It seems like everybody is getting into a fitness routine. Maybe you know some who are spending a lot of money, as well as time, on their physical health. We think that financial health is just as important and provide some helpful tips to get (and stay) fiscally fit.
Perhaps the greatest way to improve your financial health is to develop a good plan, have the right tools and make both of those things work together for a time. Financial experts have always recommended a budget. But even before you create a budget, there steps to take first.
Setting aside time to talk to your significant other and family members about financial matters is a hugely important thing to do first. People do better with decisions when they hear the context; they behave better when they know the boundaries and limits of their activities, and cooperate when know what the goals are. So, talk about the money and what it needs to do, specifically. If done in a calm, clear way, it should reduce friction, perhaps deliver helpful collaboration and, most importantly, help to make the budget successful. We just love the idea of a family enjoying financial harmony.
There are hundreds of budget tools available and you don’t have to pay money to make them work. Most have access to Microsoft’s Excel software that offers lots of templates to help you get started. Mint is a popular free online service. It’s free, and can only show you what you have spent money on, so projecting future expenses is left up to some other tool.
However there is one budget tool that costs money, and we like how it works. It’s called, appropriately, You Need a Budget (YNAB). The one-time $60 charge delivers software needed for tracking and projecting financial transactions, but for most people it uses the method needed for imposing fiscal discipline. YNAB’s most appealing feature is its ability to project personal cash flow by including future expenses—very helpful to avoid cash flow crises. The website has free videos to help you even if you don’t buy the software and offers a free trial of their software. There are even free online classes.
Once you have a good budget and are committed to making it work, stick to it! Focus on the small steps of paying down debt, living simply for a time, and enjoy the happiness of watching your savings grow.
Peoples Bank cares for the community, and is doing its part to help improve your financial fitness. Good health to you all!