April is Financial Literacy Month
Whether you’re saving for a vacation next year, or retirement in thirty years, being knowledgeable is the key to success in reaching your financial goals. And no matter what your goals are, we have some tips that can help you stay on track.
The number one thing you can do to stay on top of your finances is to create a budget. You may think that even without a budget you have a pretty good grasp on what money you have coming in and going out. If that’s true, then imagine how much better it could be with a budget!
A lot of times when people hear “budget” they think that it means limiting your spending to the bare minimum. In reality, budgeting is only as restrictive as you want to make it. Budgeting your personal finances means that you have a plan for your money – knowing how much you will make and how much you have in expenses.
When you have a financial goal you want to reach, budgeting is the best way to plan ahead and save for your goal. But budgeting isn’t the only way to be more aware of your personal finances. These additional tips will help you stay financially savvy:
Consider Going Cash-Only. This doesn’t have to be a permanent change, but adopting a cash-only policy for spending is a great way to get a grasp on your spending. It’s easy to swipe a card when you don’t “see” the money leaving your account. Using cash will really make you think twice about purchases.
Create a Short-Term Plan. It’s great to set smaller goals that you can reach quickly because they keep you motivated to keep going in a positive direction with your personal finances. Plus, smaller goals can add up to big changes over time.
Create a Long-Term Plan. While it’s great to think about next month and next year, you also need to think about your future. Your kids will be in college before you know it and then you’ll be thinking about retirement. These things may seem like they are far away, but it’s better to start planning now than to put it off.
Manage Your Credit Score. Having a great credit score can mean better financial opportunities. If you find yourself in a place where you need to take out a loan, a better credit score can mean a lower interest rate and payment – saving you money over the life of a loan.
Track Your Spending. It’s easy to let monthly subscriptions and other habitual expenses get away from you. Create a calendar reminder quarterly to assess your spending and check for automatic charges for things you may not be using.
Prioritize Saving. We “saved” the best tip for last. Pay yourself first. Always make saving a priority in your budget by treating it like a bill that cannot be overlooked. This way, when you have an emergency or unexpected expense, you’re more prepared for it.
With these tips, you’ll be on your way a financially savvy future. If there’s a specific topic you want to learn more about, do a quick search on our blog using the search bar at the top of our website! You can also learn more about the initiatives behind Financial Literacy Month here.