If you are reading this you then you were blessed to see a new year, so let’s take a minute to do a happy dance [insert dancing here]. Ok now we can get back back on topic, which is how to get fiscal.
Now I know this is not an new topic for anyone, but surprisingly there are still folks who have not made steps to become more fiscally fit. I was at work yesterday and a co-worker of mine was talking about moving to save money, but she had not set up a budget on how to efficiently utilize the surplus of funds. So I mentioned a few ideas for her to consider to help her make this budgetary decision more fruitful long term.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO BE FISCALLY FIT
Now let’s set up a hypothetical scenario. You were living in a 2 bedroom apartment paying $1,500 for rent and roughly $500 for utilities (i.e. cable, internet, gas, electric, renter’s insurance, etc…). That’s $2,000 to start off with. Now your parents will charge you $800 for rent, which leaves you a surplus of $1,200 right? WRONG! You have to start thinking like a fiscally fit budgeter. And here’s how:
- Pretend like the you are still paying $2,000 in rent and utilities. The surplus is being paid back to you and reallocated. That $1,200 should be prioritized by the needs
- Need #1 – Pay your future self. If you haven’t already done so, open a 401K or IRA to set a set amount aside for your future. If you won’t make yourself a priority now then you never will.
- Need #2 – Do you have debt? If, so pay it down. Budget a portion of the surplus to pay down your debt. Don’t reward yourself with treats until you have paid some of the surplus towards the debt you already created or loans first.
- Need #3 – Save for an apartment or home. So obviously if my friend was moving home then she had not saved at least 3-6 months worth of rent or mortgage up. Take the opportunity when you have flexible funds to have a savings account or money market account to save up for a down payment on a house or enough rent to cover 3-6 months worth (in case your income stops unexpectedly).
- Need/Want #4 – Do you have a hobby or goal you want to accomplish? For me its traveling, so I had to set up a separate account that I put aside $50-$200 a month for travel cost. If you have a hobby or goal that you don’t want to give up, then you must plan ahead and make that reward a part of your budget.
Now this is the order of importance for long-term success. It may seem like a lot, but your future self will thank your past self greatly for taking the first steps to a better financial state. Now two sites I highly recommend to help on this financial journey are Mint and Learn Vest.
- Mint.com helps to manage your money, pay your bills and track your credit score all in one place. Mint manages all your balances and transactions together by automatically pulling all your financial information into one place, so you can get the full financial picture.
- Learn Vest empowers everyone to take control of their personal finances by providing expert advice and resources, and financial plans that fit your budget regardless your financial competency.
Check out these sites and do your own research as well, and let’s get fiscal.