Take control of your finances, easy said than done, right? I mean seriously if it was that easy and straightforward it will be done.
Many of us struggle with keeping track of our money that we just give up or accepted or stay in denial blaming others for our financial situation.
How do you take control of your finances when things seem to be out of control? A few years ago, I was wondering where my money was going.
I had a good paying job, and I thought my credit card debt was acceptable when compared to others; yet every payday, I was broke. I had no money, and I felt I needed to make more money so I wouldn’t be broke.
My bonuses and income tax money would be gone, yet I didn’t know where my money had gone.
I hated my job, and my health was deteriorating. I was having a baby, and due to my job and financial stress, it took a toll on my health.
It seemed like my finances were in a terrible mess, and it felt like everything was out of control. It finally hit me when I was at home on bed rest; I needed to fix this financial mess I got myself into and fast.
During my leave of absence from work, I searched the internet and read books. One thing I can tell you is that there are a lot of financial sites out there.
Some are great, some are OK, and some are just right! It’s easy to get confused and discouraged when you read them, but I can tell you not to give up.
One thing for sure is that following these 5 steps below was a way to start for me to get my finances under control.
5 Steps To Take Control Of Your Finances You Can Do Today
Write it down
To take control of your finances, take a moment and write down what your goal or goals are. I know I say this a lot about writing things down, but the truth is it helps and works!
For example; if you want to save money this year, write that down. If your goal is to eliminate debt, then write that down. Want to increase your saving by $500, write that down too!
It is essential that all the household members are included in this process and you are all on the same page about your financial goals. By writing down your goals down, it keeps you focused and on the same page.
If a year goal is too challenging for you, start by setting weekly goals. When you write your goal(s) and achieve it, it’s the greatest feeling ever regardless of how big or small your goals are.
Check out these posts:
- 12 Unbelievable Tips For Not Spending Money This Year
- 4 Ways To Save Money When You Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck
- If You Act Like This, You Are Not Wealthy, You Are Broke
Create your Budget
After writing your goals, start creating your budget. You can create a budget by writing it down on paper, by creating a spreadsheet, or by using online tools. Whichever way is easier for you, as long as it works for you. Make sure all your incomes and expenses are accounted for when creating your budget. Don’t leave anything behind, you don’t want any surprises to affect your budget.
Think of a budget as a spending plan, a financial blueprint. Always start with “needs” first then your “wants”, if you can afford it. If you are trying to cut down on your debt and/or planning on saving money for this year, then limit your “wants” until your finances are under control.
An example of this would be to start with the needs such as mortgage/rent, utilities (electric, heating, etc), food and such. Then your wants would be something like, vacation, entertainment, eating out, etc.
When I first created our budget and started using Mint.com, I realized that we were spending way too much money eating out. It was an eye opener to see how a few bucks here and there can add up.
Make It Work
Again, our problem wasn’t our income; it was our spending habits. My broke mindset was killing my finances. We took control of our “wants” and started focusing on our “needs.” Not only did it help reduce our spending, but it also gave us a bright look that we were the reason our finances were out of control.
Making your budget will not be easy if you never created a budget nor followed one. You are giving up how you spent money and have dealt with your finances, and this will be the hardest thing you will do.
You might also find that making it work will mean going back to your budget and adjusting or creating a new budget.
When we started budgeting as we continue to make it work our budget will change. Your budget will never stay the same and keep that in mind.
Don’t give up!
Giving up is an easy answer, and many have given up when it comes to their finances. I know for a fact that you don’t want to give up on your journey and this is why I’m sharing this with you.
When I first started working with our budget, I felt like I wasn’t getting it right. One thing I learned was that not all budgets are the same.
I used to search online and would start creating and comparing my budget to others, and that’s when things were not working out.
Never compare your budget with another person’s. It took me a few tries (months) to get it right. Most people have detail-oriented budgets, and others just keep it simple. I like it in between, and it works for us. Just remember to spend less than what you bring home.
So please don’t give up after your first attempt at a budget. Learn it and work with it until you get the budget that is right for you and your family.
Check and Review
Always check and review your budget. Don’t create a budget and then forget about it until the end of the month.
You can continually readjust and make changes to it as you go. Always sit with your partner and discuss it. Be honest and communicate.
I hope these 5 steps to take control of your finances are helpful to get you started on your financial journey. Remember that finances are not just about money, it is about you and how bad you want it.
The road to becoming debt free is not all about money but about changing the way we see life and money.
Your turn: When it comes to steps to take control of your finances, what are your tips?