15 Small Ways to Improve Your Financial Life
When thinking about changing their financial life so many people think about big changes they can make. Pay down their debt, pay off their student loans, drive a cheaper car. We often ignore all of the small changes we could make in order to be in a better financial situation overall.
I know it seems kinda silly that these 15 small things could do more than paying off all of your debt, but it is possible. If you were to do even half of the things on this list you may notice a serious change in your money mindset which will, in turn, help you to pay off debt and make more cash!
I’m not here to tell you that these things will change your entire life and that this will be super easy and you’ll be financially secure tomorrow. But I do think that you’ll be closer to your goals and that it will have a significant impact on your life!
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WRITE down your financial goals
Taking the time to write down what you want from your money is the first step to financial success. It may seem silly, like how is just writing something down going to change anything? The key is that writing it down will bring it to the front of your mind, and the act of physically writing it down can honestly engrave it in your brain and you’ll think about it way more often.
There’s a long list of things you need to figure out before you can really get your financial life in order. Let’s list a few:
- when do you want to retire?
- how much money do you want to have when you retire?
- how long will it take you to purchase your first home?
- when you do own that home, when will you have it paid off?
- how much are you willing to spend on a car?
- when will you have the money to get yourself a new car?
- how much money are you going to need to pay for your children’s college?
- and so much more…
If you don’t currently know the answers to any of these questions, take a minute before finishing reading this post and figure it out. These are all things you need to think about to really know where you’re going!
START your emergency fund
What do you currently do when you need a lot of money really fast? Take it out of investments? Savings? Or are you like most people and you just throw it on a credit card and figure it out later? That’s honestly the worst plan for emergencies if you care about building wealth. I know that it’s the only option for so many people, but it really doesn’t have to be. Even a $1000 emergency fund can be the answer to so many of your financial questions. If you don’t currently have an emergency fund, you should read how to build an emergency fund!
TRACK your spending
Do you know where your money goes every month? Obviously, you pay your bills, and you buy groceries. But where does the rest of the money go? I know for me there are months where I spend $200 on nothing and have no idea what I bought. I didn’t need half the stuff I purchased or I spent all of my money on Rockstar Energy drinks and snickers bars because I’m unhealthy haha. If you spend the next month tracking every single penny you spend without changing your habits, you’ll be so motivated to stop spending money and to change because you’ll be so surprised by what you did. It can instantly change your mindset on your own money.
START a budget
Now that you actually know where your money goes, let’s turn that knowledge into a budget! I know I know, budgeting is boring, right? It’s horrible and it ruins the fun and it can’t be easy to do. Just kidding! Budgeting can be easy, and it can be fun! Having a budget is fun because it takes away so much of your money stress, and it lets you plan for the fun things you want to do! I promise you that having a plan for every single dollar you earn makes your entire life so much easier. You’ll be able to save more money, invest more money, and just be a more financially secure person. Personally, if you’re just starting up I suggest you start with the Zero-Based Budget which you can learn about here.
STOP throwing away money
So, after you’ve tracked your expenses and created a budget you can really see where you are wasting money. There are a ton of things that you probably buy that you don’t actually need. Buy less food so you don’t waste anything, eat out less, etc. There are so many things you can cut out of your budget to stop throwing away money. Let’s be real, wasting food is just the same as putting your money in a bucket, drowning it in gasoline, and setting it on fire. FUN.
Okay, so couponing sometimes gets a bad reputation. You see those moms with their kids pushing the cart taking 20 minutes at the checkout line because they have coupons for everything. We all judge them, but they’re the ones who are judging you. Why pay full price when you have these coupons just openly available to you?! You may not be a full-time couponer and you may hate it. But it’s definitely worth a try.
And if you don’t want to try couponing, you can get cash back easily for online purchases with Ebates! I’m a huge fan of Ebates because online shopping is one of my favourite things to do, and if I can get a few dollars back every few months I’m going to be happy about it.
ALWAYS have a grocery list
Going to the grocery store without a list is budget suicide. There are so many beautiful things in grocery stores that you might think you need. So many delicious foods that will pull you in… It’s even worse when you go there hungry without a grocery list. Having a grocery list will guide your shopping and your meal plan and allow you to save oodles of money. You’ll know exactly what you need to get through the next few days and you won’t feel the need to buy those extra snacks!
I’ve been wanting to start investing for YEARS. Since I turned 18 I’ve been scared of losing money and not making the right decisions. I’ve recently decided to just throw some money into cryptocurrency and see what happens. I started with just $100 and I’m really excited to see what happens and I’ll be updating the blog regularly with crypto stuff!
Now, investing your money is a great way to make your money work for you. You can invest in traditional stocks, in real estate, or in the ever-growing cryptocurrency market. If you’re a Canadian looking to invest in Cryptocurrency, I highly recommend using the website Coinsquare! Coinsquare is a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange lets you use an Interac e-transfer to fund your account if you don’t have a credit card which is pretty cool! For all my international readers, check out the website Coinbase! Or if you’re Canadian and want to fund using a credit card hehe. They’re both great options to get your toes wet in the cryptocurrency market.
GET health insurance
Do you know what your health situation is going to be one year from now? Are you currently insured through work? I really hope so. If you have no work coverage or are self-employed there is no better financial move than to get some decent health insurance. Luckily, in Canada, a lot of our basic health needs are covered by the government but that doesn’t mean you can get everything for free. There are still many things that we need to pay for. In other countries where healthcare isn’t free, you must have insurance or you’re risking financial doom and gloom.
START a side-hustle
Chances are you can use a little extra money in the bank at the end of the month. Unfortunately, you probably aren’t making your ideal amount of money from your day job. The best way to combat this is to start a side-hustle! Side-hustling is an amazing way to make tons of extra money, learn new skills, and meet new people. There are so many great ways to start side-hustling which you can learn all about in this post!
LISTEN to money podcasts
I’m pretty sure just listening to people talk about money is a great way to learn more about money and think more about your money. Are you a podcast listener already? I’m such a huge fan of podcasts. I listen to them in the car, while cleaning, while working. They’re just the best. If you’re looking for some good podcasts about money, I suggest The Dave Ramsey Show, Death Sex and Money, or Honest Money Conversations. All three of those podcasts are good for beginners and can teach you some good stuff!
READ about money
You’re already on this blog, so you’re starting off in a great place! There are times when I can go weeks without thinking about money unless I seek out the information and I’M A PERSONAL FINANCE BLOGGER. If I am far enough ahead on blog posts and haven’t written anything in a while there’s a 100% chance I don’t think about money. It’s a great idea to subscribe to your favourite bloggers so you get that stuff right into your mailbox. Hey, if you like me, feel free to subscribe below.
It’s also a great idea to be reading financial books if you want to learn about my absolute favourite personal finance book check out this post.
PAY down debt
Paying down debt is the single best thing you can do for your future. Debt doesn’t need to be normal. You don’t need to have student loans for the rest of your life. You don’t have to always have a car payment and a mortgage. Financial freedom is actually possible if you’re able to pay off your debt someday. If you make a good budget and have some extra money left after paying off all of your absolutely necessary expenses, you should put the rest of that money toward paying down your debt. It’ll be so extremely beneficial in the long run, I promise.
UNDERSTAND your credit score
Credit scores can be seriously confusing if you don’t know what makes them fluctuate. Why are they different every month? Where can you go to check them? What are the 5 things that go into a credit score? Check out my post all about increasing your credit score to learn more.
FOLLOW successful people
It’s a common saying that you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Who are your five people? Now, I like to think about this in terms of the people we follow on the internet as well. Are you following a ton of reality TV people who didn’t do much to get where they are? That’s not going to inspire much in terms of success. Following successful people is a great way to get where you want. If you’re looking for some great inspiration check out the following people on Instagram, Jordan Cheyenne, Jenna Kutcher, Lewis Howes, and Amanda Bucci. There are so many more out there but these are a couple of my favourites.
Who inspires you on social media? Please leave their names in the comments so I can follow them too! Everyone can use a little extra inspiration.
If you were to focus your next year on adding in these 15 small things, you’d be surprised where your money situation can be in one year. You can do this. Are there any small things you recommend for improving your finances? Let us know in the comments!