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Monday, May 27, 2024

How to Get Your Finances Back on Track Starting Today


We all face it. Life gets the best of us, and our budget is blown. You want to get back on track, but achieving your financial goals seems impossible. You’re not sure if you can even manage your debt repayment.

Fortunately, you turn things around. Here’s how to improve your current financial situation and pursue financial freedom.

How to Get Your Financial Life Back on Track

It can be overwhelming when you want to take charge of your finances, especially if you’re new to managing your money. Don’t believe the myth that you must have lots of cash to become financially stable.

You just need to get started. Here are six steps to get your finances back on track. Just remember, personal finance is personal for a reason. Adjust these suggestions to your situation to ensure success.

1. Get Organized

The first step forward when learning to manage your money is to figure out what is going on with your finances. Life gets busy, and it’s easy to get behind or ignore your finances.

If that’s you, now is the time to assess your situation. You want to collect a few pieces of information.

First, collect your paychecks. If you have side hustles, include what you earn with them. You want to count all sources of income.

Next, log into your bank account to see what you have in your checking account and savings account. You may even want to print off your last bank statement since that will help with the next steps.

If you have any savings goals, determine if you will reach them or not. This will help you decide if you need to look for ways to save money.

Finally, review your outstanding debts. If you have student loans or credit card debt, you want to eventually begin a repayment plan.

2. Start a Simple Budget

Budgeting gets a bad rap, but it’s necessary to help you get back on track. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to create a budget.

In fact, it’s quite simple to create a budget. Start by taking the information from the first step to start. You want to have what you earn and all your monthly expenses, no matter how minimal they seem.

The goal is to have money left over at the end of each month. You can use those remaining funds to work toward your goals.

If this all seems overwhelming, there are numerous budgeting apps that can help you. They can track your spending so you can identify expenses to cut.

At a minimum, the goal is to balance your budget so you’re not adding debt to your life. When you combine that with reduced spending, you will slowly begin to make progress. This gives birth to momentum.

3. Restart Debt Repayment

Debt, especially credit card debt, can make it challenging to reach financial goals. Attacking that debt is essential to getting on the right track.

As you begin to manage your budget, you want to write down all of your debt. List out the interest rate as well since that is helpful to know.

You want to pay off the smallest debt first and make at least the minimum monthly payments on the remaining balances.

Don’t overlook contacting the issuers of all of your credit cards to see if they can reduce the interest rates on your account. Any reduction will make it easier to pay them off in full.

All of this will also help improve your credit score, which will benefit you in the future.

If you don’t have debt, you can skip this step and move on to identifying ways to live within your means.

4. Create Savings Goals and Stick to Them

One of the top reasons many people get off track is they don’t have savings to help them deal with emergencies. As you begin budgeting, it’s essential to find ways to start saving money.

This will help you stop living paycheck-to-paycheck and begin to increase your net worth. At least 65 percent of Americans can barely make ends meet, according to CNBC, so trying to save something is vital.

The first step is to create an emergency fund.

It’s best to save $500, then $1,000, then work towards saving one month’s worth of living expenses. Use that as a building block to reach three months.

Instead of opting for your local bank, use an online option like CIT Bank. They have competitive rates and the same FDIC protections you find at your local institution.

After you start on your emergency fund, identify other savings goals you want to pursue. These can include saving for a house, a nice vacation, your child’s education, and more.

As you free up resources in your budget, apply the savings towards those goals. Don’t overlook retirement planning either, as that’s equally as important.

5. Reassess Monthly, Then Quarterly

A financial plan is not a set-it-and-forget-it situation, especially in the beginning. You want to revisit your budget monthly to ensure you’re not missing anything significant.

This helps you optimize your finances to verify that your money is working as hard as possible. Once you feel you don’t need to look at your finances monthly, it’s fine to move to quarterly.

This may seem difficult, but most budgeting apps do much of the work for you. Take advantage of this to reduce the time you spend on the activity without negatively impacting your finances.

6. Give Yourself Grace

The most important thing when trying to get back on track financially is to extend yourself grace. Improving your finances takes time, and that’s fine.

You will make mistakes. We all do. Take that into account when you work to become financially stable. Learn from those mistakes, and apply those lessons to your budget.

Furthermore, don’t overlook treating yourself occasionally. Set a simple number and enjoy it.

You may not realize it, but a simple act like that can encourage you to push forward. Not only that, but it will give you a taste of what financial freedom is like.

We’re our own worst critics, so take it easy on yourself when you make a mistake.

Bottom Line

It’s easy to look at your financial picture and believe that becoming financially stable isn’t a possibility. That’s a myth.

You can make ends meet and achieve freedom, but it does take effort. Combine that with a willingness to do what it takes, and you’ll get back on track and start reaching your goals.

What’s one challenge you’re facing while trying to improve your finances?


I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.

As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.

My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.




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