How much would you like to bet that most people didn’t know August 14th was National Financial Awareness Day?
For those that were aware, they may have started creating monthly budgets or prioritizing their finances a bit differently than they did a month or two ago. For those that are just hearing about it today, you still have time to get everything in order for a growing account! Let’s begin.
Sound financial decisions can really make a big impact on your life down the road. And--what’s better is that--these financial decisions do not have to be massive.
The best place to start is looking at the big picture and committing to becoming more mindful of your spending. Sure, an online shopping spree might be fun in the moment--but you might not think it so fun later once you’re scraping the bottom of your wallet to pay bills. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to prioritize both wants and needs.
To spend money, you first need to know how much you can afford to spend. Look at your bills and any other monthly expenses (like Netflix or other subscription services) and determine what needs to be set aside each billing cycle. It may seem overwhelming, but everyone has the capacity to learn the basic financial principles and save up for future expenses.
Once you know the balance between what you need to save for, and what you want to save for, making small changes to your daily habits can reap great rewards. There are many ways to cut costs throughout your day.
For the home, closing your closet doors can lower the square footage you’re heating and cooling. This is a cost-free way to save about $50 per year on your energy bills. Or, install a ceiling fan! In the winter, run it at a low speed in a clockwise direction to recirculate the warm air that rises to the ceiling. This will allow you to lower the thermostat a couple of degrees and save you nearly $100 per year on your heating bills.
Bonus: Reverse the fan direction in the summer and the airflow creates a windchill effect, making you feel cooler.
For small--or zero--dollar alternatives to keeping entertained, think museums, parks, lakes or simply, spending time with your family, friends or elders in the community! It requires no money at all to get out in nature and spend some quality moments with ones you love most.
Overall, knowledge--and some creative, intuitive thinking--is power. Finances can be straightforward and manageable if you take the time to review your budget monthly and plan out your expenses the weeks to come.
Don’t let National Financial Awareness Day overwhelm you, but rather, refresh you to review where you currently are and where you want to be. Hello, retirement!