These days few people are completely free of financial trouble. Changes in the economy, changes in job opportunities, and the inevitable unforeseen emergencies that send us clambering to retrieve our balance all contribute to problems with money.
There are ways to rebuild financial stability if you can make a plan and stick to it, as well as be prepared to adjust it for the unknown around the corner.
You can make changes to your financial life in under 30 days that will continue to benefit you in the long-term.
To get started with your financial makeover, you must be willing to do the work and stay on course.
First – Set a Financial Goal
The first thing you’ll want to do is set a financial goal that is obtainable. If you are heavily in debt, more than likely your first goal will be to make a plan to pay it off. If your debt is less of a concern, i.e., low enough you are willing to pay a little longer, then you may set a different goal. Like saving money for a grand family vacation before your kids have grown up and your chance is gone.
Either way, take the time to think of something you can achieve in the nearer future. When we set smaller goals for ourselves and achieve them, we are buoyed by our success to work harder toward larger ones.
Second – Initiate Measures to Learn Financial Self-Discipline
Once you have your goal set, take a hard look at your spending habits and see where your spending is “leaking” money. Then, “plug” the leaks.
Areas to consider reducing your spending:
- Take out coffee and espresso (say good-bye Starbucks)
- Eating out
- Ordering Delivery
- Going out to the Movies
- Ordering Alcoholic Drinks When Dining Out
Love your morning latte? Consider investing in a Keurig or Nespresso machine and ordering the cartridges in bulk online. Since most cartridges run less than a $1 a piece in bulk, your $25-$30 a week habit will be reduced to a $5-$6 dollar a week habit, give or take a few extra bucks for flavored creamers. It won’t take long for this savings to pay for the machine and then be money in the bank.
Have a large screen TV already? How about a surround system? Great! There’s no need to spend $10 a person for a movie ticket and then $10 or more per person for popcorn, sodas, and candy. You will need to be patient and wait for the film to come out on Pay-per-view, but when you are looking at a $70-$80 difference in price for a family of 4 to go to the movies versus renting, the saving will add up fast.
It will take patience and self-discipline to execute your goal. The real trick is, sticking to your guns.
Consider this, each time you rent versus going to the theatre, put the difference in a separate savings account. You’ll probably be surprised how quickly your balance grows.
Third – Mind Your Debt
If your debt isn’t part of your initial financial goal, you still want to take a look at it. There are things you can do in the short term to make it more manageable and possibly save on the amount of interest you will end up paying before you reach that coveted zero balance. Managing debt should always be a major part of everyone’s financial makeover list.
Here are some steps you can take to reduce your payments and your interest.
1. Refinance your mortgage to get a lower APR. The difference will probably lower your monthly payment, plus you may be payment free for a month once the old mortgage is paid off, and the new payments start. You may also receive a check for the balance of the old mortgages escrow account.
2. Compare your credit card’s current APR with the rates your bank is currently advertising. If they’ve gone down, call customer service to see if you can get them lowered.
3. Consolidate. Even if you don’t have collateral, if your credit is OK, you may be able to get a consolidation loan to pay off your higher interest rate credit cards. Most of the time, these loans have a lower APR, and the loan payment is usually less than the total card payments you’ve been making monthly.
You’ll also know exactly when the debt will be paid off based on the number of months the loan is for. The trick here is to cancel the cards after they are paid off to avoid accruing more debt with them.
Fourth – Look for Additional Money-Making Opportunities
Thanks to the internet, it’s no longer necessary to get a second job outside the home to make extra cash. From taking surveys to freelance jobs that fit into your schedule, there are a number of possibilities out there to boost your income, all from the comfort of your own home.
For more information check out our previous article “Creative Ways to Make Money Online.”
Making money is easy. It is. The difficult thing in life is not making it, it’s keeping it.
– John McAfee
Fifth – Consider Changing Jobs
Have you gone as far as you can go in your current position? Have you gained enough experience to warrant a pay increase? If so, you may want to consider looking around to see what other opportunities are out there.
Job posting sites like Indeed.com, Glassdoor.com, and Ziprecruiter.com not only have excellent search tools to find just the right position, they also list company info and ratings, and valuable information on how to interview, what to look for, and even how to build a resume.
Finally – Stay Focused on Your Financial Goal
Yes, we’ve come back around. The key to success is staying focused on the goal that you’ve set. During the initial 30 days, you will hopefully put some, if not all, of these financial makeover suggestions into practice. If you do, then you will have made an enormous first step toward achieving your goal as well as put in the groundwork for completing more goals in the future.
With each accomplishment, you’ll be able to say with satisfaction that you are capable of finishing what you start and doing more for yourself and your family. A financial makeover is a great way to start a fulfilled life. stay on course!