Would you rather stash away that extra $20 or spring for a brunch out with your friends? To put it another way, would you prefer to ensure you’ll have a comfortable retirement or sip on that subpar Bloody Mary and eggs (again) from the same old diner you always visit?
Making smart financial decisions starts today, and every little bit you save can be re-directed toward a better life in the future. No matter how big or small your budget, there’s a way to squeeze better financially planning into any lifestyle.
Will it take sacrifices? Of course, but that doesn’t mean you have to live like a hermit. It’s all about striking a balance when it comes to smart financial planning, and nearly everyone can do better.
Here are four simple ways to embrace better financial planning so you can enjoy life today and in the future.
1. Become the ultimate host
It’s expensive to go out no matter how you slice it, so why not bring the party to you? Instead of a raucous Friday night out with $15 cocktails, invite your nearest and dearest over for a potluck BYOB type of event.
You’ll get to hone your hosting skills and might even score some delectable homemade leftovers. Everyone saves on cover charges and overpriced drinks, and you don’t even have to worry about cab fare.
2. Go automated
Whenever possible, make sure you direct a percentage of your earnings toward a high-yield account that isn’t easy to access. This means no debit card, no branch across the street, and no linking it to your PayPal account. You’ll never miss it.
3. Embrace your inner frugalista
Thrifting, scoring deals, and checking out those clearance racks can be an exciting activity. Make finding a serious bargain your new goal, but only when you’re shopping for things you really need and would buy anyway. Otherwise, you’re more apt to do harm than good.
4. Have a budget
Even if you work “just” part-time or freelance, or you don’t think you earn enough for a budget to make a difference, it does. Knowing exactly how much money is coming in and how much is going out (and to where) means you can trim fat and manage your finances more efficiently.
Financial health isn’t something you’re born with, and unfortunately it’s not regularly taught. However, it’s never too late to change your approach. Your future self will thank you, and it’s much easier than you think.