Are you looking to improve your personal finance right now but don’t know how and where to start? Here are six personal finance hacks you need to know:
Pay Off High-Interest Debt First
Most people get overwhelmed when they try to pay their debt because they don’t know where to start.
While there are many methods you can use, the most recommended one is to pay high-interest debt first and make minimum payments on the others. You will end up paying less interest rate in the end.
This method is known as “the debt avalanche”. It will help you pay your debt faster than other approaches like the “Debt Snowball”.
Set Financial Goals
You probably already know that saving money is important. But is it hard for you to take the first step and get motivated?
Try setting short, medium, and long term goals for your money.
The short term goal should be something you want to achieve in the following months or the next year. It could be saving money for your next vacation, or most importantly, an emergency fund. Liquidity is important, so you want a low-risk investment that you can withdraw quickly.
The next one would be a medium-term goal. For this type of objective you won’t need that cash for the next five to ten years. This could be saving money for your kids’ college or giving a down payment for your new house. Here you can take some risk, only if you want. But it can mean that you can earn more interest on your investments.
And the last type would be the long-term goal. For this you won’t need to withdraw the funds in ten years or more. For instance, saving for retirement or financial independence. Financial specialists recommend investing in a Roth IRA or 401(k).
This way you will stay more focused to stay on track to get the final reward. It will also make you feel good and create a sense of achievement.
Living Below Your Means
After setting your goals, you will need to find a means to make them a reality, which will require you to live below your means.
The first step is to create a budget and reduce meaningless expenses, such as subscriptions you don’t use, cooking at home instead of ordering take-outs, etc.
When you are making a purchase decision you should ask yourself if you really need the product. One trick is to give it 24 hours. If you are still thinking about it, it probably isn’t an impulse purchase.
It is also a good idea to get a side hustle to get extra cash by being a freelancer online and help you achieve your goals faster.
Put Your Savings in Automatic
The majority of people think about paying their bills first and then worry about saving, but hardly put it into action.
Have you ever heard of the concept called paying yourself first? If saving money is not your greatest strength, you might want to consider this method to start.
By choosing to set automatic transfers to your savings, you make sure you don’t forget to save and it also takes less effort.
This concept was created by the author of the book The Debt Escape Plan, Beverly Harzog.
The first step is choosing a high-interest savings account that doesn’t charge a lot of fees and has the option of automating your savings.
Use Personal Finance Apps
Tracking your finance shouldn’t be hard. You don’t need to create boring excel spreadsheets to monitor your expenses.
By using personal finance apps you can organize your finances more easily in a user-friendly interface.
It also allows you to see where your money is going, so that you can make better decisions in the future and create better goals.
Another thing is that you won’t have to worry about missing any bill due dates since you can set up reminders.
One good example is the app Mint that helps you create your budget and keep on track of things. They will even show your current credit score.
If you want to save money on your bills you can also start using a free tool called Trim. They help you by canceling unwanted subscriptions, negotiating your bills on automatic, and will even help you find a better car and home insurance deal, among other things.
Cashback is one of the easiest ways to save or earn money. As the name itself says, cashback is when you earn a percentage of your money back after making a purchase.
You can either start earning these rewards when you sign-up on a cashback website like Swagbucks or Rakuten, or you can use a cashback credit card. Cashback credit cards give up to 5% back on certain types of purchases like groceries, gas, or restaurants.