11 Easy Steps To Improving Your Finances | Refresh Financial

11 Easy Steps To Improving Your Finances

Improving your finances

Yesterday, we touched on the importance of organization when it comes to your home, and today we're looking at organizing finances. Changing your financial situation can seem like an uphill path riddled with obstacles. It can feel as though it’s near impossible and that tends to discourage people from taking that first step. “Improving your finances” just sounds daunting; it sounds monumental, like something only really wealthy people do.

The thing is, though, is that it’s not. It’s possible for any able-bodied, employed adult to turn their finances around and the first steps you take toward that are all very easy, very doable, and while some of them may be intimidating, we promise you that doing those things in the face of that intimidation is far less scary than not doing them at all.

If you want some quick, foolproof steps to improving your finances, we have eleven of them for you:

1. Look at your finances

Be aware of what’s going on. Take it all in. Don’t be afraid to look. If you have that fear, you already have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to see. Make sure you’re set up for online banking and credit card statements and just dive right in and take a look. No more avoiding it.

2. Organize your important papers

Grab yourself a cheap filing cabinet or even a banker’s box, and some filing folders and organize all those stacks of paper you have sitting in drawers and closets. This relieves stress and also makes it possible for you to locate specific papers should you ever need them. If you want to apply for a mortgage, get your passport done, or you need to reference old paperwork to prove your identity for your credit report, it’s all right there, in easy, beautiful alphabetical order and it will make all of your future financial errands that much easier to get through.

3. Make a financial to-do list

Work towards ticking items off. Need a new checkbook? Want to switch banks? Do you have to dispute something on your credit report? Put it all on a to-do list and get to work knocking each item off.

4. Switch to a lower interest credit card

Do some research and find out if there are some lower interest credit cards you might be eligible for and make the switch. Transfer your balance to a lower interest card and you’ll save yourself a ton of money.

5. Use a budgeting app like Mint

Use this to stay on top of everything. You’ll get bill reminders and alerts when there is out of the ordinary activity in any of your accounts. You’ll be able to set a budget and see where you spend the most money. You’ll get in-app advice as well, for saving money. The best part of using this app, though, is that you’ll be aware of the big picture from day to day. You’ll know what’s going on, and seeing it all right there can be huge for motivating you to cut back on your spending or start saving more.

6. Get your free credit report

Every Canadian is entitled to one free credit report from each credit bureau per year. Requesting these reports does not affect your credit score and it will help you pinpoint everything you need to work on to improve your credit. You’ll also be aware of any possible theft that has gone on with your identity.

7. Seek advice from trusted, well-established experts

If you think you can invest some money now, or you want to work towards that, go see a pro. They’ll help you see what your different options are as far as investing goes. You’ll find out what investment options are low risk, higher return, and you’ll get advice on how much you’ll need to invest in the first place. If you don’t have the minimum amount required, that gives you the perfect goal for saving.

8. Scan all your receipts using the Receipts by Wave app

Make use of this fantastic app, which allows you to keep track of all of your important receipts. You can scan the receipt into the app, confirm the information it has recognized and store it for future reference.

9. Start saving

Even if it’s just fifty bucks a month, get some money in savings. Set a goal for how much you want to save and watch as the numbers climb every month in your savings account. No one ever said they regretted saving too much money, so get on it!

10. Find out where you spend excessively

Then slim your budget down in that category. Whether you use a budgeting app or not, you should take a critical look at how you spend your money and cut down in areas where you spend too much. Yes, even if it’s beer.

11. Pay off your debts

I know! This doesn’t sound like an easy step, but it can be a lot easier if you make a plan. Take a look at our comparison between the avalanche and snowball method of paying down your debts and choose one that suits you. It’s going to take time, but getting started with a plan and executing it, is easy if you commit to it.

If you complete these simple steps, you’re going to be well on your way to a whole new financial outlook. When you improve your finances, you also improve your quality of life as well, so there really is no excuse when getting started is this easy. So, what are you waiting for? Get started now!

Do you have any easy tips for improving finances? Let us know in the comments!

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