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1. Create a spending plan.

Considering that most people spend about two-thirds of their income on three essentials: food, housing and transportation, it’s important that you create an annual budget by allocating spending goals for each category. Then you should also consider debt payments, savings, household costs and optional items such as entertainment.


2. Track your spending.

Don’t just create a spending plan; keep track of every expenditure over a two-week period. That way you can check unnecessary wastes.


3. Earn money from more than one source.

Creating multiple sources of income ensures that you don’t always have to depend on your monthly salary. The lack of job security in today’s market means anyone could lose their job or face a salary cut.


4. Launch your own business.

Tough times inspire people to make tough life decisions like starting a business. No matter how small the business may be, if handled well, it could become a source of financial security. Not to mention the personal fulfilment that comes with running your own show.


5. Track any additional income carefully.

Earning money outside of a full-time job can complicate matters at tax time; be sure to keep a careful record of all income earned, as well as copies of receipts related to expenses. When it comes to writing off the home office as a tax deduction, be sure to study the IRS rules, which specify that the space can’t be used for other purposes.


6. Motivate yourself to pay off debt.

Debts have a way of cramping your finances, especially when there are interests on them. Focusing on the bigger goals makes it easier for you to say “no” to new purchases. Those goals could be a new home you want to buy or places you want to visit.


7. Start early, invest often.

If you start saving early, it means that your savings could compound into much more money that will be waiting for you upon retirement. If your company offers a matching-contribution program for your retirement plan, taking advantage of it will only add to your saving efforts.


8. Consider working with a professional.

If handling your own money makes you nervous, there’s nothing wrong with seeking professional advice. Consider a fee-only advisor to avoid conflicts of interest. Your employer might also offer free retirement investing assistance.


9. Take baby steps.

Putting 10 percent or more of your income toward retirement can be overwhelming. Savers often have more success by starting small and putting just 2 or 3 percent of their income away, and then slowly increasing that rate over time.


10. Save even when you’re not earning.

The plethora of retirement account options make it possible to continue saving even when you’re not employed in a full-time job. Roth IRAs and spousal IRAs are among the options; check your eligibility and then consider contributing.


11. Live more simply.

You would be amazed at how much you save from living a simple life. Engaging in do-it-yourself crafts, home-cooking and even at-home haircuts help your finances. Small lifestyle changes, like using public transport to work instead of driving, can significantly reduce monthly expenditures.


12. Make sure you’re ready for baby.

Do not just start making babies unless you have planned for them. And this includes their education and feeding until the time they are ready to leave your home. Soon-to-be parents can prepare for some of those costs by saving up in advance, skipping unnecessary nursery purchases and looking for creative child care solutions that help them blend work and family.


13. Buy life insurance.

Even though we all don’t like to discuss death, buying a life insurance becomes imperative. That’s one way to protect your loved ones after you are gone. Typically many people would rather not even discuss life insurance but the benefits cannot be overstated.


14. Cancel catalogue subscriptions.

Catalogues tempt us into buying things we don’t need, and much of the paper from it goes into the trash [or recycle bin] – which costs you extra money to dispose of.


15. Consider non-financial donations too.

Rather than financial donations, giving away used clothes, toys, DVDs or even blood can be as useful to charities instead. This serves another purpose of helping you to de-clutter your home.


If you need help in deciding how to build a strategy that works for you, call one of our KISS agents on 0800-MERISTEM.




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