How to Avoid Debt and Take Control of Your Money
This is a guest post by Forrest McCall of Don’t Work Another Day.
As we approach 2021, many families have been put in poor positions regarding their finances.
With hundreds of thousands currently unemployed and many small businesses on the brink of closure, many individuals are facing a cash crunch to keep their bills paid.
In this post, I’m going to help you avoid debt and take back control of your money through a variety of methods. Let’s get started.
Increase Your Income
Increasing your income can be extremely difficult during normal times, but even more difficult when facing a worldwide pandemic.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Below are some of my favorite ways to increase your income that you can start today.
Pick Up a Side Hustle
Side hustles can be an excellent choice when it comes to increasing your income.
Whether you’re learning how to make money with a 3D printer or you’ve decided to make money domain flipping, picking up a side hustle is the perfect way to make money in your free time.
Some of my favorites include driving for a ride-share service, flipping furniture, or renting out a room in your home on websites like Airbnb or VRBO. If you have some extra clothes laying around, you might consider using Poshmark to make money.
Any money you make from your side hustles can then be used to invest or pay off debt, key components on your financial journey.
Invest for the Future
If you have some extra cash set aside, it’s a good idea to invest this money so it can grow over time.
If you’re trying to figure out how to invest and make money fast, you might want to reconsider your goals. Investing should always be long term oriented to limit risk and reduce any potential losses.
What should you invest in?
You should consider your goals, financial situation, and how long you have to grow your money before deciding which investments are right for you.
For most, a low-cost index fund or ETF would be a safe option with historically strong returns.
If you believe you might need the money within a couple of years, you’ll want to consider a less risky option like a high yield savings account or certificate of deposit (CD). These will not grow as much but are much safer when compared to other investments.
Browse for a New Job
One of the fastest ways to give your income a boost is by finding a new job with better pay.
If you’ve been at your job for more than a few years you might be capable of finding a new position with much greater pay. It never hurts to browse around and see what’s available.
Budget the Right Way
If you’re capable of increasing your income it won’t matter if you spend every penny of it!
Budgeting your money and tracking your spending is necessary to avoid financial disasters that might accompany an increase in income.
When planning a budget, you’ll want to categorize your spending into different buckets so you can keep track of where you might be overspending.
Some of the most common budgeting categories include:
- Mortgage or rent
- Car payments
- Student loan payments
- Car fuel
- Streaming services
Some people might prefer a written budget or you can choose to use a spreadsheet to do the hard work for you!
Establish an Emergency Fund
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to have money set aside in the case of an emergency (or pandemic!).
If you have a surplus in your budget each month, this additional cash should be set aside to build your emergency fund.
How much should you save for your emergency fund?
Experts vary on this answer but many will claim 6 to 9 months of your monthly expenses should be a comfortable padding for most emergencies. But this number is completely arbitrary. Depending on your situation, you may feel more comfortable with saving 12 months of expenses. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to emergency funds. The key is to get started! If you’re desperate for money, having an emergency fund can be vital to keeping your finances in check.
Managing your finances can be a challenge. Avoiding debt, saving for retirement, and establishing an emergency fund can seem like a massive mountain to climb but with the right foundations, almost anyone is capable.
To manage your money, it’s wise to examine three aspects: increasing your income, budgeting and tracking your spending, and establishing an emergency fund to help you avoid debt throughout unforeseen circumstances.
By following these steps, you’re sure to put yourself in a much better financial situation and reach your goals.
What tips do you follow when it comes to managing your money? Comment below!
Forrest is the owner of Don’t Work Another Day, a personal finance, investing, and entrepreneurship blog dedicated to helping others live a life on their own terms. His work has been featured in various media outlets including Forbes, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, and more.
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