5 Tips For Better Managing Your Finances

Last Updated on January 21, 2019

We’ve just started a new year, and for a lot of us that means now is the time to try some new initiatives and start working toward new goals. This might mean anything from losing a few pounds to finding a new job, with all kinds of possibilities in between. But one resolution that just about everyone can get behind is the idea of becoming more savvy when it comes to personal financial management.

The truth is that personal finance can never truly be mastered. Whether you feel this is an area where you could use improvement or you’re already pretty good at handling your income and investments, it’s not a bad idea to start off 2017 with a refresher on some helpful strategies. Without further ado, here are a few tips that can help you to handle your money more effectively in the year ahead.

1. Try To Reduce Your Debts

It’s always a good idea to be paying down debts as a priority. But you can also try to get them reduced through various means. This might mean shifting a balance from a high-interest credit card to a different one. It could also mean attempting to refinance loans related to education, car payments, or even your mortgage. These are processes you’ll need to educate yourself on as you go, but they’re overlooked by far too many people! This year, make it a priority to try to get any existing debts minimized.

2. Cut Out One Needless Expense

Most of us can think of one or two (or perhaps even several) things we spend money on that we don’t really need to. Depending on the nature of these needless expenses, they can actually be easy to cut out. For example, if you’re spending $5 a day or more on lattes, you might want to consider buying an espresso maker for your home and cutting out the café expenses. Maybe you’re still subscribed to a video or music streaming service that you’ve moved on from. Identifying one or two things like this and eliminating them can make for a satisfying start to the year.

3. Use A Financial Tracking Tool

Tracking finances and managing your own budget has never been easier. This is because of the finance category in app markets, which has exploded with sleek and helpful options that can do all kinds of nice favors for you and your wallet. Last spring, Forbes wrote up a list of 12 free apps that can help you to keep tabs on your spending, and each and every one of them comes with significant benefits. You’d be doing yourself a favor to check a few of them out and find one that works for you.

4. Consider A Mutual Fund

Part of personal financial strategy should include setting up investments that can put your money to work for you. The trouble is that most of us don’t really have time to be tracking portfolios, nor the funds to pay high-end account managers to do it for us. The solution for a lot of people is to look into mutual funds, which are described as funds that pool money from a group of investors, and which are managed by professionals. You do need to pay fees in these funds, but the idea is that they don’t suck up any of your time, and they’re almost automatically diversified for purposes of long-term growth. It’s not for everybody, but it’s never a bad time to consider it.

5. Open Your Mind To Supplemental Work

Finally, depending on the nature of your day job, you might want to start off the year considering some kind of light supplemental work. More and more people are doing some sort of freelance or independent work from home, whether that means selling crafts online, helping others with web design, tutoring, or all kinds of other possibilities. It’s easier than ever to find odd jobs on the internet, and if you find a niche you’re comfortable with then you could start bringing in a few hundred extra dollars here and there.

My Life, I Guess

My Life, I Guess is a personal finance and career blog by Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and older millennial from Ontario, Canada that strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.

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4 thoughts on “5 Tips For Better Managing Your Finances”

  1. I’ve found that it helps me to write down every single thing I buy. So not only do I pay cash, I also have to write down every expensive in a notebook. It really opens my eyes to see how much I spend!

  2. 1, 2,and 3 apply to me. The biggest change this year is meal planning. Only 13 days in to the new year, but I feel confident we can cut our eating out expenses significantly! I created a calendar with mini post its and we plan our meals a month ahead, but switch around post its as needed. Trying not to waste food! Also another great tracking tool is Personal Capital. Loving that one..

  3. I read your post and thought, what can I do to reduce my expenses ?! I decided to abandon the use of credit cards in the first quarter of 2017. This is a fairly large percentage of payments. This is my little experiment 🙂

  4. I write down where every last cent goes each month, and analyze it periodically. By doing this it helps me to see if I am developing any bad spending habits and then I can correct them. It can be a wake up call the first time you do it as you may not realize how much of your pay is going to cable or cell phone. Great tips, thanks for sharing!

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