Your financial well-being, or overall financial situation, is unique to you. Often, we equate how well we’re doing financially with how much money we make, our credit score, or overall net worth1 . In reality, your financial well-being is determined by factors that tell a larger story about your relationship to money. This includes how well you’re able to stay on top of your financial obligations, how secure you feel about your financial future, and ultimately whether you have the freedom to make financial choices that allow you to enjoy your life. “This post “Mo Money: 25 tips to improve your Finances” seeks to provide helpful financial information. The U.S. Census states that 11.8% of Americans live in poverty in 20171 .
The story you tell about your finances doesn’t need to be a scary one. This October, during Financial Planning Month, we’ve pulled together 25 easy-to-follow tips for getting a handle on your money and improving your overall financial well-being. It starts by getting a realistic picture of where your money is coming from and where it’s going. Then, we walk you through how to stay on top of your finances so you can plan—and save—for the future2.
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How would you rate your financial well-being? Get started by taking our quiz, and join us online throughout October by following #FinancialPlanningMonth and sharing these tips and tools.
Understand where your money goes
The prequel to your financial story begins with a look into your past and current finances. What do you spend money on, and where are you getting your income? By tracking these factors, you can get a better sense of your financial picture today so you can plan for the future.
1. Take our quiz to see how healthy your finances are.
Answer just 10 questions to measure your financial well-being and get a few steps for making improvements. Take it now, then take it again later to see if your story has changed.
2. Learn where your money is coming from.
Before you can make any improvements, you need to get an accurate picture of your finances. Start by tracking your sources of income.
3. Learn where your money is going.
Fill out our spending tracker to get a sense of your regular expenses. To get a handle on your money, you need a system that will allow you to track your daily spending on an ongoing basis. Find and stick to a system that works best for you.
Saving money might feel out of reach at times, but consistently putting away even small amounts of money can make a big impact over time. Check out our tips for making saving a part of your everyday routine, and then watch it grow.
8. Give yourself financial security with an emergency savings fund.
Start by putting aside what you can afford in order to help cover many common emergencies, such as a car repair or medical bill, that could otherwise become costly debt. Prioritize a dedicated savings account for these unexpected expenses as one of your top savings goals, and as you get a better handle on your overall financial situation, you may decide to set more aside.
9. Set rules for your emergency savings–but don’t be afraid to use it.
Set guidelines for yourself for when you can spend down this savings fund and what constitutes an emergency, but if you need it, don’t be afraid to use it. That’s what it’s there for. Just remember to work to rebuild it.
Paying down debt can seem scary or tough, but with some proven strategies, you can make it happen, bit by bit. Our tips for reducing debt can help you find the right methods to trim your debt into something that feels manageable.
13. Before making a plan to pay down your debts, know what you owe.
Use our debt log to get a sense of the amount of debt you owe, including interest rate and projected payoff date, and who you owe it to.
14. Choose a debt reduction strategy that works best for you.
19. Set up alerts to stay on top of your checking account balance.
Through most banks and credit unions, you’re able to set up alerts to notify you of your checking account balance at the end of the week or if your balance gets low. This helps you monitor your accounts and also protects you from incurring additional overdraft fees.
20. If you can’t make a bill payment, act fast and call your creditors.
21. When shopping for a loan, get quotes from at least three lenders.
One of the best ways to save money on a loan is to shop around and get estimates from several lenders to best compare terms and fees. This is true for home loans as well as other types of loans, including auto loans.
Plan for success
Planning ahead is always helpful, and once you get a handle on your current financial picture, set some goals for what comes next. By building a plan, you have a roadmap to help guide you through the rest of your story.
22. When planning for the future, set SMART financial goals.
Break down your financial goals so that they’re Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. While dreams tend to be aspirational and often vague, setting actionable SMART goals can help you reach your dreams.
If you’ve taken some time to work through these tips, starting with our financial well-being quiz, we encourage you to go back and take it again at the end of October. Improving your financial health and well-being takes time, but the more you know, the more empowered you’ll be to make informed decisions that’ll improve your financial future.
Looking for other tools?
Sign up for our Get a Handle on Debt and Start Small Save Up, email series’ that deliver step-by-step resources directly to your inbox and make it easy to create plans to reduce your debt and save for the future.
Jay Harold hopes you enjoyed this post, “This post “Mo Money: 25 tips to improve your Finances” seeks to provide helpful information. Please share this post and readmore about Jay Harold here. Please take this advice from Muhammad Ali and give back to others. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”