When it comes to improving your life, it really comes down to common sense. For whatever reason, we try to make things much more difficult than they need to be. Just look at common core math as an example. Since when does 2 + 2 involve blue and yellow? We overcomplicate things and in doing so, confuse ourselves and waste valuable time.
If you want to get ahead financially, it really all comes down to common sense. Here are four common sense approaches to life to get you ahead.
4 Steps to Improve Your Financial Life
- Don’t Overspend.
Credit cards make it easy to spend more money than we actually have. This is why many people should avoid credit cards altogether or just use them sparingly. For me, I use my credit card for gas and groceries because I get bonus cash back on those. For everything else, I use cash or my debit card. It keeps me from overspending.
If you overspend, figure out why. Is it because you impulse buy on credit because you don’t have the money? Or are you living a lifestyle that is beyond your means, meaning you bought too much of a house or bought a new car you couldn’t afford? Take the time to understand your spending and make changes going forward.
- Save For A Rainy Day.
You need to save money. Not just for when the air conditioner breaks, but also for vacations and other fun things you want to do that cost money. How do you save? Most people fail at saving because they save what is left over at the end of the month. For many, this amount is zero. For some others, it is less than zero because they overspend.
To save money, simply flip the formula that you use. Save first. When you get paid, transfer money over to a savings account. Whatever is left in your checking account you can spend without worry as you have already saved for the month.
Read More: Do You Save First or Spend First?
- Think Ahead.
A typical morning has you getting up, rushing around and feeling stressed. This is bad as stress kills. What is even worse though is that we are doing it to ourselves. We have the control to change things, yet we don’t.
To overcome rushing around and the stress, plan ahead. Watch the weather the night before so you know if you will need your boots and umbrella. Lay out your clothes so you have everything you need in the morning. Get up a little earlier. Maybe take a shower the night before. There are endless things you can do to lower the stress simply by thinking ahead.
How does this relate to your finances? Well, first is the stress. You will develop health problems from the stress which means an increase in medical bills. But there also is frivolous spending. How many times did you skip breakfast because you were running around like a maniac only to overeat (and over spend) on lunch? Or you simply got breakfast at McDonald’s or the coffee shop instead? If you had thought ahead, you could have eaten at home, saving yourself money.
I’m a planner by nature so this tip might come easier to me than to others. But you have to plan for your future. I know you would rather spend that $50 on new jeans today than put it into your IRA where you can’t touch it for 30 years. But, you have to envision your life in 30 years. What will it be like? Will you still be working? Most of us would rather quit the rat race sooner than later, but we still give in to short-term wants. If you aren’t saving for retirement, you will be working until the day you die.
That is not something I want. I want to leave the working world behind as soon as possible and spend my days doing what I love – golfing, reading, traveling. Because of this, I plan by saving as much as I possibly can.
If you can use common sense when it comes to your life, you will get ahead. Don’t make the error that so many others do thinking that the real secret in acquiring wealth is some complicated formula or plan. It’s not. It’s very basic. It’s how so many got to where they are. Sure it won’t get you there overnight, but nothing will, aside from the lottery. But most of those people go broke anyways, so that isn’t an option either. Keep things simple and don’t over think. In time, you will see great improvement in your life.
More on Your Money
- 5 Ways to Make Your Money Work Smarter, Not Harder
- 3 Steps That Will Lead You to More Wealth
- How to Put More Money in Your Savings Account
- Manage Your Finances Without a Budget in Two Simple Steps
- How to Improve Your Finances When You Don’t Know Where to Start
- Tricks from the Rich to Grow Your Wealth