Do you ever feel as if your budget gets away from you and leads a life of its own? Many working adults do their best to control spending and keep track of their income and expenses but come up short. Living a money smart lifestyle is an important part of building long-term financial security, creating a secure retirement, and living the kind of life you want to live. The key is planning.
The process begins with developing a realistic budget that includes every category of expense and income. One of the most effective steps to cutting monthly spending is to refinance any student loans that are still lingering on your personal balance sheet. Then, consider downloading one of the many free coupon apps in order to save on grocery and household goods. It never hurts to build an emergency fund to deal with unexpected bills. Finally, be wise about retirement planning by contributing as much as possible to an IRA or similar account. Here’s how to get started.
Refinance Education Debts
Part of a commonsense financial life is reining in education debt. This is especially true for anyone who is still paying on one or more student loans after beginning a professional career. There’s no reason to let school loans bleed cash from your monthly budget. Instead, take control of your destiny by refinancing. It’s an effective way to avoid high-interest charges and combine all your loans into a single obligation. In most cases, like when working with NaviRefi student loan refinancing professionals, you can gain access to more favorable repayment periods, lower rates, and more advantageous terms. A refi can help you save money every month and have excess cash for dealing with other bills or just to build up a savings account.
Use a Realistic Budget
Make a commonsense process for budgeting that includes every debt, recurring expense, asset, income source, and savings balance you have. Then, arrange all the items in chronological order based on when bills are due and when you receive paychecks. There are many free budgeting apps that can help you, but step one is collecting the basic data and then inputting it via the app. Don’t forget to adjust and tweak your budget for the first few months until all the numbers fall into place. Then, follow the plan for at least six months before changing it.
Download a Coupon App
There are hundreds of no-cost coupon apps out there. Shop around for one that offers deals and discounts on items you buy often. Plus, try to find ones that work specifically with your favorite retailers. Most of the national grocery chains have their own coupon apps, many of which offer regular savings of about 10% on groceries. Some food chains have their own fuel stations where you can buy gasoline for as much as 20 cents per gallon below retail.
Build an Emergency Fund
Set a goal of creating an emergency fund that is equivalent to about three months of income. Be careful to place the money into an interest-bearing account. If you’re lucky, you won’t need to use the fund, so there’s no sense in keeping it in cash or in a checking account. Some people invest their emergency fund assets in brokerage accounts or other income producing vehicles.