Smart Money Moves to Make Starting Now

It doesn’t take having plenty of money to be smart about where your money is going.  No matter the income level, it is important to live within your means and save for the future.  Whether you are starting out your career, or on the tail end on the verge of retirement, the sooner you begin to adjust your lifestyle the better, so you have plenty of time to save for retirement.  If you are in need of a few tips, there are a few smart money moves to make starting right now.

Stick by a New Way of Life

The days of careless spending need to be over, and today is the day when you begin to track every dollar coming in and going out, so you can begin to budget for monthly bills, food, gas, and spending money, within reason, so that you have enough to contribute to savings, then at least breaking even and we can continue to work on freeing up extra dollars from here on out.  If you are still spending more than what is coming in, you will need to look at reallocating funds to certain areas, as maybe you are spending too much, say, on food, and that should not be budgeted for going out to dinner, but grocery shopping instead.

Fund Your Retirement Account

If you have not yet started to fund your retirement account, then that needs to absolutely be the next thing you do.  The longer you wait, the less your account has time to build up, and pretty soon you will be retirement with nothing much besides trying to rely on Social Security, which we know may or may not be there decades from now.  A good starting point would be, if your company matches 401(k) contributions, you should at least put in that to avoid losing out on money.  From there you can gradually increase yearly as you get merit increases, or spending money freed up.

Build Your Emergency Fund

You never know when an emergency can happen, as anything can happen, so you should be prepared to the best of your ability.  Now how much to put in the account will depend on expenses, as experts say there should be at least three months’ worth of your expenses in there.  Outside of that, too much in there and it could sit for too long without building interest, as it would in a brokerage account, but in case of auto repair, home improvement, or hopefully not a job-loss, it is good to have some funds available for easy access.

Reduce Unnecessary Spending

This will take time, but if you can start avoiding the impulse buys and focus on what is a need versus a want, you will begin to reduce unnecessary spending and free up extra money that can be used in other places, such as saving.  You can start to track spending by reviewing bank or credit card statements, and go over each purchase.  It could be scary, but it will be a benefit to reduce spending.

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