Often, a new season brings a new set of goals, especially when it comes to your finances. It’s easy to fall into bad money habits and for your targets to take a backseat. Now is the perfect time to press the reset button and get back your money discipline that you may have lost over time. We can all become financially independent, it just takes a little planning alongside a positive and healthy attitude towards money. To help you plan your path and build a more stable financial future, here are three money rules to follow to protect your lifestyle and allow you to move forward towards what’s important to you.
1. Spend Less Than You Earn
This is the simplest rule in the book, yet many people struggle with this concept and end up battling credit cards, loans, and debts. If you want to put away any money for the future, whether it’s for a short-term or a long-term goal, you have to not spend more than you earn. A Behavioural Cash Flow Plan could help you rethink your spending. Even if you start only putting a small amount of money aside each month, this is a good start. It’s good to get into the habit of saving. Your first savings goal could be an emergency fund. An emergency fund is very desirable to have as unexpected events can easily happen, such as a car repair or other unexpected expense. Having an emergency fund means you’re less likely to go into new debt when the unexpected does happen.
2. Eliminate High-Interest Debt
It’s not uncommon to have debt, but there are certain rules you should follow when it comes to tackling your debt and paying it off. Debts come in a number of different forms, but one kind to look out for is high-interest debt especially on credit cards. Paying a high-interest rate is essentially wasted money. If you do have credit card debt and are paying a high amount of interest try to move your debt to a lower interest card. If you have many different credit cards, try to eliminate the one with the smallest balance first. Tackling one card at a time may give you more gratification. Focusing on paying off the smaller balances first and then using the money to repay larger balances once these smaller balances are paid off can help to keep you financially motivated in the short term.
3. Plan for Your Future
Another very important rule to follow when it comes to your finances is to plan for the future. Regardless of your age, your profession, and income, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be planning for the future and setting money goals. Think about what you would like to achieve financially, such as car ownership, home ownership or starting a business. Assess your retirement savings plan to make sure that you’re saving enough for the financial future you imagine. Look into long-term investments such as stocks and shares. Financially independent people focus beyond today. They have a plan for how they will eventually achieve financial independence. And, if you didn’t learn how to plan for the future, a Behavioural Cash Flow Plan could help you get started.
Healthier habits today is likely to mean a happier financial future. Starting with these three rules – spend less than you earn, eliminate high-interest debt and plan for your future – will help you to protect your lifestyle for the rest of your life.