All of us would like to get ahead in life when it comes to money, whether that means saving up for a vacation, a new house, or just having a little more cash coming in on a weekly basis. The tough part is trying to figure out the way to make it happen, and then being willing to put in the work and have the discipline to make the dream a reality. The good news is, there are a few simple financial strategies you can implement in your daily life to help you get ahead and stay ahead.
This doesn’t have to be as comprehensive and extensive as a five-year life plan, but an important part of getting ahead is setting goals for yourself. What do you want? Where do you want to be? Both are important questions that once you have the answer to, you can start to work towards creating a long-term plan for reaching them. For example, if an “ahead” you want for yourself is to pay off your mortgage, take a look at the numbers and break down exactly how much extra you will need to pay each month to reach your goal within the timeframe you set for yourself.
Loans can be a tricky business, but there’s no denying just how useful they can be, and how powerful a tool they can be to deal with cash emergencies or unexpected costs. There’s a few main types to choose from: credit cards, car title loans and personal loans are some of the most common, but there are countless others to choose from. Each has advantages and downsides which you should judge carefully depending on what you plan on using them for. The point is, if there is an obstacle between you and the future you want for yourself, don’t be afraid to utilize whatever financial tools you have at your disposal to reach your goals.
Speaking of debt, you should make paying down any outstanding balances you are carrying as quickly as possible. The interest from almost every type of debt is going to be a constant drain on your monthly budget, and that is money that could be better utilized in reaching your goals. Credit cards with 0% introductory rates can be a valuable tool in paying down debt without incurring the expense of interest charges. A common trick is to transfer the balances from cards that are charging you interest to a zero percent interest card, and pay off the balance before the introductory rate period expires.
This may the most bitter pill to swallow, but it’s also the most effective method for getting ahead financially. The truth is that the best way to get out of debt and start working toward your goals is to simply spend less money. Sometimes that means not buying a new car, or downsizing your holiday plans, or packing your lunch each day instead of eating out. Remember that even little savings over a long enough period of time become big savings.
Most banks offer an auto-pay feature that will automatically deduct a specific amount or percentage of your earnings each pay period and transfer it into your savings account. This takes away the temptation to spend money you should be saving by removing it from the equation before your paycheck hits your checking account. Best of all, you won’t usually miss what you don’t see, which makes saving for your future easy and automatic.