ExecutiveChronicles.com | Money Management – 5 Steps To Help You Master Your Finances | Debt management is one of the most daunting phrases you can utter in the modern world. Yet with US consumer debt at $13.86 trillion (yes, trillion), it’s essential that we start managing our debt and mastering our finances. Wherever you happen to be starting from, the following five steps will help you gain a sense of control over the monetary side of your life.
1. Acknowledge the B-word
By this, of course, we mean “budget.” There’s a reason this step is hammered home by every financial advisor – budgeting works. If you hate the idea of math and spreadsheets and planning your life out to the finest detail, don’t stress! There are plenty of budgeting apps and personal finance software packages that handle all the tedious aspects and make it a breeze.
If you’re still feeling resistant to the idea, consider this – not having a budget is like trying to plan your path on a map with no idea of where you are now. Getting your income and expenses clearly laid out in a budget is the financial version of locating that big, bold “you are here” sign.
2. Consolidate debt
That $13.86 trillion in personal debt is a mixed bag of credit cards, student loans, mortgages, personal loans, and more. If you have a mixed bag on a personal level too, then consolidating all your debts and negotiating the lowest possible interest rate is one of the smartest moves you can make. The trick here is to do your research and go in armed with the knowledge it takes to ensure you get the best deal.
3. Ditch toxic expenses
Social media has been abuzz lately with the concept of ditching toxic friends, but toxic expenses are a far more pressing issue. And these aren’t what you might expect. If your morning takeaway coffee (in a reusable cup, of course) fills you with joy, then you do you. However, if you haven’t used your gym membership in nine months, then it’s time to get real with yourself and accept that this cost is weighing you down. The same goes for subscriptions and accounts you’re paying for but barely using. Even if it seems healthy or positive, if it’s not adding value to your life, then it’s financial dead weight.
4. Invest in your future
With a clear view of your financial position, your debts under control, and your expenses reigned in, you’re in a good position to start working a savings plan into your budget. You can start simple with an interest-paying online savings account, and as your confidence grows, you may wish to consider investment options. To invest successfully, you’ll need to do plenty of research, and you may wish to consider hiring a financial planner to help you navigate the investment labyrinth.
5. Keep yourself inspired
Though it’s exciting to see your debt balance decline and your savings climb, there are times when money management is downright tedious. To get you through those moments when you feel like ditching your budget and returning to the days of financial frivolity, find some online resources that inspire you. Explore sites like Forbes and Business Insider or subscribe to finance-based YouTube channels hosted by people you vibe with. Find what motivates you and keep a steady stream of inspiration flowing.
The key to achieving lasting success with these five steps is to fuel every decision with research. The more you learn, the better equipped you’ll be to finally master your finances.