Not all of us are absolute masters when it comes to managing our finances. It is in fact normal for one to feel overwhelmed about one’s financial situation from time to time. Let’s face it – very few of us were taught about money matters while growing up. But that should be no reason why we don’t make an attempt to become more financially aware and sound, now.
It is never too late for one to pick up a few tricks about money management and get better with time. Money management is a skill that will guide your finances lifelong and if you feel you don’t know enough about the topic, the right time to begin is now. So, whether you are a fresher starting your career or a 40-year-old salaried employee or someone in between jobs, this skill is applicable to and helpful for all. This understanding will help you save, invest and spend your hard-earned money more efficiently.
Here’s how you can go about money management
Make a budget
Always begin with a budget. A budget is nothing but taking note of your income, expenses – both variable and fixed, assets and liabilities, etc. In the absence of a budget, you’d have no track of where you are spending your money or how much of it you’re spending. On the other hand, with a budget, you know exactly how much you earn and how much you can afford to spend based on the priority of your expenses. This will help you to streamline your money in a better fashion.
Take account of your debt
A lot of people these days have debts, and it’s not a bad thing. You may be repaying a student loan, a home loan, credit card bills or have a mortgage to clear off. While debt is not bad, not being mindful of its impact on your balance sheet is. You must have a firm grip over your debt management skills. Be cognizant of the interests and late fees, and have a plan to combat it. Never miss a payment. If your EMIs are unmanageable, speak to your lender and work out a simpler repayment clause. Don’t avoid the tough talk; face your fears and work towards clearing your dues on time.
You must invest. Period. Your income supplements your present, but investing ensures your future is secured. However, investing should be done taking into account the risks that accompany it. Take time to understand your financial situation, your risk profile; speak to experts or financial professionals. And choose an investment option that matches your risk appetite. This will help your wealth to grow over time, securing your future.
Have an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is the safety net that will keep you afloat in the event of unexpected expenses. While we may think we don’t require a contingency plan, having one keeps us from digging into our savings or liquidating our investments; but most importantly it prepares us for the worst. It is simply an essential corpus that you build by keeping aside a certain portion from your monthly income. No matter what age you are at, having an emergency fund in place is not just good, but essential.
Adopt efficient payment techniques
Expenditures are a part of our life. Whether it is paying for our monthly groceries or undergoing a big expense, we can’t avoid it. Hence, key money management skill is in knowing how to spend your money. From the many options of payment available, pick what best suits your profile. You can choose from cash to EMIs to credit cards and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL).
Understand which payment mode is of the greatest value to you in ensuring you stay on the right financial path. For instance, if you struggle with keeping track of your expenses, BNPL could be a good option for you. If you are to incur a major expense, going the EMI route would be a better idea.
These are some simple ways in which you can manage your money more efficiently and smoothly. While these steps may seem elementary, it is the absence of the same that leads to financial crisis and even disasters. So, regardless of your age, start with these small steps and see the benefits compound over time.