6 First Steps to Take to Turn Around Your Financial Situation
When money worries are on your mind 24/7, it’s better to take action than tread water.
And the good news is that even the direst circumstances can be fixed, so long as you are willing to get started on the road to financial stability.
With that in mind, here is an overview of the steps you must take in order to stop the downward spiral and begin making your money work for you.
If you’re lacking motivation, it’s helpful to imagine a goal that you’re working towards so that you can start to see the bright side of whatever circumstances you’re facing.
Sensible financial goals include paying off a credit card, saving for a down payment on your first home, or just getting to the point where you can put aside enough money each month to build a rainy day fund for any future emergencies.
Get into budgeting
Having a budget is the next move you must make if you are feeling overwhelmed by money matters. In its most basic form, a budget is a list of your monthly income and expenses, and if you’re spending more than you make, you will need to tip the balance in the opposite direction to restore order to your finances.
You can use a budget template to make it much easier to calculate everything, and while it might feel bad to see all of those scary figures in one place, as you make progress there’s great satisfaction to be had as you see any changes you make to your habits having an impact.
Take out a loan to pay off high-interest debts
While there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with being in debt, what does make a difference is the type of debt you’re responsible for paying down.
For example, if you’ve got a lot of high-interest debt, such as might be accrued by using a credit card that you cannot afford to pay off in one go, then this is not something you can change overnight.
There is one excellent option for people in this scenario, and that’s taking out a loan to consolidate several high-interest debts into a more manageable, affordable package.
Even consumers with bad credit still have a chance of being approved, since bad credit loans are designed specifically with this type of individual in mind.
A loan with lower interest will be less of a burden on your budget, and will also have an endpoint, whereas a maxed-out credit card will keep accruing interest if you’re only making the minimum repayment each month.
Automate your savings
If you’re a bit impulsive with your spending habits, then it’s better to tame temptation out of the equation altogether.
The best way to do this is to ensure that you set up a separate savings account, and that money is transferred into it as soon as payday arrives so that it’s not just sitting there in your main account and begging you to use it.
Most modern banking providers make it a breeze to automate savings in this way using their mobile apps or websites, and this is one of the best ways to increase your yearly savings without needing to lift a finger.
Stop paying for things you don’t use or need
One of the additional advantages of having laid out your budget is that you can see where you’re wasting money.
We’re not talking about buying those little treats that you actually enjoy and make your life materially better; what you need to look out for are expenses that are completely wasteful, and so very easy to cut out altogether.
In an age where it feels like everyone is subscribed to several different streaming services all at once, this is the first thing to look into. Have you got Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video and HBO Max all on your expense list? If so, do you actually watch content across all of them in sufficient volumes to justify the cost?
The same goes for things like gym memberships, subscription boxes for tangible goods, and all sorts of recurring expenses that you find yourself paying for without ever exploiting.
Check your credit score religiously
Last but not least, you need to get accustomed to keeping an eye on your credit score and being aware of what factors impact it.
Paying debts promptly is the number one way to improve your score, and even if you’ve got a bad history behind you, you can make up for this with improved behavior in the future.
Being aware of your credit score is also a good way to look out for any anomalies, and rectify them. You could find that your score is being held back because of an error made by the agency, or by a business you use. Even little things like this will help you turn your financial situation around over time.