Learn how to make money do what you want it to. Instead of guessing or making spending decisions based on your mood, have a solid plan, allowing you to enjoy the lifestyle you deserve, pay down your debt and save for the future financial goals.
As many of us work toward our financial goals and the ultimate financial freedom and independence, we often feel like we are taking one step forward and immediately two steps back. Why is that? Budgeting and knowing where every dollar goes has a lot to do with that. If we can’t visualize our wallet, we can’t decide where to allocate funds and often make decisions based on our current mood or sense of urgency.
To get control over your finances, break the paycheque to paycheque cycle and get a solid head start on your way to financial independence, check out the tools and techniques we’ve listed below:
Mint.com is a wonderful tool that we recommend if you want to understand where your money goes every month. We love the simplicity of this tool. Regardless of the kind of spender you are, the first step to any change will be awareness. Instead of toiling over a complex budget worksheet, going online makes the process painless and immediately rewarding.
YouNeedABudget.com (YNAB) is another excellent online spending and debt management tool. YNAB is a bit more complex, and it covers more ground than Mint.com. It has a special focus on debt payment. We love how it is based on four key principles. They are:
Give every dollar a job
Embrace your true expenses
Roll with the punches
Age your Money
Click here to read about how one young couple used YNAB to get on the same financial page in time for their wedding.
Sometimes, it’s easiest to remove the temptation to spend right from the beginning. This is especially helpful if you are having trouble committing funds on a regular basis to a larger, long-term financial goal. Nowadays, most banks offer a transfer service that will automatically move a pre-approved amount into a savings account as soon as your paycheque comes in. If you don’t see it in the first place, chances are you won’t miss it! Ask your bank about this service, there are usually no fees for set-up.
If you stick to your monthly budget, using one of the tools above, you should have no problem putting aside money every month. We recommend setting up a Savings Account with your bank, or a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), so you can start earning interest on the money you put aside for your financial goals, be it a vacation, your education or purchase of a house.