If you’re looking to make improvements to your financial health, it can sometimes be hard to know where to begin or even identify what will actually make a positive impact. Here are 7 small steps that you can do right now to keep you motivated and boost your finances …
Adopting healthy habits in life should include making sure you take care of your financial longevity. Getting organized and being aware of what resources you have can definitely help make your money work better for you. I personally needed to get into a more effective money-related routine, and while I’m definitely not a financial advisor or expert, these small changes have really helped set me on a path towards better financial health.
Step One | Get Online Banking
If you don’t already have this set up, do it. Not only does it mean you can track your spending easily (hello, step two below), but it means you can deal quickly with any issues that occur. You can also transfer money to other accounts with no hassle.
Healthy Habit: Every time you log on, transfer your ‘loose change’ to a savings account that you’re not going to touch for a year. For example, if you have $189.26, transfer the $0.26 to the savings account. It’s not much but at the end of twelve months, you’ll have some extra cash to pay a bill or put towards something.
Step Two | Track Your Spending
Carefully look through what you spend your money on, especially subscriptions you pay into. Calculate the usage of these subscriptions and cancel anything you don’t use or can easily do without.
Healthy Habit: Cancel one subscription. It won’t cause any major suffering and the money you would use to pay the fee each month could go into your savings account or increase a credit card bill payment (see step three).
Step Three | Increase Minimum Credit Card Payments
Good credit card health should involve paying off the full bill amount each month, however, the reality for many of us is that we’re maxed out or unable to afford anything more than minimum repayments – interest rates ensure that this is not a good use of your money. Increasing your minimum repayment by $5-$10 (this could be from the subscription you cancelled) will help you pay things off a bit quicker. It isn’t much, and paying the full bill off each month is still the gold standard, but this is at least a small step to get you on the right path.
Healthy Habit: Aim to pay off your highest interest rate credit card first by making more than minimum payments each month. Once it’s paid off, you’ll have more money to apply to the next card you’re paying off.
Step Four | Downsize Your Purchases
Making small changes to your everyday spending is a great way to get into a better financial mindset, so instead of buying the large coffee, get the medium. Instead of buying the book, use the library … you get the idea. This means you still get the things you enjoy but at a small saving.
Healthy Habit: Sign up for a grocery store rewards card – not a credit card or anything you have to make payments on – that offers cheaper prices to card members on items throughout the store. I use mine for my weekly grocery trips, and this week my items came to a total of $162.69 but because I was a rewards card member my total went down to $130.28 – a saving of $32.41.
Step Five | Rethink Small Spending
This is similar to downsizing your purchases (above) but involves a bit of self-control. If, like me, you’re guilty of adding something to your basket just because it’s only a small amount – and you also don’t actually need it – then rethink your purchase. If you’re getting it because it’s on your shopping list and is required buying then go right ahead, but if it’s an impulse buy because it’s only $3 then put it back. Put. It. Back.
Healthy Habit: Write a list of what you need to buy and stick to it – also – never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, you could end up buying more food than you really need.
Step Six | Sell Unused Items
We all have kitchen gadgets, bakeware, clothes, electronics, toys, etc we’ve never unboxed or used. Selling them is a good way to spring clean and make some money to put in your savings or towards a credit card. There are many sites and apps you can use to sell your gently used and unwanted items (click here for some ideas) so why not make a bit of money while cleaning out your clutter. Win, win!
Healthy Habit: Find local secondhand stores that will buy your tech off you (movies, music and other items). You won’t get the price you paid for them or what they’re worth but it’s money that can be put to better use than just having something unused and laying around.
Step Seven | Outgoing Bills Calendar
Use a wall calendar (electronic ones are too easy to ignore or forget to look at) and write out when your bills are due for each month. This will remind you when things need to be paid and allows you to plan ahead for upcoming financial commitments or identify, in good time, if there may be any potential issues.
Healthy Habit: Colour code your calendar so you can easily see what’s happening. For example, I use blue for anything related to my household (bills, etc – I also circle paydays), pink for personal dates (birthdays, etc), orange for social engagements (going out, etc) and green for appointments.
All of these small adjustments have helped me get more organized and stay motivated to make the best use of my money – and while these were workable for me, I’d always recommend going to a financial professional/expert before you implement any changes of your own.
Do you have any financial health tips? Share them in a comment. Thanks for reading!