Are you financially happy? Most people don’t consider themselves to be financially happy unless their money is right. Well, what exactly is “right”? In my mind, it means no or low debt, money in the bank for a rainy day and being able to pay the bills on time.
If you don’t consider yourself to be financially happy, here are a few steps you can take to get there.
- Create and live by your budget. I know, there’s that B word again! Unfortunately, there’s no getting around having a budget if you want to be financially happy. You have to know how much is coming in and how much is going out each month so you can plan accordingly. If you need help getting a budget started, check out my previous post about creating a budget.
- Set money goals. Once you have fine tuned your budget you can begin to set financial goals. Write down the ways you’d like your money to work for you. Do you want to save for retirement, vacation, or college? Having a budget will allow you to see how much you can devote to each area and then you can begin working towards those goals. Be sure to set short term (within a year) and long term (5 years) goals.
- Pay your bills on time! Paying your bills on time will increase your credit rating and allow you to receive low-interest loans, if needed. When you create your budget, be sure to allocate money for fun stuff like shopping, eating out, and entertainment. Having these line items in your budget will enable you to use those funds instead of dipping into money allocated for bills. It may take a few months to build those accounts up, which means you will have to reign in spending until you’ve reached a comfortable amount.
- Put money away for emergencies. Trust me, they will come. If you begin putting money away you’ll be ready and won’t have to resort to using credit for that emergency. Your budget will be able to tell you how much you can set aside.
- Stop comparing what you have to others. Try to find satisfaction and happiness in what you already have, not in the things you think you must have to be happy. I believe happiness is a state of mind and we can learn to be happy in whatever state we are currently in. As Dave Ramsey says, “Stop keeping up with the Joneses. They’re broke!”
- Plan for the future. In addition to saving for emergencies, you should also plan for events that will happen in the future. Life insurance, disability insurance, retirement and college are a few examples of things we need to plan and save for. They may not make you financially happy now, but they definitely will in the future!
- Stick with the plan. There will be many times when you will want to throw in the towel and hop off the budget train, but trust me, if you stick with the plan, you will see how much farther along you will be in 3 months, then six months and finally one year’s time. Seeing how much you’ve accomplished will inspire you to keep going and you’ll begin to experience that financial happiness you’ve been looking for.
These are just a few tips to increase your financial happiness, but I know there are MANY more! Add any tips you may have in the comments section below. We all could use a little motivation. 🙂
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