It's finally happened - the scales have tipped and you've noticed that you are suddenly spending more than you are making. Month after month, your debt accrues. Finally you say, "I've had enough," and commit to a personal financial plan. But getting back on track is easier said than done. In order to meet your monthly budget, you have to make lifestyle changes that discourage spending and promote saving.
Have no fear. We've prepared a selection of tips that will put you on the path to a successful personal financial plan.
Ditch the Daily Delicacy
You probably don't notice, but that half-caf mocha latte you scoop up at Starbucks every morning is costing you almost $2,000 a year. Same with that pack of smokes you puff through every couple days. Enjoying a regular drink after work at the trendy new wine bar by your office? Add another $2,000.
Seemingly minor daily expenses that are the result of habit sneak up on you and can leave a significant dent in your savings. Cut down or eliminate these costs by finding less expensive alternatives - concocting your coffee and cocktails at home is a good start.
Dare to Compare
That flatscreen you got at Best Buy for $2,500 was available online for $1,999. XYZ Insurance would have given you a better rate if you had shown them the quote you got from ABC. Taking the time to compare costs, on everything from electronics to insurance, can save you a ton of money. It's worth the extra two minutes to research what's out there, especially if it saves you from blowing your budget.
Plan to Eliminate Impulse
Meandering through the aisles at the grocery store while whimsically tipping items into your cart is a great way to overspend. Before you even step foot in the grocery store, scan the weekly sales circulars to see what's available and, most importantly, what's on sale. Plan your purchasing accordingly by making a list of high-value grocery items. Based on your list, pull out enough cash to cover everything, then head to the grocery store, leaving your credit card at home. Moving through the aisles with your list and without your credit card, you can now make a disciplined, well-planned grocery trip.
Most of us have a complex web of bills, expenses, income sources, and overhead. Keeping track of all these ins and outs can be tough, and miscalculations can be costly. Apps and online software will help you keep records, build budgets, save time, and eliminate a lot of the guesswork that goes into executing a personal financial plan. While smartphones have become ubiquitous, nearly 75% of Americans still aren't using beneficial mobile apps to help them manage their money. Get ahead of the game and download an app that can help you support your financial commitment.
The success of your personal financial plan relies on one person - you. Overcoming debt and committing to saving regularly takes discipline. By making small, impactful changes to your lifestyle, you will find that you can tip the financial scales in your favor.
Lucas Sellyn is a Web Producer with High-Touch Communications (HTC), a branding and web firm based in Montreal, Quebec. As HTC's web and multimedia producer, Lucas oversees all of the company's social media and supports the success of their websites through proactive management and the implementation of multimedia projects.