Many of the things you do daily are simply a habit. Whether it’s buying coffee on the way to work or a $10 lunch habit, they can potentially harm your budget. Similar to how bad financial habits can get you into trouble, good financial habits can keep you out of trouble. Implementing good monetary routines can help you spend smarter, save properly, and reach your financial goals quicker.
Gaining control over your financial habits is all about making your money work for you. It’s not hard. You just have to start. Here are five financial habits you can start on January 1st.
1. Create a Budget
The foundation of personal finance is budgeting. If budgeting is new to you, your first step is to start writing down everything you spend money on. That includes the morning coffee stop, the music streaming service, and big things like that brand new mattress you bought for your home or apartment.
Next, you’ll want to factor in your income and see what is left over after your monthly expenses. The idea behind budgeting isn’t to limit what you do with your money, but to maximize it to the best of your ability. Even cutting back on small things like buying lunch or getting coffee every morning can potentially save you hundreds each month. Need help? We have free financial coaches waiting to walk you through it.
2. Track Your Expenses
Continually track your expenses, whether by pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet, phone notes, or an app. Doing so will allow you to see exactly how much you’re spending and learn the areas where you could potentially cut back.
3. Create Multiple Income Streams
Creating a few ways to make money can dramatically alter your financial future. You could take on a part-time job or start a side hustle to potentially earn yourself an additional $500 or so a month. This could make a substantial difference in your finances.
The important thing is to use the additional income you make to better your finances and not use it as spending money. For example, you could use it to start a savings account, pay off debt, or create an emergency fund.
4. Save 10% of the Money You Make
If possible, try saving at least 10% of your monthly income. Take these savings and split them between things like:
- Normal savings
- Emergency fund
- Tax-advantaged retirement account
If you’re unable to save 10%, start with a lower number. As you become more comfortable, slowly increase the amount you’re saving each month. This is called paying yourself first. It’s the first rule in becoming more financially stable.
5. Gain Knowledge Everyday
To really progress financially, you’ll want to keep building your financial knowledge. Try spending a minimum of 20 minutes daily to learn more about money and ways to use it wisely. Invest time reading articles from reputable financial experts and keep up with our credit union blog.
We’re Here to Help!
Creating good financial habits is simple but will require a little discipline and planning. To make the process easier, ask us about the many financial tools available to help, such as online and mobile banking for budgeting or scheduled transfers to automate savings.
Our team is here to help you make the best financial decisions for your unique situation. For assistance, call, text, or chat with us, Monday-Friday 9am-4pm.
Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.