Money is one of our biggest sources of stress. Part of the problem is that it can be so stressful that most people tend to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to their cash and how it is spent. That leads to more problems and more stress. If you have already started taking control of your finances, you are very likely going to be keen on learning a few tips that will only boost your money management. If you want to fine-tune your finances to reduce stress and worry, here are some top tips for better money management that you might not have considered.
Your first step is to make sure that you have the right groundwork from which to build. That is going to mean going back to the basics to make sure that you have everything in place to build on. Your first steps should be to ensure that you have:
- A financial calendar: We pay out such a variety of bills and taxes every month that it is easy to overlook something when it comes to budgeting. Forget to include a tax payment or a bill and you will be left shorter than you expected, and that means an increased potential to dip into your savings or get into debt. Build a financial calendar so that you always know what to expect from the week and the month.
- Check interest rates: It is always a good idea to take the time to think a bit more about interest rates. They impact us in many ways, many of which are easy to overlook or forget about. If you are paying off debts, always clear the debt with the highest interest rate first. If you are opening a savings account, look for the one with the highest interest rates.
Once you have got your framework built, it is time to start looking at how you spend your money. That is going to mean some very clear steps:
- Set your budget: Always have a budget in place so that you know what you can spend and when. When you are starting to work harder at managing your money, starting with some tough budgeting should always be the priority. There are thousands of resources to walk you through building and sticking to a budget, so do your research.
- Go All-Cash: Sometimes referred to as the ‘cash diet’, sticking to cash payments only can have a dramatic effect on your spending. It is easy to see why. Paying for products using credit cards or electronic payments does not always feel like paying with real money. Paying in cash-only changes the way that you view your spending. It can be a challenge, but it is worth taking a closer look at.
- Allocating expenses: There are many ways to budget using percentages. Some people will swear by spending 20% of your income on savings and paying off debts, 30% on entertainment and lifestyle, etc. With so many options available here, you can choose from a variety of different spending strategies that will make it much easier to prevent overspending.
It is always a smart idea to get insurance for the things that you value the most. From car and home insurance to life insurance and renter’s insurance, having that level of financial protection in place can cause money stress to drop. Make sure that you:
- Understand life insurance: While life insurance is always a good idea to invest in, far too many people look for a quick policy and sign up without really doing some basic research. There are lots of different policy options available, so it is worth looking closer so that you know the benefits of a single premium policy over a traditional life insurance policy. The more that you understand your insurance options, the easier it will be to find the policy that suits you and your budget the most.
- Property insurance: Whether you own your home or you rent, there are insurance policies that will protect what you own from robberies, natural disasters, and fires. Some of those policies can even include additional coverage, so that medical bills become less of a problem, or will pay for hotel stays if your home becomes too damaged to live in.
Whether it is the weekly food shop or a spending treat in your favorite stores, you should always be looking for ways to spend your money more wisely. That does not mean that you have to live off the lowest-priced food and never treat yourself. Instead, try to:
- Consider cost per use: If you are looking at buying a new pair of jeans and you see a pair for $10 and another for $50, do not assume that it is more financially savvy to opt for the $10 pair. Always consider the lifespan of what you are buying. There is no point spending $10 on a pair of jeans that are going to last you less than a year. Invest in the more high-quality items that will last and get used a lot more.
- Shop alone: It is never a good idea to go shopping with friends. They are far more likely to encourage you to buy something that is stretching your budget, and that encouragement is often all the excuse we need to spend. Shopping with friends is fun simply because it lowers our financial inhibitions. The goal should be to pay attention to your shopping and save the socializing for more low-cost activities.
Make More Money
Money management can be a lot easier if you simply make more money! That might seem obvious, but between work hours, managing a household, and keeping everyone in your family safe, well-fed, and warm, where do you even find ways to make more money? Fortunately, you do not need to take on a second job to start generating an extra revenue stream. There are more ways to make money online than ever, and that is just one avenue to explore. From monetizing your hobbies to investing in businesses, finding ways to generate more income could be a lot easier than you think. Take a look at the many options available and start thinking of ways that you can earn some additional (or even passive) income.
The best thing about taking more control over your money is that it becomes easier the more that you do it. Start taking steps to fine-tune your money management, and you will find that financial stress can quickly become a thing of the past.