As a responsible adult, maintaining control over your personal finances is imperative. If you can do this, you’ll probably feel like you can conquer your life’s other challenges as well.
It helps to set and try to adhere to monthly financial goals. Those goals will be different for you than they are for someone else. Generally, though, everyone needs to make enough money to pay for their obligations, and save some for the future.
Here are four tips for sticking to monthly financial goals that anyone can follow.
1. Know Your Obligations
The first and possibly the most critical tip for sticking to your monthly financial goals is to know what your monetary obligations are. Those might include things like student loans you’re working to pay off, car payments, your mortgage or rent, utility bills, and so forth.
There may be long-standing financial obligations as well as one-time payments of which you need to keep track.
Once you understand your financial obligations, you might look for tools to help you manage them. If you have a loan, for instance, you might look into a loan payoff calculator. It will inform you precisely how long it should take to pay off the loan if you’re putting a set amount toward the balance each month.
2. Pay the Most Crucial Bills First
Your monthly financial goals may vary depending on where you are in your life. For example, older adults are less apt to have student loans, but they are more likely to want to put money away toward their eventual retirement.
Wherever you are in your life, though, it makes sense to try and pay the most pressing financial obligations first each month. Those would be things like your rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, and groceries.
You can create a list or spreadsheet and use that as a reference point to keep track of what recurring bills you need to cover each month. Once you pay for everything crucial, you can turn to more discretionary financial considerations, like entertainment and dining out.
3. Restrict Eating Out and Ordering In
If you have set a monthly budget for yourself based on the bills and other expenditures you know you’ll have, you should watch out for “budget busters.” These are expenses on which you might feel the urge to splurge or spend spontaneously. Doing that occasionally might be okay, but if you do it every month, you’ll have a harder time meeting the monetary goals you’ve set for yourself.
Getting food delivered to your house or going out to eat at restaurants can be a sizable expense if you let it. Ordering from services like GrubHub and DoorDash comes with fees, and if you eat in a restaurant, you have to think about the tip and service charge. Plus, if you indulge in some alcohol, that can run up your bill as well.
You can avoid ruining a monthly budgetary goal by only eating out or ordering food seldom. Instead, stock up on essentials at the grocery store and enjoy the art of home cooking.
4. Stick to a Low Credit Card Limit
It’s easy to get yourself in financial trouble with credit cards. Credit card companies make this worse by increasing your limit as time passes. The problem with larger card limits is that they might make you feel like you have more monetary resources to spend than you actually do. If you keep your limit down on each of your cards, that’s one less method you have to spend money. It’s a relatively simple way to give you the best chance of sticking to your monthly financial goals.
Keep Your Goals Top of Mind
Setting financial goals for yourself can keep you focused and engaged as you strive to make your life better. Having a low credit card limit and reducing how much you eat out or order food are a few simple ways to make sticking to those goals easier. Understanding financial obligations and paying your most vital bills first are some other actions that will set you on the right track.