Personal finance is one of the most talked about areas people want to improve in their lives. Go to the personal finance section of any bookstore, and you'll find tons of books to choose from. The choices are almost overwhelming.
I've worked hard over the last year to improve my personal finances, and I'm happy to share three quick things you can do today to improve your personal finances.
1. Track Your Income and Expenses
Most people roll their eyes when I tell them they need to track their income and expenses, but it's the only way to know what's going on with your personal finances. When I first started doing this, it shocked me to see how much I was spending every month on eating out. It was something I could easily reduce to save money.
The other benefit of tracking your income and expenses is that if you’re saving for something you'll know right away where you can cut back to afford whatever it is you're saving for. This also works for paying down your debt. If you want to put an extra $50 towards your debt every month, you need to track your income and expenses to understand where that extra $50 will come from.
Tracking your income and expenses is something you should do consistently. I find it easiest to do it daily or weekly. When I do it monthly, it feels overwhelming. When you track your income and expenses daily, there's not that much to record.
The key is remembering to do it. I feel this is best done if you can link tracking your income and expenses to an existing habit. For example, I record mine when I get home from dropping my kids off at school. I make myself a nice cup of tea then log into my bank and credit card accounts to see what has happened since I last updated my records.
It’s also best to use a tracking method you enjoy. For some people this might be a spreadsheet, for others it might be a pen and paper. If you don't like the method you're using, it's less likely that you will actually track your income and expenses.
This may seem like a bit of an odd tip, but once I started journaling about my finances, I started feeling a lot better about my financial situation. Journaling helped me let go of all the negative emotions I was holding around debt.
I believe what you think about; you attract. By hanging on to those negative feelings around my debt, I was only attracting more debt. Once I started writing about my debt and forgiving myself for past financial mistakes, I started seeing improvements in my financial situation.
Even just 10 minutes a day can help you get all the negative thoughts out of your head and onto paper so you can forget about them. Try these five fast financial journaling exercises.
3. Use Affirmations
I like to use affirmations together with journaling because affirmations reinforce the positive. These are statements you can repeat to yourself to help you feel better about money. You can also write them on sticky notes or in your journal, as long as you will see them often and remember that you're headed in the right direction.
These are some of my favourite affirmations about money:
- Money flows freely to me every day.
- My bank balance is constantly growing.
- Prosperity is all around me.
- Money comes to me in expected and unexpected ways.
- I am grateful for all the money on its way to me now.
I believe we are all meant to be financially free and with a bit of work we can get there. Try these three things today. You’ll feel better about your financial situation being more aware about your accounts, releasing negative money vibes, and attracting more prosperity to your life. Here’s to your prosperity!
Michelle Cornish is the author of Prosperity Planner: Manage Your Personal Finances and Get Out of Debt, an undated planner where she shares more about her personal financial journey and her TREE Method for keeping her personal finances in check.