Money isn’t everything, but living in constant financial hardship is nothing to aspire to. Creating and maintaining healthy finances can go a long way in helping you live a fulfilling life. Yes, financial health can significantly reduce the current stress in your life, but it means much more than that. Prioritizing your financial health now will help you secure a stable financial future.
You don’t need an MBA in finance to get on track with your spending, saving, and investing. If you’re ready to start building your financial future, here are some simple tips to get you going.
Spend Time on a Good Budget
The first step of getting a grip on your finances is coming up with a budget. Creating a budget doesn’t have to be complex, but you do need to plan on spending time on it. Most people find it best to do a monthly budget, but you can even separate it into weeks if it helps you in the beginning. Writing out your income, expenses (both fixed and variable), and goals will help you start your financial habits off on a solid foundation. It will also help you see where you need to cut spending so that you can reach your goals and save.
There are a plethora of smartphone apps that can help you stay on track financially; YNAB and Mint are just two of many. If you start using multiple apps, however, make sure you have a good data plan. Going with unlimited cell phone plans might save you money in the long run because you won’t have to worry about overage charges.
Consider Investment Properties
Investing can be used to fortify your financial future as well, and real estate is one of the best ways to start investing. Many people get into investment properties because it can diversify your portfolio and give you short-term and long-term returns. Plus, you stand to make real money if the property value appreciates. There are different types of investment properties, all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages. So, do your research on being a landlord, purchasing properties to flip, getting into real estate investment trusts, and other kinds of real estate investments to figure out which path to take.
Put Money Away
This is something that any financial advisor will talk about: saving money. No matter how much money you can afford to save at this point, try to put away something each paycheck, even if it’s $2. Also, work toward building an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses such as medical bills, car maintenance and repair, major home repairs, and so on. Having money available to cover such expenses can keep stress levels down and help you to avoid racking up credit card debt. As an initial goal, shoot for saving $1,000 for your emergency fund. Once you hit that mark, save up for six months of expenses, then start putting 1 to 2 percent of your home’s value or 10 percent of your monthly income into the fund each month.
Dine in More Often
Americans spend a lot of money eating at restaurants and ordering takeout. With a little time and effort, however, you can save money by cooking delicious meals at home. That way, you will have more funds to put toward your financial goals.
Consider meal prepping once a week. For instance, you can spend a couple of hours on Sunday preparing your lunches for the week, and maybe even a few dinners. By having all the ingredients prepared and organized, it cuts down on cooking time considerably. And if you search for fun new recipes, you can broaden your palate by experiencing new cuisine.
You can start fostering your financial health today so that you’re in a good spot in the future. Develop a budget, look into all the finance smartphone apps, and consider getting into investment properties. Lastly, remember to save money each paycheck, build up an emergency fund, and start eating at home more often.
Written by Chirstopher Haymon of Adulting Digest