although clipping coupons and eating in may not seem like fun, ironically, sticking to a budget can lead to greater freedom long-term.
Building a budget doesn’t help if you don’t curb overspending. Consider setting up a system to help you manage your spending habits. For instance, you might take a spending holiday and put a 24-hour “hold” on all transactions, so you don’t make as many impulse purchases. It’s also wise to set aside a small “fun money” budget so you can treat yourself occasionally.
An emergency savings account can save your bacon when unexpected expenses pop up. While you should ideally have 3-12 months’ worth of household bills in a savings account, it’s usually not possible to build one overnight. Instead, start small with contributions every week and build your fund over time.
If you physically set aside money every month, it’s easy to decide that you need it for other reasons, such as a coffee or spa day. But putting your savings on autopilot can help you save more and more consistently. Soon, you won’t even notice the money missing from your checking account – let alone have a chance to spend it!
You can boost your savings and protect against inflation by using a high-yield savings or money market account. Many banks and credit unions offer at least one.
When you take out a loan or credit card, it’s best to only borrow what you can afford to repay. Remember: every dollar you put toward debt and interest is a dollar removed from your budget. And if you have existing debt, you can pay it down quickly with the snowball or avalanche method.
High-interest credit card debt is a big obstacle to overcome, as every month you don’t pay your balance in full is another month to accrue interest. Paying off your accounts every month can help you save money and improve your financial health.
Almost anytime you borrow money, the lender reports your payment history to three major credit bureaus. Each bureau then puts this information into a credit report that tells other lenders how risky you are to lend to.
However, this information isn’t always accurate. That’s why it’s wise to keep an eye on your credit report and check for fraud or false reports. You can get a report from each bureau for free once per year at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Ideally, you should save the maximum allowed amount in an account with special tax advantages, such as a 401(k) or IRA. In 2022, you can contribute $6000 to an IRA and $20,500 to a 401(k). But if you can’t afford that much, invest what you can – and work to increase your income to build your financial health.
Many people don’t have the time or knowledge to manage their finances well, which can lead to poor money management. If you’re one of them, consider working with a financial advisor to build a budget, meet your goals, and even prepare for tax season.
Building your financial health doesn’t happen overnight – but we can make it easier. If you have had a rough history making financial choices, we want to help, with Jupiter Card.