5 Habits to Improve Your Financial Future
January 3, 2018 | By Mason Roberts
It’s that time of year again, and since it’s still early January, chances are you’re still excited about all your resolutions.
If you’re in the New-Year-new-me club and want to make sure you stick to your resolutions, you should focus on resolutions you can stick to.
That means taking baby steps to improve over time with attainable long-term goals backed by the strategies to reach them.
Maybe you don’t yet know what needs to change but you know that you’re not happy where you are in life. That may actually be a good place to start if you’re willing to do something about it!
Just don’t be too hard on yourself if you aren’t where you want to be yet. No one’s perfect!
Your Financial Future Starts Today!
While there are several great categories to make changes in, few affect your life quite as much as finances do. You’ve read about the 10 habits all financially independent people have in common; now, here are 5 great habits you can create to have a better financial future.
Living Within Your Means
Not to pass the blame, but most people would agree that credit cards make it very difficult to live within your means.
It’s just so tempting to use credit to pay for your vacation or to pay for everyday essentials like food.
But if you want to develop the good habit of living within your means, here’s what you need to do: figure out what your take home pay is, what your regular expenses are, and then you’ll figure out what you have left over.
In other words, create a budget and stick to it.
Holly Michaels, who lives in Chicago, says she sits down at least once a week to go over her purchases, similar to how people used to “balance the checkbook.”
“Now that we don’t do that anymore, I think it’s easier to lose track of money spent and it can be sobering to sit down every week and see where your money is going,” she says.
She also calls it empowering when you see your money go the right places. “Apps like Mint and You Need A Budget are great, but I also find it powerful to look it over myself too.”
For various reasons, far too few people follow a budget once they take the time to put one together. This discipline takes practice and intentionality, and even if it feels like a hassle at times, it’s a really important financial habit to form and stick to.
Now, don’t feel bad if you don’t currently live within your means; you’re not alone when it comes to your spending habits.
According to the MarketWatch, America is close to $21 trillion in national debt. The government may seem to have gotten away with this bad practice, but chances are, you won’t get a pass on paying off your debts.
That’s why this financial habit is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Educating Yourself on Financial Matters
This could also be called “investing in yourself” and there are numerous areas you could probably learn more about, like:
- How to create and follow a budget
- Planning for a secure retirement
- Investment and portfolio management
- Trading strategies in emerging markets
- Personal finance basics
- Introduction to simple and compound interest
- How to run a small business
Though it might sound cheesy, the popular saying, “Knowledge is power” is completely true, especially if you’re already motivated to better yourself in any area of your life.
Having a Well-Stocked Emergency Fund
If you’re a fan of personal finance expert Dave Ramsey, you’re probably quite familiar with his first baby step, which is to have $1,000 put aside in an emergency fund.
In his third (of seven baby steps), he says to have three to six months of expenses in savings.
The point is to be prepared. Not only will this do the obvious – help you in a time of need – but it will also provide peace of mind and keep your stress level low, both before and after an emergency hits.
Being Happy with What You Have, No Matter Your Financial Goals
“Remind yourself of what you do have, not of what you don’t,” says Gina Gomez, a filmmaker in Los Angeles, who says you should be grateful for what you already have.
Being content doesn’t mean being complacent.
It means learning to be happy with what you have. This is an important habit to apply in every area of your life, because the reality is, someone else will always be better than you at something.
If you let that get you down, you’re missing the point of self-improvement!
For example, instead of complaining about the size of your paycheck, use that negative energy to budget what you earn so you get the most out of it that you can.
Then you can really consider talking to your boss about a raise or getting a part-time job to make ends meet.
Using Windfalls to Pay Off Debt
Besides recommending sitting down to do a budget, Michaels also advises being careful of “lifestyle creep”.
This happens when you get a bit of a raise; you “can technically afford to get bi-weekly pedicures or facials, but then you’re spending more and negating your raise.”
Getting a raise is something to be celebrated, but don’t undo all your hard work with bad spending habits!
Consider using that income increase to pay off debts. The reward is two-fold: you’re closer to having no debt, and you minimize – if not completely eliminate – interest fees. It’s a good habit that pays off fast.
Using a Title Loan to Get Back on Track
Those are just a few good habits to use to better yourself, and you can definitely start forming at least one good habit today.
But as a bonus, here’s another major way to get on top of your financial goals, or to get out of a major financial burden: getting a car title loan has several upsides.
- When you use your car title as collateral, you could get up to a $15,000 loan, depending on the value of your vehicle
- If you are drowning in bills and debts, a car title loan could give you the breathing room you need
- The process takes as little as 30 minutes to complete, and you could take home a cash loan on the same day.
- All credit histories are welcome
A car title loan provides a short-term way to help when an unexpected situation arises by giving you access to the value of your vehicle. It just has to be fully paid off and in your name to qualify.
How Do I Find a Title Loan Near Me?
If this sounds like something that you’re interested in, here’s what you need to do to get approved for a title loan:
- Do an Internet search by typing in "title loan near me" and filling out the online form with basic personal info.
- A store representative will soon contact you to answer any questions
- Take the following items with you to get approved: your vehicle for inspection, the lien-free title, driver's license or state-issued identification, and proof of income
- Drive to the physical location with these required items
- Fill out paperwork while someone from the company inspects your car
- Keep driving your car while you pay off your loan
Be sure never to rely on a loan of this kind on a regular basis or even over a long period of time.
It’s a serious decision and should only be used in a time of emergency. Before you proceed with getting one, examine your personal finances to figure out what size loan you can and should realistically take out to make sure you can pay it back on time.
Now that you’re ready to make steps to improve your financial life, it’s time to do something about it.
Action cures fear, and you have lots of ways to take action. Get started by filling in our simple online form now, and get your financial future back on track today!