Do you find yourself short on cash by the end of every month? Are you trying and failing to meet savings goals? It may be time to reassess your personal cash flow.
Cash flow simply refers to your income after taking away your expenses. Ideally, you should have money left over after taking expenses out in order to save rather than accumulate debt.
Taking a good look at where your hard-earned money goes each month can help you redirect it in more advantageous ways, so that you are better able to maximize your paycheck. Here are a few first steps to take.
1. Look at your existing contracts.
One of the first orders of business should be analysing your existing financial obligations carefully. Pull out those credit card agreements, utility bills, and loan papers to read the fine print. Many of us are paying for additional services we don’t need or fees we don’t understand.
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If there’s anything you don’t understand on your existing contracts, set aside a day to call customer service lines to ask for assistance. It’s not uncommon to be paying more than you need to for services that could easily be cancelled. At the same time, if you’re paying for media contracts, gym memberships, or other services you don’t really use, cancel these to immediately free up cash each month.
2. Consolidate your bills.
As you go over your contracts, another way to save money from month to month is to consolidate bills. For example, if you are paying for insurance policies with four different companies, you could save money by consolidating these into a contract with a single provider. Utility and media companies also offer premium rates for those who consolidate services.
3. Track your purchases.
Along with your contracts, you must also track your discretionary purchases to see where you can potentially cut corners. That morning latte and muffin each day can really add up without you realizing it.
In order to create and stick to a budget that works for you, you’ll need to track these small expenses and factor them into the budget. This will help you see where you can cut money each month and free up cash.
If you’re not sure where to start, it may be worth taking a look at accounting courses like these at training.com.au to learn some bookkeeping basics. You could also sign up for online money tracking tools like Money Dashboard or Money Vista.
4. Refinance loans.
Is your home or auto loan taking a significant chunk out of your monthly pay? Try refinancing to a new one with more advantageous terms, whether it’s a longer repayment period or lower interest rates.
5. Boost your income.
There are essentially two ways to boost your personal cash flow: by cutting expenses and improving your income. Although the second way is more challenging, there are a number of options ranging from asking for a raise to starting your own business. Look for freelance jobs, sell old clothing on eBay, or invest in the stock market to improve cash flow this way.
By taking a closer look at your personal finances, you can see where your personal cash flow goes each month, and you can work it to your advantage.