“The lack of money is the root of all evil” – Mark Twain.
The very thought of being hammered by a financial crisis can take away your sleep at night. Yet, money is needed to sustain life and even to progress.
Even if you put luxury out of the question, the bare minimum of our lives is heavily dependent on how much money we have in our pockets.
But in 2022, our world has seen so many changes, forced by the deadly pandemic of COVID-19, that we need to understand our finances better and invest in them.
Here are five ways to get better at handling your finances so that, if there’s another moment of crisis in the future, you won’t have to worry about the money.
1. Have some Liquidity
Liquidity represents the ability to exchange an asset for cash. The simpler it is to transform the asset into money, the more liquid it is called.
Cash is the king in liquidity, as it needs no conversion. That’s why cheques, savings, deposit certificates (CD), and government investments are the safest bets when you need your money immediately.
Unlike the topsy-turvy stock market, index funds, or ETFs, the value of those mentioned above doesn’t waver too much.
You may need to forfeit some of the interest earned, but you won’t experience any withdrawal or tax penalties (except CDs) even if you take the money out before the proposed time.
If you have financial obligations like loans, mortgages, etc., it’s better to build a strong portfolio of liquid accounts before getting your hand into the high-risk stuff. But, of course, it also depends on your risk tolerance.
2. Manage the bills
You can easily cut out anything that is not a necessity for you. In addition, getting your recurring expenses per month to the lowest possible margin will set you up for payment of your bills if you get in a cash crunch someday.
You may need to change some habits along the way, like switching to a bank that offers free checking services to save that monthly fee—or canceling or switching to a lower-rate plan for your rarely used landline.
Remind yourself to switch off the heater or AC when you’re going out. Look around and do some research for lower rates in insurance you need. All these small things can save you a lot in the long run.
Also, if you can stop paying all those late fees, that’s some nice extra cookie points in your jar. You can schedule electronic payments or mail checks for these services.
3. The Credit Card
You may have credit card debt. And the interest charges every month probably can take out a good chunk of your budget. So, if you enforce yourself to erase that debt, there’ll be much less obligations.
Search for a credit card with a lower rate than you have right now. You’ll be paying less interest overall. And you’ll pay off the debt faster. But what to do if you already have a mounting bill of credit cards. You can go for debt consolidation offered by websites like Our Money Market. This way you can get all your debt consolidated under one personal loan.
4. Always have a budget.
You must have a budget. You need to know the exact amount of credit and expenditure each month to formulate a plan for that.
First, create an emergency fund that’ll be your go-to option if anything terrible happens. Then, you can list down your priorities and how much they cost. And then eliminate the things that you don’t need currently, or they’re just useless.
Keeping a budget gives you an overview of your life and your traits. You get to know your position. Are you living below the standard you can achieve, or are you biting off more than you can chew?
A budget can’t force you to change, but it can surely help you decide whether you want to.
5. Extra Cash
Everyone has a talent/skill/thing they can use to earn some extra money.
It can be selling possessions you no longer use (online/garage sales).
It can be a part-time job, freelancing, getting a second job, running wild for discounts and bonuses, or reading stories to naughty kids.
The money can seem insignificant, but it can be something meaningful if combined over time. And you get some extra benefits too, such as an uncluttered house or the enjoyment of your side job is so much that you can opt it as a career.
Life is unpredictable, even at its best.
But in these challenging times, the uncertainty keeps mounting.
So, if there’s anything you can do to avert financial disaster, it’s to plan from right now. Then, if you devise it right, any potential tragedy will be one transient knock-back.