Going through one of the most challenging financial times in our history has caused many people to take drastic measures in managing their money. That has been a good thing because hopefully they have learned some valuable lessons along the way that they can retain to make them even better than they were before. Given that as a background, there are some things you can do to keep going even as the economy begins to improve.
Save More – Invest More
Refuse to take any pay increase that you get and deposit it into your checking account where it will be gone before you know it. Make an automatic deposit into an account that will allow you to watch it grow. Live with the same income that you had when you were really struggling so that you can pay yourself first and place that money into the highest yielding savings or investment accounts that you can find. Add to your 401k before the money hits your check. Many companies now offer an automatic increase in your 401k contributions at the beginning of each calendar year. Use that as a method to build a higher balance for retirement.
Keep Expenses Low
One of the problems with getting a raise or increase in pay is that many times the expenses go up, too. Part of budgeting smartly is in keeping control on your expenses so that they do not erode your income and/or savings. Actively monitor your monthly expenses so that you do not fall into this trap.
Pay with Cash More Often
Use cash to buy things that you would not have before. In some cases, you might get a better price if you do. It is at least worth checking into. Paying with cash means you never have to look at the item you just obtained and think about the payments that you are making on it. You own it, it does not own you.
Stay Away From Credit Cards
Most people are trying to get rid of credit cards and their tangled web of charges and fees. That is a good thing, but if there is no resolve to keep from obtaining them again, you will find yourself back in the same position. The thing to remember that will help you avoid this is the massive debt and resulting mental anguish that managing it caused you. Refuse to go back there again.
Improve Your Credit Score
Work on paying your debts on time every month so that your credit score can begin a trek to the top echelons of the spectrum. Getting your score up will help immensely when you to go to purchase a house or a vehicle. Saving money by having lower interest rates is the best motivation for doing this.
Make the Mindset Stick
Let’s face it, most financial management battles are won or lost between our ears. If you begin to think like a good financial manager, you will become one. You should become an avid reader about financial issues by visiting one of many websites that feature good, solid advice. Put into practice what you read. Spend time with others who have like goals. Friends who encourage each other are more likely to stay with a plan. The common bond that those people share is more likely to grow, not diminish over time.
Now that you have become wiser and put into place the goals and rules of solid financial management, never abandon them. Learn to appreciate them and pass them on to your children, too. They will appreciate your efforts when the time comes for them to weather a financial storm. No matter how small or large.