Show me the money:A starter guide to better finance!
Now many might wonder, why the hell am I talking about financial discipline. For those who know me, I am the worst kind when it comes to savings, investments or money management. But I guess that’s what makes me the perfect guide to walk you through this. I will be mentioning some points here that you can think about and adapt for better management of your finances.
Now, I am not gonna write some fancy jargons on taxes, stocks, credit transfers, FDs, RDs or real estate. Fact is, I don’t know shit about them. And if you also don’t know anything about them, honestly that’s the least of your worries.
Again, these are not for financial experts who like to play Indiana Jones with all the stock chasing and tax evasions. These are for people who don’t know where their money is going, who have maxed out on all their cards, whose CIBIL score is at the bottom of the ocean, and whose savings account looks like Abhishek Bachan’s call sheet. (Don’t worry buddy, we still love you)
1. Track all your monthly expenses.
Track everything. Use an app or a journal as you go through your daily activities to record your monthly expenditure. Analyze them. Find where your money is going. What is really needed, And how much you are spending for Food, Fuel, Entertainment, Streaming Services, Internet and Phones. These are some common areas where you could do some serious control. Leave out the essentials from this scrutiny- Student fees, Rent, etc. For Inst. If you are spending more on your monthly food than your monthly rent, then you are in trouble. Try to reduce your monthly eat-outs and takeaways, Unsubscribe from services that you can live without, Make sure that your internet and mobile plans are financially optimal. Redirect the savings made after the damage control to Point number 2.
2. Get out of your credit card debt!
This will be scary — looking into your credit card statement and seeing your outstanding debt! But power through. Card companies will do their level best to get as much money from you but don’t fall into that. Do not keep paying the minimum due. This will keep the debt going up and your credit score going down. Use the redirected saving from Point number 1 and close it to the 0. It might take a couple of months but prioritize this.
3. Clear out the clutter.
This is where you have to let go of things that might be sitting in your living room and wasting your money. No, I am not talking about your kid, dumbo! Dead assets are such a financial hazard. These could be gadgets that you never use, extra computers, phones, electronics, appliances, etc. List them for sale. Clear them out and redirect the money to close your credit debt. Do not think about profit here, you are just making some liquid cash to use it for Point number 2.
4. Playing with two bank accounts.
Open a savings account if you don’t already have one. I am not talking about your salary account. Start a saving account with a different bank. Talk to a couple of banks and compare the offers you are getting. Try a bank that gives you a better interest rate. Don’t expect too much in the beginning out of this. The potential of good interest rate will kick in once you have bigger amounts in your savings account. Keep transferring a constant amount to your savings account from the salary account monthly. Also, carry over any balance in your salary account to the savings account on your salary date. Try not to have more than two accounts for no apparent reason. Close any inactive accounts.
5. Credit Cards are good if used wisely!
I didn’t say credit cards are bad. In fact, they could be really useful in time. But try making it a habit of paying your credit debts monthly right from the start. Talk to the credit card company and ask for discounts and deductions. There is no harm in asking and this has an 85% personal success rate. Rather than having one maxed-out credit card, it's wise to have two cards. Keep the secondary card active by assigning a monthly subscription payment to it. And pay it off before the due date.
6. Open more channels of income, if possible.
Now, this is not an option that everyone can go for but there are still ways to have more income channels than your salary! Work out a plan based on your individual specifications and explore options. All this extra income can help you clear your debts and build your savings.
That’s it for starters!
These steps won’t make you rich, but at least you will be able to spend less on things you hate and spend more on things you love!