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5 Steps to Developing Good Financial Health



5 Steps to Developing Good Financial Health

Financial health is the state of one’s personal financial situation. Financial health consists of many aspects, including the amount of savings you have, how much you’re putting away for retirement, and how much of your income you are spending on fixed or non-discretionary expenses. Learn more on Saijelle’s Strictly Money Finance TV Show.

Fixed or non-discretionary spending is spending that is required by a budget, contract, or other commitment – which is always going to be there.

Having financial security is important for living without stress and also helps us stay prepared for any unexpected emergency that crops up. Because we are never taught about how to improve our financial situations and what good financial habits to adopt, many people get scared by the very prospect of doing anything.

You need not worry because developing good financial habits is the same as developing any other good habit in your life. 

  • You have to identify the problem areas.
  • Be observing and analytical of your decisions.
  • Deduce the issues you need to work on.
  • Work with determination to bring about the changes. 

Here are some habits you can adopt that will help you improve your financial health and also bring financial stability to your life.

1. Watch Your Spending

5 Steps to Developing Good Financial Health

Once you have an incoming flow, controlling your outgoing flow becomes necessary. Things going out faster than they can come in means the resource is going to dry out.

So, if you want to be financially secure, you have to start out by watching how you spend your money and where you spend your money. Knowing the pattern of expenses is going to help you put in a realistic plan, which we will be talking about in the next section.

You shouldn’t be spending more than you earn – this should be a no-brainer, but people often tend to forget this. There are a plethora of reasons for this to happen – from lifestyle choices to unhealthy habits.

“Before you spend, earn. Before you invest, investigate. … Before you retire, save.”

– William A. Ward

The ease of spending options is a major drawback in this consumerist environment. Credit cards and the option of loans make it far more convenient for people who would otherwise not have enough to spend, to keep spending beyond their means. We get into a habit of spending more. Does that sound wise when you think of the long run? 

To be financially secure, you should assign a certain amount each month for spending. Try to stick to the budget, unless an emergency comes up, your budget should be able to help you. Remember to be careful – not to go over that budget unless it is absolutely necessary.

2. Set a Realistic Monthly Budget

5 Steps to Developing Good Financial Health

Setting a realistic monthly budget needs you to know a few things:

  • Your incoming cash flows.
  • Your non-discretionary spending.
  • Your spending pattern.
  • Your money goals.

It is very important to learn to spend less than you earn, as we have already talked about. Most people fall into a pattern of debts, thanks to more and more options to get more debt, when they do not know how to live within their means. 

One thing you have to remember is that your lifestyle shouldn’t be burning a hole in your pocket; if anything, your earning should be cushioning your lifestyle.

“There is a gigantic difference between earning a great deal of money and being rich.”

– Marlene Dietrich

A realistic monthly budget takes into account not only what you bring in, but also your spending habits. When you have all the facts and numbers laid out, you can make a realistic plan to curb the excess. 

Making a budget and living by it doesn’t mean not spending at all; this is where people are wrong about creating a budget. Having a set budget just makes your spending habits smart and stops you from overspending.

“You don’t have to be a miser, just be wiser with your money.”

– Dorethia Conner Kelly

3. Open a Savings Account

5 Steps to Developing Good Financial Health

We all have a bank account, right? It has become the need of the hour. With more and more digitization of payments, it is hard not to have an account. When you have just one account, it can get a little difficult to save money.

“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.”

– James W. Frick

Having only one account to manage every financial aspect of your life might work just fine, but it is not a smart decision to make. Having all your money in one place makes it easier for you to spend it. Even if you make a budget and decide you do not have enough money to spend on things that can wait. Having access to all that money can make you slip.

  • Make another account just to save money.
  • Transfer money from your regular bank account over to a savings account.
  • Do not use this account to make payments.

This way, you will be less likely to use all of your money. The more money you put aside in your savings account, the better prepared you will be down the road when unexpected expenses pop up.

4. Pay Off Debt

5 Steps to Developing Good Financial Health

We have talked about not falling into the habit of living on debt, but some debts are important and need of the hour. Your student loan, house loan, etc. are significantly important expenses. 

It is okay to take loans for big things, but paying it off should become your priority. Making minimum monthly payments on your credit card takes a significant amount of time and a lot of determination. You need to begin by focusing on putting as much money as you can afford each month toward paying off your debt. This is also why a savings account can be of help if you do not trust yourself to save up enough.

“The man who never has money enough to pay his debts has too much of something else.”

– James Lendall Basford

Living debt-free may seem like an impossible dream, especially as soon as you get out of college with a student loan hanging over your head, but it is achievable if you are willing to work hard enough. 

If you can double or even triple your minimum payments, you will be able to pay off debt much more quickly. This will also make it possible to have more money to put into savings each month.

5.  Improve Your Credit Score

Talking about large payments, your credit is what enables you to make large and expensive purchases such as houses and vehicles. When doing so, your credit score is one of the important deciding factors. 

“If you don’t take good care of your credit, then your credit won’t take good care of you.”

– Tyler Gregory

  • If your credit history is poor or limited, you will not qualify for great loan types or interest rates, making it difficult to buy the things you need or want. 
  • When you have a higher credit score, you qualify for better rates and loans, so you end up paying less interest – meaning the burden is less on you. 
  • Raising your credit score takes time, but it is well worth it in the long run.

Final Thoughts

Improving your financial health is based on adopting good financial habits. While you can invest in a variety of channels and learn all there is to grow money – if you don’t know the basics of saving, then you will anyway be struggling.

“Many folks think they aren’t good at earning money, when what they don’t know is how to use it.”

– Frank A. Clark

Start small – Begin by managing your income and expenditure. Learn to make the most you have before you start to multiply what you have.

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