Short of winning the lotto, there is no quick fix for becoming rich overnight. But the good news is, there are steps you can take to put quickly put your finances on track. If you’re ready to commit yourself to improving your finances, set several hours aside and go through the steps below to get started.
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1. Set goals and commit to saving.
The first step in improving your finances is to get a solid picture of where you stand. Readjust your priorities and think carefully about your money goals. It is a good idea to include your partner to make sure you are on the same page.
Set savings targets that align with short and long-term money goals like purchasing a house, buying holiday gifts, taking a vacation or putting your child through college. A good way to ensure you save every month is to set automatic deposits into your savings account so you aren’t tempted to spend the money elsewhere.
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2. Create a budget.
Your next step is to set a budget to you can keep your money on track. You need to take a close look all of your money that comes in and where it goes out. Identify each category (including savings, paying down debt and monthly expenses) and assign a specific amount to each. Each month, reassess your budget to see if you are on track or need to make adjustments. Be sure you are maximizing your income and see if there are ways you can earn extra money with part-time jobs, like babysitting or freelancing. Also, look into your company’s benefits to ensure you are taking advantage of everything offered like a matching 401k program or gym discounts.
Use tools like Manilla.com to help keep your money organized. Manilla is a free service that allows you to manage all of your accounts in one secure place. Manilla.com and the free Manilla mobile apps allow you to get a snapshot of your accounts and bills and provides you with reminders when your bills are due.
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3. Spend smartly.
Commit to spending your money wisely and to paying down your debt. Rather than purchasing things when you feel like it, really assess what you actually need and don’t need. Spend as little as possible on those things by using coupons, sales and rewards whenever possible. Keep in mind, though, that discounts and sales are a good way to lure shoppers into buying things they don’t actually need.
4. Take control of your credit.
You can’t change your credit overnight, but you can take the immediate first step of checking your credit score and getting a credit report. Start making your credit card payments on time and look to reduce your debt however possible.
Make your credit card work for you. Do research on the best type of credit card for your lifestyle. For example, if you travel a lot consider a card that is connected to an airline and accrues miles. Use websites like Nerdwallet.com to compare credit card offers and incentives.
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