Are you one of those people who dread opening your bank account because you know you won’t like what you see? Most people will face a moment in their lives when their personal finances are in a mess.
Maybe you’ve accumulated so much outstanding debt, or maybe you just don’t know your way around money management. Whatever it is, you need help reaching your financial goals. Here’s the complete and only personal finance checklist you’ll ever need to succeed.
Start Tracking Your Finances
Have you ever felt like there may be a hole in your wallet? You receive your salary, but within a few days, it feels like you’re already running low.
If this is you, chances are you may not have been tracking your finances. This is a good time to start!
Record your expenses every day (or every few days) and also take note of money coming in. This will help you understand your current financial status and will prevent you from overspending.
Updating your record regularly will enable you to see what you are spending your money on, and help you realize which expenses may be unnecessary.
Set Your Financial Goals
It’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t know what you’re running towards. This is why one of the most essential elements of a personal finance checklist is to set your financial goals.
What purchases have you been dreaming of making? Maybe you aim to be able to afford a house in five years. Or perhaps you want to go on a luxury vacation at the end of the year.
Write down your short-term and long-term financial goals. This will help you understand how much more you have to save to reach them. It can also be beneficial to have separate savings accounts for different goals, so you can track your financial progress.
Stick to a Budgeting Plan
Once you understand more about how you spend money, it’s time to set limits by sticking to a budgeting plan. Smart budgeting will help you discipline your spending without depriving you of all enjoyment.
Your budget plan will determine how much you have to save each month, as well as how much you can spend on certain things.
A popular budgeting method is the 50/30/20 budget rule.
This means you can use 50% of your income (after taxes) to spend on necessary expenses. This would include things like rent, groceries, utility bills, and anything you cannot exactly cut down on.
30% of your income then goes to your wants. If you want to head to a restaurant for a night out, or would like to watch a movie with your friends, these expenses will count as wants. They are inessential and would typically have an entertaining value.
The final 20% of your income will go to your savings. You may have plenty of savings accounts or plans, such as a retirement account or even investments. A portion of your savings can also go to repaying debts.
Don’t Spend on What You Don’t Need
This point sounds straightforward enough, but maybe a lot more difficult in practice. Once you’ve started tracking expenses and settled for a budgeting schedule, you may realize that you have been spending too much on unnecessary things.
This can mean going shopping too often, or eating out too much. You will have to start constricting your spending wisely. Instead of going out every night of the week, learn more recipes to cook at home.
Instead of letting yourself overspend during grocery runs, write a list of things you need to buy and stick to it. This will prevent you from adding items to your shopping cart subconsciously.
Have an Emergency Savings Account
What do you do when the unexpected happens? This is a question that a lot of people don’t know how to answer. It’s important to be prepared for everything, so you would want to ensure you set aside some money to deal with emergencies.
Maybe you need to make a sudden trip because of a sick relative, or maybe you need to go to the hospital for serious injuries. Whatever the situation, you wouldn’t want to go into an emergency with no money to spare.
This will damage your personal finances and may make it difficult for you to reach financial stability.
When creating savings accounts, make sure to have one that is specifically for emergencies.
Apply for Loans or Financial Aid
If you are in a position where you need money urgently, you can access different types of loans to help you now. This can be a suitable solution because you will have the money you need now, and will be able to repay the cost for a longer period of time.
Maybe you are making a decision that requires a lot of finances, such as going to university or buying a house. Know that there are resources to help you afford these dreams.
Compile Your List of Debts
If you have a variety of debts, it’s time to list them down. This will help you stay above the debt and make sure you pay everything on time. Mortgages, student loans, credit card debts – whatever it is, understand what debts you currently have so you can keep track of them.
Manage Your Debt
If you are someone who has a lot of outstanding debt, you will have to strategize on ways to manage them. Learning how best to repay your debt will be crucial for maintaining your personal finances.
One tip you can apply is to pay off the debt with the highest interest rates first. This will mean you have less to repay over time and will enable you to save more in the long run.
Take note of the repayment periods for your different loans and make sure you plan out how much you have to start saving in order to repay everything on time. This may mean being more strict with your expenses.
Another method for managing your debt is to get a debt consolidation loan with Plenti. Debt consolidation loans involve you receiving a new loan in order to pay off old ones. They will enable you to compile all your different debts into one, and simply spend your time paying that one loan off.
This will help you manage your debts, as you will not have to get confused with the lenders you need to be paying (and at which time). Another benefit is if the debt consolidation loan has a lower interest rate than your current loans. This means you will ultimately get to save more!
Start Saving for Retirement
It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. You may feel like you are at the peak of your career and won’t have to worry about having enough money in your later years, but this is a mindset that may cause problems. You never know how much you will be making later on, so you can’t accurately predict how much money you will have when you retire.
By starting to save now, you can safeguard your future from financial problems. This will reduce the number of things you have to worry about later on.
Consider Side Gigs to Make More Money
If you have checked off every single thing on this list and are still drowning under outstanding debt, you may want to start considering side gigs. Side gigs can be small jobs that you can work on the side of your current career.
Did you know that walking pets or babysitting can be money-making ventures? Starting a side gig is a lot easier than it seems. You can also go online and start a freelancing business.
Think of the hobbies you have and consider if they can help you make more money. If you like writing, for instance, you can start a freelance writing career by creating a blog and pitching it to clients.
The possibilities are endless!
Your Complete Personal Finance Checklist
If you have been struggling to get out of a financial rut, you will need to have a personal finance checklist to keep you on track.
This checklist we’ve provided will ensure you keep an eye out for your spending and find ways to reduce it. At the same time, you want to ensure you know how much you have to repay for your different debt plans. This will help you find ways to manage your finances to reach your goals!
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