Between you and financial freedom lies the challenge of wise money management. You know it’s essential to learn how to manage money better. But that’s pretty much all you know.
And as you look around you, you can see stunning examples of those who do it well. The same can not be said of you. When you consider your financial situation, your heart drops. Deep down, you know you can do better.
And you’re feeling worried. You’re not getting any younger. The last thing you want is to be a burden on someone in your old age.
Worse still, you dread carrying on like this. You work all day and never get ahead. After you pay all your bills, there is nothing left for enjoyment or travel.
There is a light at the end of this dark tunnel.
With a few simple tips and doable tweaks, you can easily course correct. You can become adept at money management, no matter what your current financial situation.
I have personally been in debt to the tune of $100,000, excluding any property debt. Yet, I’ve turned my financial life around.
And you can do the same!
Below we’ll explore the meaning of money management. Then we’ll look at tips/steps that you can start implementing today.
The best time to learn about money management was ten years ago. The second best time? Right now.
So forget the past, be ready to learn, and let’s get you money wise!
What is meant by Money Management?
Money management is the term used to describe all the tasks you need to perform to take wise care of your finances. We will look at each of these tasks in more detail below.
Why is Managing Money Important?
The way you manage your money determines the degree of power and freedom you’ll attain in life.
There are countless examples of people who earned good money but ended up bankrupt. Similarly, there are examples of people who made very little, yet ended up very wealthy.
How does the saying go?
It’s not how much you earn that’s important. It’s how much you keep!
Wise money management will see you spend less than you earn, save as much as you can, and build up assets that grow well. And all that leads to immense financial freedom and power.
How to Manage Your Money Better: What Are Some Money Management Skills?
Some of the essential skills you’ll need to master to improve your money management are:
- Expense tracking and reduction,
- Debt eradication and avoidance,
- Saving, and
As already mentioned, we look at these in detail in the money management tips section below.
13 Tips To Manage Your Money Better
Below you’ll find a short crash course on the most vital money management topics. I focus on practical things that you can start applying today.
I’ve ordered the tips in a logical progression. You can even think of them as chronological steps that lead you out of the financial wilderness to an oasis of financial peace.
Some of the suggestions might already be in place in your life. If so, great! Focus on those that still need work.
If you still need to implement the bulk of these steps, you can start at number one and patiently work your way through.
Don’t be in a hurry. 70% of people never do these things, so even if it takes you years to implement them, you’re still way ahead of the pack.
1. Create a Budget
Some people are so terrified of their finances that they’re too scared to look.
They know deep down that they’re spending too much, and they’re going deeper into debt every month. Yet, somehow, they ignore their finances. They don’t even open their bank statements or their credit card bills.
I did this for many years.
And I can tell you now if you do this you need to stop. If you don’t, you’ll soon find yourself in a hole too deep to get out.
The best way to avoid this comfortable, yet stupid ignorance is to create a budget.
Sit down, open a spreadsheet, and record your income at the top of the page.
Now, open your bank statements and credit card bills, and list everything you spent over the last calendar month. Then add up your expenses.
How does it look?
Did you spend more than you earned? Or do you perhaps have some money left that you can save or invest?
Either way, create a new list of expenses. What are you anticipating to spend in the coming month?
Once you complete your anticipated list of expenses, ensure that the total adds up to less than what you earn.
Well done! You have now created a personal budget.
2. Reduce Expenses
But wait. We won’t stop there.
You now need to look at your expenses with a more relentless focus and see where you can be ruthless in reducing them.
Cutting down your expenses is where true future freedom is born. Having the discipline to spend less than you earn should be your number one priority.
So go through your list of budgeted expenses with a fine comb.
For each one ask:
- Do I really need this?
- Can I reduce this in any way?
- Is there any way I can get by without this product, service, or subscription?
Think creatively of solutions to bring some of your costs down. Perhaps shopping at a different grocery store can bring you some financial respite? Or maybe you can cancel a subscription you don’t use regularly.
Consider ways to avoid fees on things like atm withdraws, instead look for ways to get cash back on your debit card without fees.
Please take this task very seriously. Every tip/step following this one will benefit from you being thorough and fierce here.
3. Stick to Your Budget
Sticking to your budget is an excellent exercise in self-discipline. And trust me, it’s harder than it sounds.
You now have a simple way to control your financial future if you can stick to your budget.
In any area of your life where you’re trying to make positive changes, you’ll face resistance. It would be best if you were ready for this, anticipated it, and were truly committed to stick it out.
Spending less money every day than you budgeted for is where the rubber meets the road. And it’s the third of the three core, primary tips/steps that can bring you financial freedom.
If you do only these three steps well, you’ll be well on your way to a wealthier future.
4. Track Your Spending
Find some way to track your daily spending.
I have a debit card that I use for all spending. It shows all my expenses on a useful app immediately after my card gets charged. I then look back at some point during the day and enter my expenses in my budget.
Maybe that’s a little too disciplinarian for you. You don’t have to do the same. The important thing is to find some way of tracking that works for you.
You need to be able to reign yourself in immediately when your spending gets out of hand.
Know beforehand what you’re allowed to spend according to your budget. Track what you spend and stick to your limits.
As an example, whenever I get ill-disciplined, I spend too much on books. So I need to steer clear of the Amazon and Audible websites at all times!
Perhaps you have an allowance for coffee for the week. If you purchase two cups at Starbucks today, you might need to cut down for the rest of the week. And recording your daily expenses helps you to stay within your protective limits.
5. Don’t Create Any New Debt
“Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world. He who understands it earns it; he who doesn’t pays it.” — Albert Einstein
One of the core principles of wise money management is to allow your money to work for you. You need to build up assets.
The opposite of this is to build up liabilities that cost you money. So, please don’t incur any new debt.
If you summarized all the popular personal finance books in one sentence, it would read like this: “Don’t spend too much, eradicate your debt and start investing more of your income.”
So, please start thinking of debt as the enemy of your future power and freedom. And steer well clear of it!
6. Pay Off Existing Debt
When you’re in debt, any dollar you spend is borrowed money. Even buying a slightly more expensive than necessary lunch is an act of going deeper into debt.
Why? Because those extra dollars spent could have been used to get yourself free. And every dollar sent towards unpaid debt is a step in the right direction.
A dire situation calls for radical action. I recommend the following book for anyone who finds themselves in debt: The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living: How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get from Broke to Badass in Record Time by Anna Newell Jones.
The concept of a spending fast is an excellent way for anyone to pay off their existing debt. And it’s simple: don’t spend money on anything except the bare necessities before your debt is 100% settled.
My grandfather used to say that you shouldn’t spend money on things you need, but only on things that are essential for your survival.
This approach might be a little extreme for the abundant era of today. But you’re building the opposite of abundance if you stay in debt. So the philosophy of a spending fast is an excellent way to think about money while you’re in debt.
7. Negotiate for the Best Rates
To make speedy progress towards debt freedom, you’ll be well advised to negotiate lower interest rates.
Approach the issuers of credit card or other outstanding debt, and inquire about your interest rate. If you tell them you’re trying desperately to pay off all your debt and ask for a lower interest rate, chances are that you’ll get a lower rate.
The lower your interest rate, the more of your monthly payments every month cover outstanding capital. And that speeds up the time it takes to pay off your debt nicely.
8. Options For Financial Emergencies
It’s great when everything in life is going well. When your cars are running smoothly when your home is in working order when everyone is healthy and happy and employed.
But all too often, life doesn’t work like that. Small accidents turn into big expenses. Cars and homes break down.
People lose their jobs or have to face losing a job or moving to a different city.
Often the challenges are unwelcome, but sometimes the challenges are something new and different—not bad, just not expected.
In all of those cases, what becomes apparent is that having a reserve can be a huge help for people so that they can focus on the change or the challenge in front of them.
However, all too often, people don’t have a reserve fund and can’t come up with the resources in order to pay for a minor or a major expense.
In that case, what options do they have?
9. Create an Emergency Fund
Once you’ve paid off your debt, your first order of business is not to catch up on all the spending you skipped.
Save up more than three months’ worth of income in an emergency fund. Having such a “rainy day” fund can bring great peace of mind and a real sense of financial power.
It will give you immense confidence in all your money, thoughts, and activities.
Your emergency fund should be a form of savings that’s not hard to access, and it should be risk-free.
The idea is not to chase significant returns with this money, but to have something available for those unexpected situations that life sometimes serves up.
So, don’t invest your emergency fund in equity. Rather have it in an interest-bearing, immediate-access savings account.
10. Use Credit Cards Responsibly
Living free of the burden of debt doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have credit cards. Nor does it mean that you shouldn’t use your credit cards.
Some credit card companies have incredible rewards programs that you can use to your benefit.
Cheaper flights, discounts on online purchases, and other great rewards add up to spending less of your hard-earned money.
If you use a credit card for day-to-day expenses and online purchases, you can still earn such rewards. But be careful not to overspend and go back into debt.
Ensure that whatever credit card expenses you incur are paid off fully every month.
11. Improve Your Credit Score
By following the advice in this post, you’re already doing much to improve your credit score.
Some simple ways you can ensure that you keep a good credit score include:
- Not applying for new credit too frequently,
- Paying off your debt,
- Keeping low outstanding balances on all lines of credit,
- Keeping unused credit cards open, and
- Paying all your bills on time.
We have already covered numbers 1 to 4 in the above tips. So, ensure that you pay all your bills on time, and you’ll be golden in terms of credit score!
12. Save and Invest
If you’ve applied the ten preceding steps diligently, you’ll now have a nice little cushion between what you’re earning and what you’re spending.
But don’t get ahead of yourself. Saving and investment is the most critical part. Now you need to build some monetary assets!
A significant part of the surplus of inflow over outflow in your finances should now be directed toward smart investments.
In his enlightening book Money: Master the Game, Tony Robbins shares the wisdom of some of the wisest wealth builders on our planet today. It all boils down to simple investment advice: Invest in low-cost, index-tracking passive funds.
So, speak to your financial advisor, or get your hands on the book. You need to find and invest in an index fund that is a good fit for you.
This investment strategy is the best way to avoid the eradication of excessive investment fees on your portfolio. It also ensures that you earn a return that is consistently in alignment with the overall market.
Another useful resource you can study for this type of saving and investment strategy is Mr. Money Mustache.
13. Plan for Big Purchases
At this stage, having implemented the previous tips/steps, you’re a money management ninja! Well done.
Now, you can start planning big purchases. Maybe your family needs a bigger home or a new vehicle. Or perhaps it’s time for one of your kids to go to college.
The wise way to make these purchases is to plan for them over the preceding months or years and to save up sufficient money to pay in cash.
Paying in cash will ensure that you really want or need what you’re purchasing. Parting with a large amount of saved up money is a difficult thing to do.
It also ensures that you’re acting inside your wise money management strategy — you earn compound interest instead of paying it.
If you get to the stage of purchasing your family something life-enhancing with saved up money, it’s time to congratulate yourself. You’re part of a genuinely elite minority who acts with complete money wisdom!
Keep it up! You’re well poised to leave a great financial legacy to your dependants. You also serve as an impressive example to them of how to manage money.
It’s Never Too Late To Learn How To Manage Money Better
Money management can be a confusing topic. And it’s easy to feel daunted or inferior.
It’s easy to feel trapped and overwhelmed, not sure where to start.
Thankfully for you, you now have a roadmap. You have some smart tips which form the basis of a solid money management plan.
All you now have to do is to decide to stick with this, and then to start.
Imagine for a second that the future you, the person you’ll be in 20 years, can chat with the current you. What would you say to your younger self?
I’m sure that whatever you say, it will include some encouragement to stick to the financial wisdom in this post.
Society considers those who manage their
It’s one of the unspoken truths of our culture. If you want to be regarded as great, show the world that you can manage your money with wisdom and restraint.
Please don’t be the guy who 20 years down the line is filled with regret. Commit to getting there, looking back, and feeling proud of how well you managed your money.
Every second of your life, you have an opportunity to turn things around. All you need is a firm decision and a new course of action.
If you decide to implement wise money management going forward, you will:
- Build true financial power,
- Have assets that produce income for the rest of your life,
- Be ready for anything life throws at you, and
- Be a real pillar of support for your dependents.
Society will consider you as someone who succeeded in life. You’ll be regarded as great because everyone knows how much discipline it takes to manage your money with wisdom.
Right now, while you’re feeling motivated, make your decision. And then use the course of action laid out for you above.
Start managing your money with wisdom today!