20 Steps to Financial Health: Achieving Lifelong Financial Fitness
7. Track your spending
While most individuals find tracking how and where their money is being spent tedious, it’s critically important to achieving financial health.
You should track your spending for a minimum of 30 days before developing a budget. If you don’t it can be difficult to really determine what your monthly expenses are. We recommend that you track your spending until you feel completely comfortable with knowing where you money is being spent.
There are many ways to track your spending. You can use a notebook and jot down every time you spend money. Another option is to keep all receipts, and then later sort and track them in an excel file or in a daily calendar. Either way, the first thing you need to determine is where your hard earned money is going.
8. Create a budget
A budget is the most powerful tool you have for managing your money and achieving financial health. A well-constructed budget is something that everyone could and should have.
A budget shows you the flow of money in (income) and out (expenses) of your household. A budget will also enable you to see how you are managing your money over a specific period of time. Perhaps most importantly, it details how much money you have, how much money you need to live and how you spend your money. You should plan on developing a budget and revise, revise and revise as your financial life changes. ACCC provides several resources to help you create and manage your budget here:
Financial Education - Budgeting.
9. Reduce spending
Reducing your daily, weekly and monthly spending is crucial in achieving financial health and an instrumental step to successful budgeting. You would be amazed at how much you can reduce your spending just by tracking what you are spending your money on.
Once you have determined what you are spending your money on, decide on where you can cut back to help support your new financial plans. There is an abundance of ways to reduce spending and here are just a few:
• Bring lunch to work
• Plan your grocery shopping and meals around sales
• Look for coupons that make sense to your family. Don’t buy something you don’t use or eat
• Cut back on cable and cell phone plans
• Look for free weekend entertainment
• Comparison shop for gas
• Take advantage of company benefits such as morning coffee (if available) instead of store-bought coffee
• Consider refinancing your mortgage and life insurance
• Keep up with scheduled auto maintenance to prevent costly issues later
• Consider public transportation or carpooling
• Shop for clothes out of season to find the best deals
Find more money-saving tips in ACCC’s How to Build Savings by Cutting Back. Find it here: