How to Master Your Personal Finances in 2020

Are you satisfied with how you earned, spent and saved in 2019? Is your current financial position ideal? Most of us can do a little better. Chances are that you’ve made a few strides in the past year to improve the way you handle your money, whether it was making an investment, developing a budget or increasing your savings.

But can you say that you’ve mastered your personal finances? Perhaps you’re still spending too much on frivolous products and convenience items. Maybe you haven’t taken the time to set any goals to work towards. There are many aspects to consider and putting everything in order can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task.

Fortunately, getting a strong grip on your personal finances is far from impossible. With some expert advice and a bit of motivation, you can start 2020 on the right note and take a major step forward in building a solid foundation for your financial future. Here’s how to master your personal finances in the year ahead.

Reflect and Review

Our list of financial obligations never seems to stop growing. This can make it difficult to keep track of how we manage our money in the long run. At the same time, knowing how you spend and save is key to determining a suitable strategy for the future.

This is why you should take a moment to pull up your bank statements and ask questions such as:

● How much did you spend on needs vs wants?
● Where are you over-spending?
● Are you saving enough?
● What were the biggest wastes of money?
● What were wise investments?

Answering these questions will help you get a better idea of your spending habits. They’re also useful for putting together a budget for the new year. Once you know how much you should be spending on something, it’s easier to predict how much you will spend and adjust other items in your budget accordingly.

Don’t forget to consider any major events that will happen next year. This can include taking courses, buying a new car, going on holiday, etc. They’ll probably put a more significant dent in your budget than routine expenses, so it’s worth identifying how you can ensure a smooth cash flow when it happens.

Know Your Goals

A year is more than enough time to make considerable progress towards – if not entirely complete – numerous goals. This doesn’t only have to include a specific savings figure. Perhaps you want to spend less, invest more or even find a new avenue for making money on top of your current job. Maybe you want to become a more conscious consumer.

Write down what you want to accomplish and specify a time frame, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t quite make it. Flexible goals are the way forward. After outlining your goals, it’s important to create a list of actionable steps towards achieving them. This will give you a clearer path to follow moving forward.

Identify Earning Opportunities

Thanks in no small part to the internet, there are many ways to supplement your income without having to work a second job or start a business. Think about your talents and skills. Perhaps there’s something marketable, be it writing, graphic design, programming, art or photography. Once you’ve identified something, it’s simply a matter of selling it.

A popular solution is to head over to freelance websites such as Fiverr, Upwork or PeoplePerHour. Here you can sell your skills to different clients around the world through an established platform. Another option is to make use of the app market. If you have a car, consider Uber or Lyft. If you have a spare room, Airbnb is naturally your first option.

There are also survey apps such as iPoll and Google Opinion Rewards, which allow you to take short surveys in your spare time for a few extra pounds. You can get paid to do odd jobs through apps such as TaskRabbit and Field Agent. Then there are apps like Sweatcoin, which literally pay you to walk. Granted, it’s not much, but every penny adds up.

It’s worth considering whether there are any advancement opportunities in your current job. Perhaps you can obtain a certain qualification that will allow you to apply for a higher position in your company. Maybe there’s another company looking for someone with your skills, but they require a slightly more extensive educational background.

These days, you don’t need to spend thousands of pounds and years of your life studying for a degree to improve your accreditations. Thanks to websites such as https://www.findcourses.co.uk, you can easily find a variety of training courses online or in your area. Some only take a few hours or days and cost less than a hundred pounds to complete.

Keep Track

Your finances are one aspect of life that is especially important to keep track of. Knowing where your money is going can help you stretch it further, and putting your goals in writing will help you accomplish them. Thinking about your finances can be abstract and stressful, while keeping track and visualizing it puts everything in perspective.

Since we live in the digital age, you don’t need to do any actual writing. Once you’ve put together a decent layout, a simple spreadsheet will do the trick. You can further simplify the process of tracking your money by making use of an app like Mint, which automatically shows you where your money is going and generates an appropriate budget.

Get Inspired

Personal finance is hardly the most exciting topic. Most informational resources around it tend to feel dry and stuffy, making it difficult to really draw any inspiration from what you’re reading. The good news is that there are some noteworthy exceptions that will help you regain your focus on saving and making your money work for you.

Anti-consumerism communities on Reddit are a great example. This includes r/declutter, r/nobuy, r/frugal and r/minimalism, among various others. These communities serve as discussion platforms where you can share your thoughts and ideas about personal finance with like-minded individuals.

Of course, there are plenty of great personal finance blogs and YouTube channels to check out as well. It’s worth taking the time to explore them and build a list of bookmarks with your favourites. This is a great way to stay on the ball and know about the latest trends when it comes to saving or making more money.

Conclusion

Think about why you want to master your personal finances. Is it to gain financial independence and peace of mind? Perhaps it’s to ensure that you’ll be saving up enough money for a certain goal. Maybe you want to build a solid foundation for your loved ones to fall back on in times of need.

Whatever you reason, make a note of it. Once you know what it is, staying motivated will be significantly easier. The journey towards mastering your personal finances won’t be an easy one and there will inevitably be times where you make mistakes. The best you can do is take them as learning experiences, get back up and carry on.

Eventually, you’ll begin to develop a consistent routine. This will prove to be extremely rewarding, making the journey well-worth the effort. So, take a moment to reflect, write down your goals, get inspired and go for it.

Thanks to Emily Roberts

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