With prices on the rise, nearly everyone is looking for ways to make their money go further. In fact, the latest Google Search data shows that individual searches for “monthly budget template” increased a whopping 350 percent in the last five years in the U.S. alone.
While there’s no silver bullet when it comes to managing your money, you can build healthier financial habits that help you move toward your goals. Here are four tips for taking more control of your money:
Know where your money is going
The first step toward any goal is starting with a clear-eyed view of where you are. Your finances are no different, and to build a better relationship with your money, you first need to know where it’s going.
Digital personal finance apps like Google Pay and others make it easy to see exactly how much money you have, what you’ve spent and where you’ve spent it – all from your mobile phone. You can quickly see how much you’ve spent by category (like groceries and gas) or by business (like your favorite neighborhood coffee shop or big-box retailer). The detailed view can help you identify which expenses you can cut back on without feeling it too much.
Try the 50/30/20 rule of thumb
Once you know where your money is going, you’ll need a rough plan for how to allocate it in the future. The 50/30/20 split can be a helpful rule of thumb for managing spending. The general idea is that about 50 percent of your money should go toward essentials (housing, transportation, medical costs, groceries, etc.), 30 percent toward wants (dining out, new clothes, entertainment, etc.) and about 20 percent toward paying off debt or saving for the future.
Take advantage of special deals and offers
Online offers and deals are the modern-day coupons without all the clipping and sorting. With personal finance apps, all of the deals available to you are accessible and searchable through your mobile app. Just tap and activate the offers you like and the next time you make a purchase from that business, the offer will be automatically applied. No more fumbling for the right coupon at checkout.
Aim for progress, not perfection
Just as overly restrictive diets don’t usually work for long, the same is true for restrictive budgets. Both fail because they aren’t sustainable and can lead to counterproductive splurging.
Rather than aiming for perfection, small, consistent steps can make a real difference. The goal of taking control of your finances is not to deprive yourself of living an enjoyable life – it’s to create better habits, one step at a time, to set yourself up for a more secure and prosperous future.