A survey conducted by Highland Solutions in October 2020 revealed that nearly two-thirds of respondents said that they had been living paycheck to paycheck since the pandemic. Of course, even before COVID-19 hit, many people were struggling to get by. Without any savings to turn to when an emergency arises, some turn to payday loans online, but those incur high interest rates and fees which can turn a difficult financial situation into one that’s even worse.
It can be hard to dig out of that hole, but ignoring it won’t help – instead, consider these options for handling your money better to see the light at the end of the tunnel and a better financial future.
Track All Of Your Spending
Challenge yourself to track all of your spending, including those trips to Starbucks and online subscriptions you might have forgotten about. While you’re out, carry around a notebook and as soon as you spend, write it down. By tracking things by hand, spending won’t be a mindless act, it will force you to take a serious look at whether it’s a necessity or an indulgence. After a week or two, you’ll have a good idea as to which spending behaviors need to be changed and plenty of information to help you create a budget.
Create a Budget
That takes us to our next tip – many people fail to budget for various reasons, but it’s really a necessity if you want to be better with money, leading to less stress and, ultimately, financial freedom. Calculate your monthly income and determine all of your expenses – if you track your spending habits, that information will be a big help. Be sure that your budget covers all your needs as well as some wants, savings for emergencies and the future. Automate as much as possible so that money allocated for a particular purpose will get there with minimal effort.
Always Pay the Lowest Prices Possible
Make the most of your money by ensuring that you pay the lowest price possible for services and products. Comparison shop, look for coupons, discounts, and less expensive alternatives. While it may take some effort, over time, the savings will add up, making it well worth it.
Save For Large Purchases Instead of Using Credit
Instead of pulling out your credit card, learn to delay gratification by saving up for big purchases. It will not only give you more time to think about whether the purchase is necessary, but you’ll avoid paying interest that makes the price tag much higher than it actually is. Resist the urge to use those cards for things you can’t immediately afford, especially if they’re items you don’t really need.
Take the Time to Learn More About Money
Few people learn all that is important to know about money in school, but with plenty of resources out there, it’s never too late. Pick up some books, read articles, or listen to podcasts that teach you basic personal finance or even investing to help build your knowledge.