Strapped for Cash every month-end? Here's what you can do!
"Money" they say, makes the world go round! If you've been finding it hard to make your paycheck last maybe a few quick tips that help you better manage your finances is the need of the hour!
Everything Starts with a Goal
Sit down and think – what is the purpose of better money management? You could pick and choose from a myriad options – buying a house, planning a family, planning for retirement, starting a business and the list goes on. This will definitely be tied into your overall short and long term goals. Drill down to the finer aspects, how much liquidity, emergency fund arrangements, lifestyle non-negotiables and chart out on paper your financial goals for the next 5 years at least.
Set Savings and Investment Amounts
Goals should translate to actions and here comes the aspect of deciding on how much savings you wish to have as per your defined timelines and in what form. An effective manner to make this happen is segregate the savings and investment components from your salary at the start of your month to provide a “realistic view” of your spending capacity. Understand spending and saving norms - as per a rule quoted by one of the bigwigs in the financial world, No more than a third of one's net income should be used to service debt; savings must be at least one-third the income.
Do the Math - Charting a Budget
Financial can't always be about wanting the latest car, a designer outfit and the sorts! Write down your expenses through a monthly tracker, make sure you outline the not-so-visible ones like credit cards, e-wallets, online transfers etc. A good idea is to segregate these into the "must-haves" and the "good-to-haves". You could start by asking yourself the questions below.
- Do I really need this?
- What will I lose if I do not buy this?
- Is it even worth the money?
- Does this match my short term or long term financial goal?
Understand the Instruments
With a plethora of financial offerings in the market, it is advisable to be informed about the outcomes, benefits and risks involved in each. Auto-SIPs, insurance schemes, government bonds, the stock market, real estate – it is important to know more about each. Get the groove of financial basics through online channels such as financial tutorials of business magazines and sites such as Money Control. The main part is to correlate these to your goals and avail the best ones.
Review and Track
Revisit where you have overridden your budget and factor that in every month. Maintain an emergency fund which is easily accessible at all times. With unforeseen medical costs, contingency planning is a key aspect of financial planning.
Cut out the Flab
Avail discounts and offers through online schemes, cut unnecessary costs by scouting for more economical options when dining out or planning a socoal get-together. To cut impulse shopping, avoid credit cards unless they provide significant money-saving benefits through schemes.
Financial well-being has been found to have a direct correlation with being happy. According to the Happiness Index, many of the low-ranking countries are the economically/financially backward ones. Managing your money is a basic tenet of the modern person, be it from any walk of life. An eye to details, willingness to go the extra mile to make it happen and an iota of self-discipline thrown in has the potential to leave a financial- stress free and fulfilling life.