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10 Easy Steps to a Brighter Financial Future, Starting Today! FREE Printable!

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Are you looking for a brighter financial future? If so, then you are in the right place.

Being intentional in your finances is not hard, it just takes a some time, knowledge, and effort. The thing is, if you’re not paying attention, your money can slip through your fingers without you even realizing it.

While I came to living a frugal life out of necessity, I know I am not alone in needing or even wanting to keep more of my hard-earned money in my pocket.

Whether you are on a quest to live frugally because you want to or because you have to, you can make some awesome progress in keeping more of the money you earn. Here are the steps that will help get you there!

brighter financial future

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1. Set realistic and close-ended short-term goals

These might be your financial goals for the next three or six months, or maybe you will be peering a year into the future, but these things are what you would like to see your money do for you in the near future. For help on setting realistic goals, you can read, Do Your Goals Spell Success?

2. Set realistic and close-ended long-term goals

These are the kind of goals that you set for way off in the future. Back when we were about 25, my husband and I set the goal of paying off our mortgage by the age of 40. We even upgraded to a new house during that time and walked through a couple of really dark financial valleys. We are about 18 months late, but we will be meeting that goal by the time we are 42. You can read about the crazy things we did to accomplish this by reading 18 Things We Did to Become Completely Debt-Free Before Age 42.

3. Decide on a dollar threshold

Maybe your threshold will be $30 as it was for us or maybe it will be a higher threshold, but when you have a certain dollar threshold in place, for every item that you are wanting to purchase that is over that threshold, you will want to filter that through the goals that you established in steps one and two.

Does this particular item keep you basically on track toward reaching your goals or does it send you completely off the track of reaching either your long-terms or your short-terms goals? If it is a purchase that sets you far off course, it certainly is an item that you will want to think long and hard on before you actually purchase it. This was a key component to my husband and I being out of debt before at a young age.

4. Sleep on it

Sleep on every purchase that is over the dollar threshold that you created in the previous step. This is avoiding the urge to impulse buy. If you want to make a purchase and still want to purchase it after sleeping on it for a night or two, that purchase will no longer be an impulse buy. Impulse buys are most commonly something that you wouldn’t have purchased had you thought about it for a while.

5. Create a budget

I walked you through this essential process in 8 Must Know Tips For Creating a Budget That Works! If the word “budget” scares you, reading the budgeting post will take it from being something that overwhelms you to something that you can master using the steps laid out for you. Having a budget is essential in being intentional in creating a bright financial future.

6. Establish an emergency fund

Let’s face it, we all know that unexpected events and expenses come up – usually at the most inopportune times, but having an emergency fund in place can be an essential lifeline. The financial gurus speak of first working towards having $1000 in an emergency fund and from there working towards having three to six months of your expenses into what would then be considered a fully funded emergency fund. I feel this is sound advice, and it is advice that has worked well for us.

7. Cut down on expenses

You can do this in a variety of ways. Maybe it is downgrading your cable or phone plan, eliminating cable altogether, eating out less, repurposing things rather than buying new, or learning how to use coupons.

The truth is, you can cut expenses in a variety of ways, and even little savings here and there can add up to be big savings over time. Perhaps this Living Well & Spending Zero Challenge forced you to save money for the first time. Maybe, you even liked having that extra money around! Carry on the challenge even further by continuing to discover ways that you can cut your expenses.

8. Buy smart

Research the things you buy by reading reviews from other buyers, reading the fine print on offers, and so much more. Rather than just buying the first thing that looks good, make sure it is in fact the right purchase for you and will serve the intended purpose well.

9. Define the difference between a want and a need, and then make educated purchases

This Living Well & Spending Zero Challenge has most likely provided you with the opportunity to clearly define these two things – maybe even for the first time. Let this skill and these definitions carry over into your life moving forward. Maybe you will begin buying the things you want at times, which is fine, but every time you do purchase something you want, you will be doing it from an educated standpoint if you continually define each purchase as either a want or a need.

10. Make your money work for you

You work hard for your money. Why not make it work for you? By this I mean being aware of ways that you can save money in various places. This could mean shopping around for better insurance rates, paying attention to your bills to make sure that you haven’t been wrongly billed or had a program like your cable package take a price hike without you realizing it.

Remain aware of what’s going on around you. Are interest rates lower than when you mortgaged your home? If so, maybe refinancing is a good option. Check things like this out. These are all ways that you can make your money work for you.

A brighter financial future can be yours. It just takes some hard work. Following these ten steps is a great way to start to keeping more of your hard-earned money in your pocket!

These are some of my favorite financial books:

financial tips

 

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