Having personal finances under control is not easy, especially if you are young. The temptation to spend money on things that seem important at the moment but which won’t bring any real benefit in the future is huge. But being responsible for your own economic situation gives you a lot of freedom and power, so here are some simple tips how to do it.
1. Develop a spending plan for yourself.
To get control of your personal finances, you need to get clear about the money that comes in and the money that goes out of your account on a regular basis. Figure out how much you earn and what will be left after all necessary expenses (rent, bills etc.) and think about ways how to spend the rest of your income in a way that will be beneficial for you.
While deciding where to spend your money on, think about what is really important for you. Do you want to buy designer clothes? Perhaps it’s better to invest this amount of money into your education or use it to travel abroad. Taking into account your own wishes and desires, make a list of the things to do with your money.
When you are clear about what your priorities are, develop a spending plan according to it. This plan is very important as it will keep you motivated and focused on achieving goals rather than spending recklessly and randomly.
2. Be aware of your habits
There are certain things that are very hard to resist. Chocolate, luxury perfumes, designer clothes etc. are not bad in themselves but they often lure us into spending money without thinking about the actual needs and desires we have.
To avoid such situations it’s important to be aware of our habits and only buy the things we really need and want.
Try to think beforehand about situations when you might be tempted by spending money. Maybe it works for you not to go shopping on Saturdays or leave credit cards at home before going out with friends? You can also try writing down all things that could cost you money and make a list of what you should do before making a purchase.
3. Set yourself a budget
Making a shopping list will make it easier for you to set your financial goals. Decide what you want to spend your money on in one week, month or year – this will depend on how much you earn. If you are not sure how much exactly you are allowed to spend, try not to exceed your last shopping list amount by more than 10%.
After determining the budget for each period think what you can do without. If it’s necessary for you to buy designer clothes go through all items in your wardrobe and sell or donate those that are simply lying there unused.
4. Think twice before buying
Keep in mind that we often value things we already possess much higher than those we don’t. Try to imagine the benefits and joy you will have using this purchase for a long period of time instead of just thinking about how good it looks or how many compliments you will get while wearing it. Ask yourself what purpose it serves, is it something you will use often?
5. Make a price comparison
To avoid wasting your money always try to look for things you need in different places and compare the prices. Not only supermarkets, also online stores often offer cheaper versions of what we want so it’s worth checking them too. There are many websites that can help you find the best deals on anything from plane tickets to furniture.
If you can’t afford something that you really want but it’s only a bit too expensive then it’s good idea to wait for the right moment. Usually, all items get cheaper after a month or two. If there is no big rush and you don’t need this thing right away try waiting for a while instead of spending your money on it.
6. Avoid credit card debt
The easiest way to get out of control when spending money is getting indebted. Take a look at your credit card bills and think if you actually need all these things or if they are just an impulse purchase. When shopping with credit cards, you don’t feel the weight of the money leaving your wallet. Usually you don’t even know how much you will have to pay in total and this makes it easier to buy whatever we want, which is exactly why we shouldn’t be doing it. If you can’t pay your credit card bills on time, cut up the card so that you won’t spend more than necessary using it.
7. Give yourself a reward
In order to keep motivated it’s good to set yourself some rewards for the things you have achieved. Making a shopping list and sticking to it, resisting temptations or even just getting your finances organized can work as a great motivation factor. Rewarding yourself is also another good way of motivating because you will know that it’s coming after you have done all the hard work.
8. Don’t take high-risk personal loans
Another way to get in debt is using high-risk personal loans. If you still think borrowing money is the only solution, try not to borrow more than necessary. Check with your bank or other financial institutions for available offers before choosing a loan provider.
However, avoid these types of loans if possible as they can lead to further financial problems and credit rating deterioration.
9. Be smart with loans
When borrowing money, you should always try to get a loan with the lowest possible interest rate as it will reduce the amount of money you have to pay back. Pay off your debts as early as possible and never stop paying them even if your financial situation changes for the worse. If you have to take out a loan, make sure you know what you should do if you can’t repay it and how much the bank charges for failing to do so.
10. Plan your dreams instead of buying them
Instead of deciding what to buy next think about how you can achieve your dreams without money involved. For example, if you always wanted to visit Australia but can’t afford it at the moment try working harder or saving money so that you could do it in the future. You can also try saving some money for what you really want instead of just spending it on many small things that don’t make you any happier.
11. Avoid using “I deserve it!” as a reason to buy anything
Sometimes we feel like buying something even if we know we shouldn’t because the consumer world has taught us we deserve it. We all need something to make us feel good and motivate ourselves, but if you still can’t stop thinking about that expensive pair of shoes, think whether they will really change your life or not. If you don’t really need them and only want them because they look nice, maybe it’s better to avoid buying them.