Be pro-active when it comes to getting ahead financially. Follow these financial planning tips to stay out of debt and maximize your earnings.
Know what your job is worth and spend less than you earn.
Evaluate your skills, productivity, tasks and what you contribute to the company then see what others in your industry with your position are earning. Are you making significantly less? Might be time to ask for a raise. Although it may seem obvious, it's important to never spend more than what you earn. It's easier to spend less than earn more, so with the help of your CPA, examine your expenses and find a way to cut costs.
Avoid credit card debt.
Try to use cash as often as possible and when you do use your credit card, remember to think about whether you have the cash to back up your purchase. Credit card debt is the number one obstacle people face when trying to get ahead financially, so make sure to use credit wisely.
Stay on budget.
If you don't budget, you have no way of knowing how to allocate your expenses against your revenue to make a profit. You also have no way of setting, spending and saving goals. Set a monthly budget and stick to it.
Contribute to a retirement plan, a savings plan and try to put money into other investments whenever possible. Remember to always pay yourself first. Understand how to use short term debt. If you use short term debt always have a plan to pay it back. Without a plan, you plan to fail.
Keep good records.
Without good records, you're probably not claiming all of your allowable income tax deductions and credits. Don't wait, set up a system now and use it all year. It's much easier to have a system in place before tax time to ensure you aren't missing items that could have saved you money.
Use cash to keep spending under control.
With both credit and debit cards, spending is easy. However it's also easy to get yourself into debt because you lose track of how much you're actually spending. To keep your spending in perspective, use bookkeeping reports to watch what you've done. This will help you avoid credit card debt.
Create a budget and stick with it.
The hardest part of creating a budget is actually getting around to doing it. Creative Business Strategies has several programs that can help you create and stay on budget.
Improve your credit score.
Make your payments on time to improve your credit score. Also keep your debt load under control. If you are far in debt and need help with credit score clean up, seek help from a professional. It will be worth it in the long run.
Organize your finances.
Start a basic filing system for all of your documents and keep them organized. This will help ensure you don't miss any payments. Go through your documents and figure out which ones are important to keep and which to shred. Also make sure to keep your information safe to avoid identity theft.
Get specific with your goals.
Make specific goals when it comes to saving money, such as save $500 a month for a down payment on a house. Put money aside to save before you pay your bills.
Focus on your needs not wants.
Make sure you can distinguish between what you need for your personal life or business and what you want. Budget accordingly for your needs, and then if there is anything left over, you can splurge.
Plan for the unexpected.
Put money aside "just in case" so if you do have an unexpected disastrous event such as a job layoff, house fire or a long-term illness, you will have money to fall back on.
Be realistic about saving.
If you've never saved a penny in your life you can't expect yourself to start saving thousands of dollars a month. Start small and work up to major savings, otherwise you may become frustrated and abandon your budget.