save money early

Financial health, just like physical health, contributes to leading a successful life and securing a better future. Your financial health is the product of your financial decisions and activities; hence actively managing it should be a priority. 

There will always be financial struggles from time to time, but having a better outlook and knowledge on managing your finances can help you get your way around the hard parts. Practicing better financial habits can help you achieve your financial goals. 

They can be difficult to start and maintain but not impossible. It’s just a matter of commitment to your principles. Here are six financial principles you can easily start following today.

1. Spend Less Than You Earn

Personal finance can be confusing with all the numbers involved. With that in consideration, many people don’t even fully understand their actual income and therefore spend beyond their means regularly. It has to start with understanding your gross and net income. 

Your gross earning is what you make before non-negotiable expenses like bills and utilities, while the net is what’s left after. This net income is what you can spend on miscellaneous things, but it is always advisable to save or invest them when you can.

There are ways to improve financial skills even if you are bad at numbers. To keep yourself on track with your finances, look at your bank statements and utilize apps that help you categorize income and expenses. Try to stick to your budget and minimize spending on things that you don’t actually need. 

If you must make large purchases, you are not prepared to pay immediately; there are smart ways to finance them that can be beneficial to your financial health. This includes building credit and spreading out the repayment in installments. Take advantage of the benefits of an installment loan and use it to make your budget work.  

2. Put Your Money to Work for You

Many people do not have sufficient knowledge about investing, therefore, are daunted to invest. But investment comes in different forms, some of which are accessible and less risky than others. You just have to find the right one that works for you. Investing as early as possible will help yield better returns.

You can consider starting with the stock market or even investing in hedge funds. Knowing how you can start investing on your own will be a learning curve. It may take a bit of time, but it will definitely help your financial wellness and contribute to achieving your financial goals.

Take advantage of the time value of money. The small amount you start investing now can turn into a very big amount decades down the road. Once you cover expenses and set aside savings, putting your money to work with investments will benefit you greatly in the future. 

3. Diversify Everything

Diversifying is commonly associated with investment portfolios, which is very important. But there are other things that you can diversify when it comes to your finances, like your income stream and even the products you purchase.

Seeking additional income streams can help you earn more, therefore, save more. A part-time job, a small business and other investments are great sources of extra income. Diversification help to maintain financial stability because, while one aspect of your finances struggles, the others will stay stable.

More so, on a smaller scale, diversifying the products and items you regularly buy can help save. Too. You don’t have to stick with the same brand, the same stores, cafes and restaurants. Always consider shaking things up a bit and going for the ones that may offer better deals from time to time.  

4. Maximize Employment Benefits

Many employers will match the amount you put in your retirement plan or investment portfolio. Please take full advantage of this as it is free money over time. Make sure to ask your employer about the available employee benefits. Most offer health insurance and retirement plans, discounts on products, memberships and services, and others even have employee stock purchase plans. 

Investing in these employee benefits may seem like additional spending today that you want to avoid, but it will pay off in the long run. Additionally, taking advantage of free or discounted items and paid vacations can help you save a lot while getting what you need. 

5. Start Saving Early

Among the important aspect of financial planning at any stage of life is savings. Saving can mean many things, such as an emergency fund or setting aside money for retirement. And it is actually not that easy to start and maintain. However, it is highly necessary if you aim for a future where you can be financially secure. 

It is never too early to start saving. The earlier you start, the easier it may be. This is because you will have more time, and you may need a smaller amount to set aside regularly over the years to reach your financial goal. Especially for starting a retirement fund, starting at a younger age will give you more time and options, plus a better chance at not needing to work even before retirement age. 

6. Create a Budget

The most basic yet very challenging principle of personal financial management is budgeting. Establishing a budget and sticking to it every day can require patience and commitment. But if you have a concrete financial goal, sticking to it can become a routine that you’ll get used to.

Set a budget for yourself and come back to it for adjustments as your circumstances change. This will help maintain responsible spending as you establish how much you should spend in a certain category. A visual budget will also help you move budgetary spending as your priorities shift. 

The Best Day To Start Is Today

Achieving your financial goals takes a whole lot of planning and hard work. You have to commit to your goals and adopt positive principles to guide you through. Starting your journey to financial stability is a huge undertaking, but the sooner you do, the better. 

Start with small steps when it comes to saving, investing and budgeting and put them in practice until they become your second nature. The earlier you adopt these principles, the easier your journey will get towards the future.

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Eric Hammer is a personal finance expert and writer based in Washington state.

Eric graduated from Excelsior College, a distance learning school accredited by the Middle States Association and the New York State Board of Regents (the same organizations that accredit Columbia University, New York University, Cornell University, etc.).

Eric actually held lots of different jobs, including such varied positions as a sales clerk, paralegal, surveyor’s assistant, community rabbi and English teacher, to name just a few.

He has since learned how to manage money wisely and uses his experience to help others make smart financial decisions. Today, his work appears on sites like Demand Studios and Bright Hub.