Welcome back to the Financing Your Life series on conquering your finances in 2015. If you haven’t yet read parts one or two, you can find them here. Today, let’s look at the last five steps you can take to start getting your finances under control for good.
- Max out your employer 401(k): A 401(k) with an employer-matching contribution offers an amazing way to get a jump-start on retirement. If you’re not contributing what you need to max out the employer contribution, massage your budget so you can start doing so in 2015.
- Start understanding your needs and wants: One of the biggest spending problems people have is an inability to differentiate between a need and a want. Learning to spend money on needs first will help you stop wasting funds and start focusing on what really matters.
- Plug your financial leaks: There are many ways money can be needlessly leaking from your wallet each month. It could literally be leaking out through unsealed doors and windows, or figuratively leaking out through unnecessary subscription fees, wasted electricity, thermostat settings and more. Take some time to look at all the little ways you’re wasting money and make a commitment to stop.
- Learn more: Chances are you pay certain service providers to do things you can’t. You may pay someone to change your car’s oil, to fix your computers or appliances, and so on. If you learned how to do one or more of these tasks, you could save yourself some money and enjoy the feeling of being self-reliant. If you get good enough, you could even use this new skill to create a side income.
- Design your lifestyle around your income, not what you “deserve”: Too many people live a lifestyle they think they should be able to because of their age or social standing. This is a recipe for disaster. The only way to truly control your finances and conquer financial trouble is to live the lifestyle that your actual income can afford. That may mean you live in a smaller house than other people in your circle, that you don’t buy new cars as often and that you don’t take as many vacations—but it also means you’ll have less debt, more control and more options.