Between the staggering statistics on average household debt and the difficult economic climate, there is a lot of discussion about family finances. If you struggle with budgeting, thinking about managing your money better can seem overwhelming. However, even small steps can make a big difference, especially in the long term.
Here some simple ways to start taking control of your financial independence.
1. Analyze Your Debt
If you are spending money every month paying off debt, you know how big of an impact it can have on your overall finances. You may have a goal of paying off all your loans, but that process can take several years. Before you start making bigger payments toward your debt, you may want to figure out the most efficient way to pay it off. You could start with the credit card with the highest interest. Maybe you want to refinance to consolidate your debt. Try to find the plan that works best with your income and goals.
2. Make Savings Automatic
You may find it much easier to allocate money to your savings account if you don’t have to think about it. There are several ways to make saving automatic. You can request to have part of your paycheck deposited in a savings account or set up an automatic transfer at your bank. You can also use a savings app to move money into savings automatically.
3. Recycle and Reuse
If a lot of your budget goes toward disposable items, you may want to think about changing to reusable alternatives. Switching to cloth napkins and ditching the paper plates can save you money and reduce your environmental impact as well.
4. Lower Energy Consumption
Utility bills can be expensive, but you can make a few simple changes to lower your usage and your monthly costs. Consider switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and low-flow showerheads. You can also use a programmable thermostat to reduce the load on your home’s HVAC system when you are out of the house.
5. Use the Library
For most families, entertainment takes a large percentage of the discretionary spending. Whether your family loves books, movies, or music, you can drastically reduce your spending by taking advantage of your local library. Most libraries have large selections of CDs and DVDs along with magazines and books. You can also check to see if your library offers eBooks through an online service.
6. Take It Slow
When you decide to take control of your family finances, it can be discouraging if you don’t see big changes in your bank account right away. However, changing your financial habits can take time. Be patient with yourself and your family, and find encouragement in small changes.