Table of Contents
- What Being in Charge of Your Personal Finance Looks Like
- How to Take Control of Your Finances
- Draw Up a Budget
- Keep a Money Journal
- Start Saving
- Reduce Your Debt
What Being in Charge of Your Personal Finance Looks Like
Your personal finances are the money you have, and being in charge of it is about how well you manage it to meet your financial obligations and financial goals.
People in charge of their finances know precisely what they spend their money on and typically have a budget. These folks usually also have savings and investments that they contribute monthly to, to build an emergency fund and grow their wealth.
In contrast, people not in charge of their finances don’t typically know where their money goes and may find themselves short at the end of the month.
Being in charge of your finances is not about the amount of money you have but how you manage your income.
How to Take Control of Your Finances
Perhaps you find yourself short on cash towards the end of the month but can’t understand why you may not be in control of your finances. Many people are in this boat as they spend money without realizing it or are unaware of how much they spend unnecessarily.
The good news is, taking control of your finances might not be as complicated. It just requires a bit of discipline. Implementing the following might help to have more control over your finances:
Draw up a Budget
Almost every financial expert will tell you that the first step in gaining control of your finances is to have a budget. A budget allows you to plan where your money is spent and allocate your funds according to your financial obligations. If mapped out correctly, you will less likely be short at the end of the month.
When drawing up your budget, you must be as realistic as possible. Start by allocating money to essentials like rent, utilities, phone bills, fuel, food, school fees, loan repayments, savings, etc. Once you’ve budgeted for these, you can see what money is leftover for non-essentials such as entertainment.
If your basic needs exceed your monthly income, you may need to look for ways to reduce your spending. For example, perhaps your food bill is very high because you shop at an upscale, gourmet store or purchase expensive ingredients. In this case, you might consider bulk buying or shopping somewhere more affordable.
Keep a Money Journal
Often, we’re unaware of how much money we spend, especially when we spend small amounts. But these small amounts add up. An easy way to become more aware of your spending is to note it every time you spend money. You can do this by recording it in the Notes app on your phone, in a book, or on an excel spreadsheet.
It would help if you made a note of every penny you spend. This includes your daily coffee order, an express mani you had during your lunch hour, or the bunch of flowers you bought yourself as a midweek pick-me-up.
Review your money journal weekly or monthly to use as a guide on where to save and budget.
You should save a portion of your income. Ideally, you should have three main types of savings – an emergency fund, savings for short-term goals, and investments or savings for the long term or retirement.
Your emergency savings account should have enough money to cover your monthly expenses for three to six months. This will help you if you fall ill and can’t work or lose your job. You can also use money from this account for unplanned expenses like medical bills or car repairs.
Since many people don’t save, they are forced to take out a loan when they have an emergency that they can’t afford. While even people with bad credit could secure loans directly from CreditNinja or other lenders to pay for their unplanned expenses, taking a loan comes with interest. This means you will probably pay more than you would if you had money in savings.
The next savings account you should be contributing towards is for short-term goals. These are planned for larger expenses such as a new car or a vacation.
Lastly, you should also contribute towards your retirement. It’s best to start contributing to a retirement fund as early as possible so that you benefit from compound interest.
Reduce Your Debt
Debt can be expensive, and while you may need to borrow money to pay for some purchases, it might be essential to tackle your debt to bring down the amount you owe. Spend some time reviewing all the loans you have. This includes your mortgage, student loan, car loan, personal loan, credit card, and any other loans you may have.
Work on paying the loans with the highest interest first, as these are the most expensive. Once you’ve reduced the amount of money you owe, try to limit how much money you spend on credit.
Being in control of your finances means managing your money effectively and knowing where you spend your money. If you’re not in control of your finances, it’s easy to overspend. You can take control of your finances by drawing up a budget, keeping a money journal, saving, and reducing your debt.
- Investopedia: Personal Finance
- Bitpanda: What is Personal Finance and Why Does it Matter?
- Fifththirdbank: 7 Steps for Taking Control of Your Finances
- HBR: 5 Easy Ways to Take Control of Your Personal Finances
- Thebalance: 20 Ways to Take Control of Your Finances
- Fool: 4 Steps to Finally Taking Control of Your Finances