If you’re unhappy with the current state of your personal finances, you’re far from being alone. According to the National Financial Survey, 39% of Americans carry credit card debt, 56% don’t have a budget and 40% are saving less than they did last year. As a result, 42% grade their personal finances as a C, D or F.
Why exactly is personal finance a topic that’s so challenging? In addition to the less than ideal economic conditions of the last five years, another issue is the lack of education about this topic. The same survey found that an astonishing 80% of US adults admit they could benefit from additional advice and answers to everyday financial questions from a professional.
While personal finance can be a very complicated topic, it can actually be boiled down to a single rule. That rule is you need to spend less than you earn. If you do that consistently, you will be able to get your finances to the point you want. So if you’re ready to start taking action to improve your finances, you can do so by earning more, spending less or doing both concurrently. Let’s cover some of the best strategies within both categories:
3 Ways to Earn More Money
The simplest but most effective way to earn more money is to ask for a promotion. Although that strategy may sound too obvious to work, countless people in just about every field fail to move forward simply because they never speak up and ask for it. While it’s definitely worth asking for a promotion, that doesn’t mean you’re instantly going to get it. That reality is why the next way to earn money is by improving your skills.
A common misconception about improving your skills is it requires paying for an expensive degree. However, thanks to the wide range of high quality free online education options that are available, all that improvement takes is self-motivation. Speaking of self-motivation, the other path worth considering is launching a small business on the side. Since there’s a 99.9% chance that you have at least one skill other people would pay you for, launching a little business that allows you to charge for that skill can be an excellent way to earn more.
4 Tips for Spending Less
The best habit you can develop is always asking yourself if you really need to buy something. And on the subject of habits, another tip is to identify purchases you make simply out of routine and evaluate if you actually need to continue making that purchase.
The next thing you can do to help cut down spending is think about less expensive alternatives. For example, while buying a sandwich from a chain restaurant may cost $5, with just a tiny bit of work, you’ll be able to make the same sandwich for just a buck or two. Finally, don’t be afraid to look for and take advantage of deals. While saving $1 here and $5 there may not seem like much, those savings can really add up over the course of three months. Being able to find those deals online also means that this strategy is quite easy to utilize.
Know What to Do If an Emergency Strikes
Getting your finances to the point you want isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight. Instead, it’s a process that occurs over time. Because there will be ups and downs as you progress, there’s a chance that something drastic and unexpected will occur. In the event that happens, you need to know how to handle it without erasing all the forward momentum you’ve created for yourself.
In most cases, an option that allows you to quickly get cash is going to be the best solution. If the situation that arises requires a small to moderate amount of money, selling one or more pieces of gold jewelry is a good option. If you need a larger amount of cash, getting a car title loan from a reputable company like TitleMax.biz should provide what you need to get through your emergency. With that option, you can quickly obtain up to $10,000 and still keep physical possession of your vehicle.
If it feels like debt is in control of your life, it may seem like you’re stuck in a hole that you’re never going to get out of. Fortunately, things don’t have to stay that way. Even though it will take time, as long as you start taking small but consistent action, your financial situation will get better!
Greg Binkley has been a professional writer for over fifteen years. Because he majored in economics in college, personal finance has always been one of his favorite subjects to write about. He’s also quite passionate his 130 square foot organic vegetable garden.