Get A Handle On Your Budget
If you haven’t already worked out a household budget for yourself, you may not know how you’re tracking regarding spending and saving. Take some time to work out your necessary expenses, making sure you include your rent, travel costs, food, insurance, and utilities. Get very clear on how much you have for non-essentials because when you look to make savings, this is the part of your cashflow with the most flexibility.
Develop Your Financial Intelligence
Now that you’ve got a decent amount of money coming in the door, you might want to make sure you know a little about good money management. You don’t have to be a spreadsheet genius, or understand all the fine print in a credit card contract, but developing your financial intelligence will serve you well throughout your working life. Start by watching the finance report online or on TV once a week; perhaps look up any terms or information you don’t understand, or ask your financial advisor if you’d like some to be explained.
Set Some Financial Goals
It’s important to have an idea of where you’re at financially; it’s even more important to be very clear on where you want to be.
Try setting some savings and/or debt reduction goals for yourself. Starting with short, medium and long-term milestones can help get you started. The more benchmarks you set yourself, the more momentum you will build on your own personal journey towards financial health.
Automate Your Life & Save
Not only do you earn more in your 30s than in your 20s, but you’re also busier. This may be as a direct result of having that little bit more disposable income to take out on the town, or it may just be that you’re just more confident about embracing your interests. Whatever the cause, make sure you automate as many of your billings as you can, so you don’t get hit with unnecessary late fees. Remember how hard you work for your money – you don’t want to give it away for nothing.
Save – Before Anything Else
Finally, look at paying yourself first. You may have heard this before but not really understood its meaning. Paying yourself first means putting aside a certain portion of your incoming money for savings and/or investment (which can include debt reduction – sometimes reducing monies owed is the best savings option on the table). You should set these monies aside before you pay for anything else including bills. Most people who do this aim to corral at least 10% of incoming money but if you’re working your way out of debt, you may need to start smaller and build up to that.
Even spending 20 minutes on your finances a week can make a difference to your financial health over the long term. Getting money smart may not mean a lot in your 30s, but it makes all the difference in the world when you’re facing the rising cost of living, a mortgage, and childcare costs.
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