Life doesn’t always work out the way we think it will, and sometimes we find ourselves scrambling to regain control of our financial situation. Illness, job loss, emergency expenses, less-than-ideal money choices – these can all trigger us to dip into our savings prematurely.
So, what do we do when we’ve put our financial goals on the backburner, or feel like our financial plans have become derailed? The good news is, it’s never too late to make changes to improve your finances. Here are six ways to regain control of your financial situation.
Create a *new* budget
Using a budget that you created when you were in a different financial situation isn’t necessarily going to help you get back track now. Instead, create a budget that reflects your current situation and will help you accomplish your new (realistic) goals. You may want to pay off a high-interest credit card, set a debt-repayment schedule, or rebuild your emergency fund. Remember that you don’t have to do it all at once – pick one or two things you want to focus on first.
Automate as much as you can
When it comes to taking back control of your finances, there are things you can do to make the savings process easier. Consider automating your payments for the big things – bills, debt repayment, and savings (even if it’s a small amount). This ensures you’re always staying on top of your goals, and it eliminates the stress of remembering which bills you need to pay each month.
Find another source of income
If you can manage it time-wise, finding another source of income is the quickest way to boost your savings or pay off debt. Many people are relying on side-hustles to supplement their income and money goals. Love animals? Start a dog walking business on the evenings or weekends. Great with a camera? Offer family photoshoots. Another way to increase your income is to invest and let your money do the income earning. Remember that cost is a significant deterrent to growth, so make sure to keep your fees low.
Use your employee savings plans
Not everyone is lucky enough to have employer-offered benefits and savings plans, so if you are, take advantage of them. Employee savings plans essentially give you free money. If this is the only investing you do, it’s a great option because you could be up to doubling your investment. Remember to also look into what’s included in your benefits plan – you’re probably covered for more than you think, which could help you minimize some health expenses.
Revisit your financial plan often
Getting back on track with your finances is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of deal. It requires dedication and frequent revision to make sure your plan is working. Regular check-ins will keep you accountable, help you weed out the things that might not be working, and most importantly, show you how far you’ve come. Decide on a schedule (every quarter, twice a year) and use that time to do a financial plan audit with some of these tips. To help you plan and track your goals, consider using an online tool like InvisorGPS, which maps out your goal progress and identifies any shortfalls in your plan.
Protect yourself with the right insurance
Insurance is often overlooked in financial plans, but it’s essential in making sure you and your finances are protected. While it used to be easier to put off buying insurance, there are no excuses now: it’s easier than ever with online quote processes. Making sure your income will be replaced if you lose your job can save you and your family from a tight financial situation later on.
The process of regaining control of your financial situation can be frustrating. But if you put clear plans in place, make sure you’re protected, and check-in to your progress regularly, you’ll create effective financial habits that will get you back on track. Good luck and remember there is always hope for improving your situation!