A Few Things to DO to Improve Your Finances

Whether you’re stuck in a cycle of debt, earn too little to maintain your desired standard of living, or simply want to get a jump start on saving for a major financial goal such as buying a home or investing, you may need help to get on track with your objectives. Follow these strategies for taking control of your finances right now.

Read Books About Personal Finance

If you need help with your finances but aren’t sure where to start, seek financial wisdom from books written by experts.

There are many books out there on taking control of your finances, from how to get out of debt to how to build an investment portfolio. Books offer a great way to change your approach to managing money.

To boost your savings, buy used financial books online or borrow them for free at your local library. Consider audiobooks if you would rather receive the advice by ear.

Start Budgeting

If you are struggling to handle your finances, then you likely need to create a budget—a plan for how to spend your money each month that is based on how much you typically earn and spend. A budget is your best tool to change your financial future.

To start, write down your income and all your expenses, and then subtract the expenses from the income to determine your discretionary spending. At the start of each month, set up a budget to allocate how discretionary funds get spent. Track the spending over the course of the month, and at the end of the month, determine whether you stuck to the budget.

If you spent more than you made, fix your budget by cutting unnecessary expenses or earning more. Implement the revised budget the next month to start living within your means.

Reduce Monthly Bills

One of the easiest things you can do to take control of your finances is to cut your monthly expenses.

While you may not be able to reduce certain fixed expenses, such as rent or a car payment, without drastically altering your lifestyle, you can reduce variable expenses, such as clothing or entertainment, by being flexible and thinking frugally.

You can, for example, reduce electricity consumption to lower your utility costs, choose different providers for your home or life insurance, or buy your food at a discount at bulk stores.

Cancel Cable

Speaking of cutting monthly bills, there’s likely one bill that you could cut right now and potentially save hundreds of dollars every month: your cable bill. If you need a little help with your finances or you just want to reach your financial goals more quickly, you should consider cutting cable.

You don’t even have to give up TV altogether. “Cutting the cord,” that is, eliminating costly cable services in favor of low-cost streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, allows you to watch the shows you love without spending a ton each month.

If, after reviewing various streaming options, you’re still determined to stick with your cable provider, downgrade to a cable package with fewer channels to save a little money every month.

Stop Eating Out

Looking for an easy way to take control of your variable expenses every month? Curb your habit of eating out. The occasional splurge at a nice restaurant is fine, but the savings can add up if you start cooking at home or bringing bagged lunches to work instead of eating out each day.

Start small by cooking at home at least once a week. The next week, start taking your lunches to work. You may be surprised at just how much you can save. Over a 40-year period, brown-bagging it can save you $1,300 per year, or more than $50,000 over a 40-year career.1


7 Steps to Financial Freedom

7 Steps to Financial Freedom

Achieving financial fitness requires discipline and determination over the long term, just like running a marathon. CFA Institute believes that becoming financially fit means feeling good and confident about your financial situation. It means being able to manage your money in order to meet your current and long-term needs. As with any type of training, becoming financially fit requires learning the principles and best practices that others have used to achieve their financial objectives.

• You can’t reach your goals if you don’t set them • Planning how to use savings and investments to reach your goals is key • Determine how much you need to save over time to finance your dreams • Include an emergency fund in your financial goals • Create a budget that includes necessities, required expenditures, discretionary items, and the periodic savings necessary to finance long-term financial goals • Track your spending. Compare it regularly against your budget and make changes to your spending habits where necessary • Use the knowledge and skills you gain over time to spend less where possible and save more

• Curtailing the use of debt to consume is crucial when trying to optimize savings and investment capital

• Avoid high-interest rates and potential fees by minimizing the use of credit cards

• Build a debt management strategy to reduce and eliminate high-interest debt and to accelerate the payment of debts like student loans and your mortgage if they are a priority

• Put money in your savings account using direct deposit so that you don’t spend it.

• Make sure regular contributions make it into retirement and other investing accounts

• Use autopay to manage and pay recurring bills like mortgage or student loan payments.

• Use a money management application to help track payments and other expenditures

• Spending does not have to grow at the same rate as income

• Growth in income, bonuses, and other windfalls can increase savings and investment accounts

• Keeping expenditures relatively constant over time is a key method in achieving a secure financial future

• Establish a low-cost, globally diversified portfolio that’s appropriate to achieve both short- and long-term goals

• Use a broadly diversified portfolio of global stocks and bonds to obtain a proper return in regards to your attitude about, and ability to take, financial risk

• Where appropriate, think long-term and don’t be overly focused on the short-term performance of your investments. Stick to your investment plan and review your portfolio periodically to stay on track

• Being financially fit means understanding and utilizing the main principles and best practices in saving and investing • When needed, get help from an accredited investment adviser that can help you build an investment plan and portfolio to meet your financial needs Maintain a steady lifestyle To begin your training toward a more secure financial future, follow these 7 Steps to Financial Fitness: Like any type of training, taking the steps to financial fitness isn’t easy. It takes time, energy, and the discipline to obtain and hone the necessary skills over time. The best part of the 7 Steps to Financial Fitness is that they apply to anyone, regardless of how old you are, where you come from, or how much money you earn. These principles work because they are proven to help people optimize their savings, which can then be utilized to meet current financial needs and build long-term wealth.

How to Set Goals for 2021

The new year is right around the corner, and you know what that means . . . time to give 2020 the boot for good. And after you tell it “don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” get ready to welcome 2021 with open arms.

People love the whole “fresh start” that a new year brings. That’s no secret. But this year—more than ever—we’re all ready to embrace the fresh, new year with hope of what could be. And a huge part of that is goal setting.

We know you’re probably thinking: Goal setting? Ha! My goals went out the window in 2020. I was just trying to survive, and now you want me to think about goals? Yeah, right.

Whoa there, Negative Nancy. We get it. We really do. But having goals in life is essential—especially when things look chaotic. So this year, take some time to really think about those goals.  And remember, just having good intentions alone changes nothing. Nada. Zilch. You can make resolutions all you want—but a resolution without a plan is just plain old wishful thinking. It’s time to rethink how you see goal setting.

Read More Here!

Financial Relief – Break Free

How do you balance debt, save and enjoy the life you’ve earned?

This is such an important part of everyone’s true well being. Yet, most of us do everything we can to avoid the discomfort of truly facing our financial health.
Are you just trying to make it for now and put off all of those”big” decisions until you get on better footing?
Learn strategies to get you to the financial dignity you crave and have earned.
Finances are such a struggle to get under control for most of us . It seems like everything from education to basic living expenses like food and clothing have gotten so unmanageable. You have and they have. We live in a fascinating time to be alive. Smart phones, computers, technology in every field is evolving to make our lives easier, right? Then why is is so tough to make it? Why do so many people have anxiety and why does so much of it stem from financial worry?
Even if you make a high income, you still have elevated housing costs, food and likely those crazy student loans! It seems like everywhere you turn , you can not escape getting deeper and deeper into the hole. But what if there is a better way? What if there was a way to get you out of debt so that you do not have to feel out of control or embarrassed again? Simple steps can get you on track to have the abundant life you deserve.