Staying on track financially: best practices

By Gloria Martinez

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Many North Americans have trouble staying on track financially; there are so many things that can derail even the best-laid plans, from unexpected medical expenses to home repairs or a dip in credit.

However, there are some simple ways you can help keep your finances in check so you aren’t left with a nasty surprise down the road, and it will ensure that your retirement, college funds, or other savings are left untouched.

It’s important to start with a good plan. Sit down, look at your expenses and current income, and create a budget that will be easy to stick to. Don’t cut back on too many things at once; that’s a recipe for failure that will leave you feeling unmotivated to keep trying. It’s also a good idea to keep communication open with your spouse or partner so everyone is on the same page.

Read on below to find out the best ways to stay on track financially.

Buy a Life Insurance policy

The right life insurance policy isn’t just a way to protect your family in the event of your death; it’s also an investment that you can sell down the road should you need to free up cash. Many people do this in order to pad their nest egg a bit for retirement, but it’s important to find the right policy for your needs: both now and in the future.

Set a Budget

Setting a budget is essential when it comes to staying on track with your finances. Create a spreadsheet online that can be shared with your spouse or partner, and update it every day with each new purchase or checking deposit. It’s also a good idea to set an allowance for spending for the week and stick to it as closely as possible, whether it’s for groceries or eating out. You can look for ways to save, as well, such as carpooling, making eco-friendly changes to your home to reduce your utility bills, and trading cable for a streaming service.

Prepare as much as possible

Few people feel like holiday shopping in July, but the fact is, if you start planning now for things you know you’re going to buy a few months down the road anyway, it will be a lot easier on your bank account. When you’re shopping and see a toy on sale, grab it and put it aside for the kids’ Christmas or birthday. Accumulating a little at a time will allow you to stick to your budget and prepare at the same time. It will also cut down on the amount of money you’ll spend in one fell swoop during the holiday season.

Say No to Credit

Studies have shown that we tend to spend more when we use credit cards than when we use cash, so put away the plastic and keep cash on hand when possible. When shopping, it may be tempting to open up new lines of credit, especially when the cashier offers a discount on your purchase. However, keeping your debt to a minimum is imperative, so it’s best to pay for your purchases now and skip the new card.

Creating a good plan and staying on track with your finances is rarely easy, so it’s important to start with a good plan that will ensure success. Set attainable goals, talk to a financial advisor, and stay organized alongside your spouse or partner so the two of you can work together. With a little patience and time, you can find the best ways to keep your finances in good shape.

Gloria Martinez started WomenLed to celebrate the advancements women have made and inspire women to become entrepreneurs and seek promotions in the workplace.


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