5 Steps to Get Your Finances Under Control

Contributor: James Hall

Do you feel like you need to get a handle on your personal finances? Perhaps you want to start saving more money for your family’s future, or maybe you’re tired of living with credit card debt. Managing your money doesn’t have to be complicated, especially with helpful, straightforward investment advice from Stock Dads! With these tips, you’ll be able to make your money work for you and set financial goals that are aligned with your lifestyle.

Save For a Home

If you’re certain that you want to live in your current area for the foreseeable future, investing in property is one of the smartest financial moves you can make. You’ll gain a valuable asset and begin establishing true financial security.

However, it’s also true that buying a home is a major financial decision, so you’ll need to prepare carefully. You’ll have to calculate your budget and decide what you can afford without stretching yourself too thin, take steps to boost your credit score, and get preapproved for a mortgage. Preapproval will allow you to accelerate the closing process when you’re ready to put down an offer. In addition, you’ll want to work with a local real estate agent who understands your market. Get specific about the neighborhoods you’re interested in before you start attending open houses!

Set Other Savings Goals

Perhaps buying a house will be a priority for you in the future, but for now, you have other goals in mind that will require a hefty investment. For example, perhaps you want to save for your child’s college education, buy a new car, or take your family on a nice vacation.

When it comes to setting savings goals, US Bank recommends listing out your goals, identifying why you want to achieve these specific goals, and prioritizing them based on importance and urgency. Determine how much you’ll need to save each month to meet your goals, and then incorporate this figure into your budget.

Budget and Track Expenses

If you don’t know exactly how much money is coming into your household each month and how much is going out, it’s time to create a clear budget to guide your future spending. Include your household income, your fixed expenses, and estimates for your variable expenses. Ideally, you’ll have enough left at the end of each month to fulfill your planned savings contributions.

Use Credit Cards Wisely

Maybe you’re already carrying some credit card debt, but you want to pay it down and use your credit cards more carefully in the future. Incorporate larger payments towards any existing debt into your budget and cut back on your spending accordingly. When it comes to utilizing credit cards, Credit Karma recommends paying your bill in full every month and keeping your purchases below your credit limit. 

Start Investing

Saving can only get you so far. If you want to plan for long-term financial objectives like retirement, you need to start investing. To do this, you’ll need to open a retirement account or brokerage account. While you can purchase individual stocks, you might want to focus on investing in index funds if you’re just starting out and learning more about the stock market. A platform like Stock Dads can help you master the fundamentals! Index funds track large stock indexes, so they are less risky and can provide substantial returns over the years as you gain compound interest.

Even if you’ve gotten into a habit of spending money without paying much attention to where it’s going, it’s never too late to master better personal finance habits. Starting today, you can begin budgeting for the months ahead, tracking your spending, and investing. With these tips, you’ll be able to set yourself up for a bright financial future!

Ready to start investing for your family’s financial goals? The community at Stock Dads will show you the ropes! Join the community today through our website to begin learning.

 

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