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5 Sure-fire ways to improve your Finances now

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 I’ve made so many financial mistakes over the years that I’ve trapped myself into this financial rut.

It’s like every day I was gasping for air, wanting to break free from debt and all other financial stress yet no matter what I do, the hole I was in was just too deep – making it too impossible for me to get out.

And since you’re here, chances are you might be feeling this way too.

I know how stressful it is to live paycheck to paycheck, buried in debt, you just want so badly to get ahead and just fix everything yet you have no idea where to start.

You have no idea how to improve your finances or if there’s even still hope left to turn your financial situation around.

Create a long-term goal

Back when I was working a stressful 8-5 job, though I was earning good money, I still had zero savings and no emergency fund.

I was only too focused on the things that I can do with my money NOW — it was always instant gratification.

I never even bothered to think twice about how my actions might affect me, financially, in the future.

And you know why it was so easy for me to get caught up in that cycle? It was because I didn’t have any long-term goals.

Knowing and having a long-term goal is an important step in improving your finances. 

Knowing where you want to be, where you want to end up instructs you on the things that you need to do now to get there.

Doing this will help you make better money decisions. It will also make it easier for you to be more mindful of how you choose to spend your money.

So, take the time to sit down and write very specific long-term goals — this will make a huge difference!

Prioritize your  Debt

Now, this step can be messy, stressful and a bit overwhelming. (That’s what it was for me)

After being stuck in a financial rut due to me having to quit my job, I knew that I had to face the music and finally figure out the grand total of my debt.

I’m not going to lie, that step was not easy — it was scary. But I knew that if I wanted to change my current financial situation and get rid of my debt, this step was necessary.

So, sit down, have a glass of wine if you must and list all the debt that you have and their interest rates. After having all those figured out, it’s now time to start creating your debt repayment plan.

I personally go for the debt snowball method (Paying the smallest debts off first).

Others may prefer going for the debt avalanche method (Paying the highest interest rate debt first)

It’s important to choose what works for you and what motivates you more!

And I tell you, the sooner that you do this, the better it will make you feel.

Start Building your Emergency Fund

This was one of my biggest mistakes. I never saw emergency funds as a necessity. I know, silly right?

I didn’t prioritize it, I didn’t even have any intention of starting one.

But after having to face an emergency of my own (I had to quit my job due to mental health reasons) that’s when I knew I made a huge mistake in taking it for granted.

Though we are not hoping for an emergency, we’ll never know when it’s going to hit us.

Like, when your car breaks down or an unexpected bill comes up, or even job loss.

Trust me, you wouldn’t want to get caught up in the stress of worrying about how you’ll make the ends meet or how you’re going to pay for all those unexpected expenses.

Not only does building an emergency fund prevents all that from happening, but it also prevents you from burying yourself into debt once an emergency comes up.

So, start now. You don’t have to start big.

Aim low and start for your first $1000 and just keep increasing it as you go!

Create an Effective Budget (& STICK TO IT!)

I know for most people creating a budget sounds cliché and time-consuming.

But if you are not happy with where you are now financially and you want to change that, creating a budget can be very helpful.

Whether you want to save money or pay off debt — setting up an effective budget will help you get there. 

You may feel like you don’t have enough money to even create a budget but regardless of how much money you’re making, creating a budget is possible and will benefit whatever your current financial situation is.

Doing this will also save you from overspending and from burying yourself into debt.

So, take the time to sit down and budget your money down to zero – this will make a huge difference to your finances!!

Beware of Expensive Habits

I’m not going to lie, I had a lot of these. I’ve made so many poor money choices that had buried me in a deep financial hole.

Often, these expensive bad money habits are already ingrained in us that we never even realize that we are already sabotaging our finances unconsciously.

So, check your spending habits and recognize what habits are keeping you from achieving your financial goals or habits that are keeping you broke and living paycheck to paycheck.

Once you have already identified those, do the best that you can every day to shift those bad habits into habits that can help change your financial situation for the better.

Though it may not be easy to change it but keep focusing on your goal and trust that all the sacrifices that you do now will reward you tenfold in the future.

I know sometimes we may feel that there’s no hope for us to turn our financial situation around and achieve financial freedom. Especially, when all you have in front of you are debt and bills.

But remember this: Though it may not be easy, it is still possible for you to change your situation. It’s possible for you to live financially free.

You just have to be willing to do everything to make it happen! So, take it day by day and don’t give up — remember consistency is crucial.

What did you do to improve your finances? Let me know in the comment section below or send me an email, I would love to hear from you.

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MONEY

6 Major Money Mistake To Avoid This Holiday Season

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I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life even more so on how I chose to handle my finances.

Back then, I would easily spend my money on unnecessary things, without any hesitation, and then justifying my spending habits with the words “I deserve it.” 

And of course, there were consequences — a lot of them.

My reckless spending habits buried me in a deep financial hole which eventually trapped me into the spiral of debt (I’ve definitely learned my lesson the hard way)

Now, with the Holidays creeping in, I certainly don’t want to make the same mistakes again this year. Mistakes that could eventually bury me in a much deeper hole than I’m already in.

Because let’s face it, regardless of how many times we try to just ignore it, the Holiday Season is definitely the time of the year when our credit card bills are at the highest. 

So, if you’re also alarmed by how much money you’ve spent during last year’s Holiday Season and if you’re aiming for a debt-free holiday this year, like me, then it’s definitely time for us to rethink the way we are managing our finances and change our spending habits.

And to help you get started, here are 6 Financial Mistakes that you should avoid this Holiday Season… - 6 Major Money Mistake To Avoid This Holiday Season

Refusing to have a budget

If you’re planning to place a giant hole in your finances then not having a budget set for the holidays is probably the best way to go — I’ve learned this the hard way.

I’ve made a bold and stupid move of refusing to have a budget during last year’s holiday season and you know what that decision brought me?

Debt and so much stress.

I tell you, failing to set up a budget for the holidays can easily ruin your finances and waste your hard-earned money.

So, before you start planning the perfect Christmas, ask yourself first these questions: How much can you afford? How much are you willing to pay?

Set a specific amount and plan your Holiday around that amount.

Not having a list or a plan

Holiday season or not, when you shop without any list or even a plan you are definitely bound to spend more than the amount that you intended to pay. 

By planning ahead and creating a list of everything that you need for the holidays you are not only making sure that everything is accounted for, it also keeps you aware of how much money you are spending in total and it makes it easier for you to track where your money goes — making it less likely for you to overspend.

So, before you hit the mall, take the time to sit down, plan and make a list of everything that you need to buy for the holidays.

And to help you organize all your holiday planning, check out this Holiday Planner! 

Relying on Credit Cards to pay for everything

This was definitely one of my biggest mistakes. I was so caught up into thinking that since my cards still have credit left on them then I might as well just spend it on the things I need for the holidays and I’ll just save enough money to pay it when January comes.

While that is possible but I tell you, climbing out of a financial debt is not always that easy. Eventually, the interest racks up and you find yourself buried in even more debt.

Just because you have credit left on your card doesn’t mean that you should just use it all up — remember, you still eventually have to pay for that.

Eating out more often

Let’s face it, with all the parties and family get-togethers lined up during the holiday season we often find ourselves, eating out way more than the usual.

Eating out is not at all bad but if money is tight and if you’re constantly doing this to a point where you are ruining your budget then that is when the problem starts.

Remember, holiday gift giving and shopping can easily get really expensive, if you add your ridiculous bar and restaurant bills to the tab then you might just be burying yourself in debt when January comes.

So, before you say yes to every social situation, check your bank account first and remind yourself that it’s okay to say no. 

Though sometimes, you may find it difficult but trust me, your finances will thank you for doing it.

Procrastinating

Whether it’s shopping for the holidays, planning a vacation or even doing just day to day task, we sometimes just love to procrastinate and wait until the last minute to finish everything — I did.

I’ve always had a bad habit of waiting for the perfect last-minute deal. But the reality is, we may not always get the perfect last-minute deal. 

Yes, there are cases when we do but the chances are very slim and if you constantly lean on that slight chance, you might just end up spending more money than you intended.

Instead, do your research, keep an eye out for good deals and compare prices — give yourself enough time to do all those things and it will be a lot easier for you to stick to your budget and avoid wasting money. 

Shopping to impress

I am a people pleaser — this is still something that I’m working on changing.

Whether it’s doing a simple task, saying yes to a commitment that I didn’t want to do, or even shopping for a Christmas gift — I always aim for other’s approval and validation.

During the Holiday season, we often feel this extra amount of pressure to get the perfect extravagant gift to impress our friends, our boss and of course, our family.

We often always feel so tempted to buy something that is way over our budget just so there’s no room for disappointment.

I was also very guilty of this but I’ve realized that most people will actually prefer a simple yet well-thought-out gift, something that really reflects who they are over something that you bought just because it’s expensive.

Staying on top of our finances is not always easy, especially during the holiday season. But as cliché as this may sound, we must keep reminding ourselves that there is so much more to the holiday season than spending a ridiculous amount of money.

The perfect holiday season for me is making every day count by spending it with the people that you love and making wonderful memories together.

Your turn…

What are the financial mistakes that you want to avoid this holiday season? Let me know in the comment section below or send me an email, I would love to hear from you!

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5 Easy Ways to Stop Being Broke Right Now

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Struggling to make the ends meet every month is just so stressful and not to mention, mentally and emotionally draining.

After having to quit my office job, I had to face the tough consequences of all those bad money decisions that I’ve made back when I was still working.

Since I was in between jobs, I was stuck in this negative cycle of barely making the ends meet every month and struggling to provide even for the basic necessities.

It was like having to constantly carry this huge weight on my shoulders. It was a gut-wrenching pain that never seems to go away.

Nobody wants to be stuck in this cycle but sometimes the problem is when we are in this situation, it may seem too impossible to find a way out, especially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and you’re always left with nothing every month.

I know how debilitating and exhausting this feels. I cried myself to bed almost every night worrying.

I wanted so badly for my situation to change but all of it just became too overwhelming for me that most days I just felt like giving up — thinking that no matter what I do, I could never turn my situation around.

But I was wrong. So, if you’re also feeling this way, I’m here to tell you this: It is possible for you to change your financial situation.

It is possible for you to get out of debt and stop living paycheck to paycheck and it’s definitely possible for you to stop being broke.

You just have to recognize the fact that regardless of how difficult your situation is right now, you have to power to change it.

Here are 5 steps I took to finally stop being broke and break free from the cycle…

- 5 Easy Ways to Stop Being Broke Right Now

These are just some of the steps that helped alleviate my financial situation — I’m hoping it will do the same for you!

Determine your Financial Goal and Create a Financial Plan

This was the very first step that I took.

I was working for years, yet I didn’t have any savings, no emergency fund.

I was earning a decent amount of money yet I was still living paycheck to paycheck.

And the whole reason I was stuck living that lifestyle was that I didn’t have any financial goals.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my money.

I was just so busy enjoying the now and just mindlessly spending my money on unnecessary things because I didn’t have any plans for the future.

So, Take the time to sit down and figure out what matters most to you, think about your short-term and long-term goals.

Be as specific as possible and once you have determined your financial goals, prioritize them and remember to set a timeframe for each of them.

Learn to live below your means…

Nowadays, with credit cards available to us, it’s always so easy to spend more than what we can afford — I was definitely guilty of this.

I made bad money decisions and I continued to use my credit cards to make all these unnecessary purchases — purchases that I couldn’t even afford.

Living this kind of lifestyle was exhausting and not to mention the amount of stress that it brought me every time those credit card bills come — it was just gut-wrenching.

I knew that if I wanted to get out of debt and improve my financial situation, the best way to do this was for me to learn how to start living below my means.

So, whether you want to get out of debt, increase your savings or just basically lessen your financial stress, living below your means will help you get there.

Remind yourself that choosing to live this lifestyle doesn’t mean that you’re cheap.

You don’t have to resort to extreme measures just to stretch every dollar, you just have to make wise money decisions and choose to invest your money on things that really matter.

Stop choosing convenience over savings… 

Most people are guilty of this. Whether it’s constantly eating out, choosing to take that Uber ride or even having our groceries delivered, it’s always so easy to go for convenience over savings.

But after taking a hard look at my finances, I realized just how this behavior has cost me.

I know it’s often so easy to ignore these charges, especially since the upfront charge is low and not to mention that it’s convenient but what we don’t realize is that these small charges can easily pile up and cost us more than what we expected.

It’s not bad to choose convenience once in a while but if money is tight and your goal is to save, then it’s definitely time to put a stop to this behavior.

Organize your finances…

I never really knew how important this was until last year.

Last year was by far my greatest financial struggle. I was buried in so much debt, struggling to make the ends meet and my finances were pretty much all over the place.

This made me realized how my spending habits and being disorganized with my finances has left me in financial ruin.

So, don’t make the same mistake as I did.

I tell you, whatever your financial goal may be, organizing your finances is an essential step in helping you achieve that.

Doing this will give you the chance to see opportunities to improve your finances and what actions you need to take to achieve your financial goals.

Stop choosing instant gratification…

I used to live for instant gratification. It was always so easy for me to blow my paycheck on unnecessary things without even thinking twice.

And the worst part is, I would always justify that behavior with the words: I deserve this.

I chose to sacrifice my future financial needs for today’s happiness.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not entirely a bad thing but if you keep on doing this to a point where you’re already burying yourself in so much debt, then that is when the problem starts.

Know what your end goal is and focus on that.

Remind yourself that the little sacrifices that you’re willing to do now will reward you tenfold in the future.

Being broke is not easy. It can cause us a lot of stress and so many sleepless nights but the good news is, this is definitely not permanent.

You have the ability to turn this around and to improve your financial situation. You just have to take action, be consistent and keep going.

You got this!

Your Turn…

What were the steps that you took to improve your finances and turn your financial situation around? Let me know in the comment section below, I’ de love to hear from you!

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MONEY

5 Reasons why you’re still broke and what you can do about it

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Back when I was still working an office job, though I was earning good money, I was still constantly scrambling to make the ends meet every month.

I was always running out of cash even before my next paycheck comes — it was just a dreadful and never-ending negative cycle.

I was broke and buried in debt.

And the worst part was, though I knew that my current financial situation was pretty much a mess, I never even bothered to reassess my spending habits or how I’m managing my money.

I would just simply blame it on the fact that I was not earning enough — but I was.

I never took the blame (silly, right?) but after having to quit my job and taking a hard look at where I was standing financially — it finally hit me.

I was broke not because I was not earning enough. I continued to live paycheck to paycheck and buried in debt all because of the things that I kept doing that were only contributing to all my financial distress.

And yes, while there are other uncontrollable factors that are probably contributing to all our financial struggles, sometimes, it all boils down to all our financial mistakes — the way we choose to spend our money.

And that is exactly what happened to me.

If this situation sounds familiar to you, then maybe it’s time to sit down and ask yourself if you’re still broke because of these reasons…

Here are 5 Reasons why you’re always broke and what you should do to boost your financial situation… 

You Lack Goals

I was guilty of this.

You see before I left my job, I didn’t have any savings nor did I have any emergency funds.

I knew I needed those things but it was just too difficult for me to start and that wasn’t because I was not earning enough, it was because I lacked the motivation to do it.

And you know why? Because I never really had any long-term financial goals. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my money.

I mean, I wished I had a lot of money. I wished many times for my financial situation to improve but a wish is not a goal.

A goal requires you to take action.

Creating specific long-term goals will help you determine the actions that you need to start doing now to help you get there.

Doing this will not only help you make better money decisions, but it will also make it easier for you to be more mindful on how you choose to spend your money.

So, start by doing this today and remember to be as specific and realistic as possible when setting your long-term financial goals.

You spend to make yourself happy

This was me. I used to work in a very toxic and stressful 8-5 job and I spent every hour of it unhappy, anxious and stressed.

Bottom line is, I was not okay. I was miserable yet instead of facing it, I chose to bottle it up and look for other ways to cheer myself up.

And for me, that was spending. I spend in an attempt to fill the emptiness that I was feeling.

I spend to cheer myself up — thinking that this will somehow hide the fact of how unhappy I was.

Yes, it does make me feel better but it only lasts for a while and after that, I’m back to feeling miserable.

So, if you are also doing this, I’m here to tell you that no amount of money will ever be enough to fill in an emotional void.

Because the truth is, this can never be filled with money and expensive things.

Remind yourself that true happiness is not attached to material things or money, it is found within.

You can buy everything that you want and search your whole life for it, but if you are not happy with yourself, those things won’t still be enough.

Instead of spending your time buying things, focus on healing and growing as a person.

You prioritize today’s happiness instead of your future needs

This is where the “I deserve it” thinking comes in.

We can’t deny the fact that most of the time when we are faced with a dilemma of buying something that we WANT (though we don’t really need), we always end up getting it because of the thought that we deserve it.

We work hard for our money, of course, we deserve good things — while this is definitely true, we have to be smart about choosing the things that we really deserve. 

Because truth be told, all the things that I talked myself into buying because “I deserved it” kept me from achieving the things that I really deserved.

It’s not bad to treat yourself every now and then but if you are constantly doing this to a point where it’s already keeping you broke and spending money that you don’t have, then it’s definitely time to rethink and change this habit.

You don’t pay yourself first

Paying yourself first is an important step in improving your finances. Learning and developing this habit is crucial to wealth building.

We often think of saving as an afterthought and not a priority — and this is where we make a mistake.

I made this mistake. I didn’t make the conscious effort to save money. I kept putting it off thinking that I still have plenty of time to do it.

Then one day, an emergency came up (a big one) and that left me scrambling at the last minute.

Don’t make the same mistake as I did. Save yourself from the stress and develop a constant habit of paying yourself first.

As soon as you get paid and before you do anything else, set aside a portion of your income to save.

You don’t have to start big. Baby steps.

You don’t organize your finances

Whether you want to start saving money, pay off your debts or whatever your financial goals are, getting your finances organized will help you get there.

Back then, my finances were pretty much all over the place — it was a mess. But after taking a hard look at where I was standing financially, I then knew how my bad money habits and being disorganized has greatly contributed to my financial woes.

I tell you, whatever your financial situation is, whether you’re buried in debt, living paycheck to paycheck getting your finances organized is a must.

I find that one of the benefits of doing this is having the chance to see opportunities to improve your finances, knowing what areas I needed to work on for me to achieve my financial goals faster and what I needed to do to get there.

I started doing this by tracking my spending first and learning how to create and stick to an effective budget.

Then, I started to look for resources that helped me learn more about personal finance and better money management — this helped me a whole lot!

These are just some of the reasons that kept me broke and living paycheck to paycheck, there are still a lot of things out there that are greatly contributing to our financial struggles.

So, take the time to sit down, and identify those factors that are keeping you broke and learn what you need to do to alleviate your situation.

I know it can be difficult but I’m here to tell you that it is possible. It is possible for you to improve your finances and shift your situation.

You just have to be willing to take action and make that happen!

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