Two of the most common New Year’s resolutions mentioned by individuals are getting in better physical shape and spending less money.
Although the two objectives are mutually exclusive, some may take the initiative to do both in terms of becoming financially fit. Getting financially fit entails improving your money management skills with the intention of becoming debt free and building wealth.
Below are 10 tips that you may use to get a better hold on your personal finances to become financially fit in 2015.
1. Prepare Your Budget
Having a personal budget is a fundamental tool to control how and where money is being used. Budgets can be rigid in accounting for where each cent is going, or flexible in allowing a little leeway for spending in order to take advantage of specials at grocery stores. The most important aspect of a personal budget is that it must be prepared in order to obtain a goal, be it to save for the long-term, and/or to reduce spending to avoid and decrease debt. As a result, individuals should know how much they are earning and staying within spending limits.
2. Know Your Debt Level
When you are in debt to a family member or a bank, you should know for how much and when it is due. As a result, you can be in a better position to plan on how to repay your creditors in a timely manner.
3. Pay Your Debts
The saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” does not apply to debt. Knowing that there is a very heavy cost to borrowing money, which comes in the form of interest, you should make every attempt to pay your debt on time. This includes paying more than the minimum of credit card charges.
4. Avoid Using Credit Card
With the clear understanding that a credit card does not give you access to free money when you do not have cash in your bank account, avoid making unnecessary charges. The golden rule that should be followed is to leave your card at home unless you have the money to completely pay the bill when it is due.
5. Cut Some Expenses
Want to save more money? Try looking at your budget and reduce your expenses; this may entail reducing the amount of times you eat at a restaurant, buy new clothes or finding an alternative mode of transportation to get to work or school.
6. Increase Your Income
Increasing your level of income whenever the opportunity presents itself is very beneficial to your financial future. Any extra earned income should be divided into two portions. The first portion should be used to pay off debt or save for the long-term. The second half should be used to reward yourself for your efforts while working.
7. Use Your Tax Free Savings Account Contribution Room
If you have cash in a chequing account that’s not being used, consider placing a portion of the amount in your tax free savings account. Rather than having the government tax the amount on a yearly basis, you should shelter the money and earn income that will not be taxed. You can either make a lump sum deposit or have a monthly transfer plan programmed based on your needs.
8. Start A Retirement Savings Plan
For individuals who would like to take a long-term view of their personal financial matters, starting a retirement savings plan may be a very good option. In order to do so, individuals must be employed, have a steady source of income and be prepared to lock away sums of money on a consistent basis. A Retirement Savings Plan can take the form of a tax free savings account or a Registered Retirement Savings Plan. Each option has its particular advantages and disadvantages that should be examined before investing a lump sum of money.
9. Read Personal Finance Articles
In order to be a smarter money manager, read more personal finance articles. From the local newspaper to the Internet, you can access many articles where there are an array of opinions and analyses about what to do and not do with your money. The articles can range from practical and easy-to-understand advice to high-level forecasts and speculation reports on where the stock market is going.
10. Talk To Financial Advisors
If you believe that you need help to save money and plan for the future, consider talking to financial advisors; a financial advisor can assist you in finding the best way to save for the long-term by making the right investments based on your goals and how much money you are willing to risk in order to obtain a good return on your investment. It is best to talk to various advisors to get different opinions on where you should place you money and for how long.