Spring into Healthier Financial Habits
Tuesday, April 09, 2019
Nearly 80 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. A recent survey found that 44 percent of households wouldn’t have the savings to cover a $400 emergency expense.
These statistics illustrate that many people are one hardship away from a financial crisis. An unexpected life challenge like a car breakdown, illness or job loss could be devastating.
April happens to be Financial Literacy Month. While it’s advisable to practice good financial habits year round, it’s helpful to have a reminder. And since spring is the season of renewal and rebirth, it’s an appropriate time to cultivate new habits and encourage personal growth.
Not everyone knows how to budget, save, invest or manage debt. Financial literacy is a learned skill set that takes some education and practice. It also takes dedication. But taking control of one’s finances will pay dividends (literally) in the long term.
Whether you’re interested in building personal wealth, owning a home or simply getting out of debt, the first step is setting goals for the future. We’ve compiled some basic tips to help you get started.
Tips to improve financial health:
- Assess your finances, create a budget for yourself and monitor your money. It’s important to have a clear picture of your income and expenses as a starting point.
- Identify opportunities to save. When you monitor spending, it becomes easier to pinpoint tendencies to overspend. You might consider packing a lunch rather than eating out more often. Or skipping that $6 latte once in a while. Small everyday savings can add up.
- Establish a savings account and use it. Set a goal of saving 10-20 percent of your income each month and deduct that amount as you would a regular monthly payment. At the minimum, make sure you have a $500-1000 fund in case of financial emergency.
- Create a long-term financial plan for yourself. Write down your specific financial goals for 1, 5 and 10 years from now. Consider paying down a certain amount of debt each year. Set aside a monthly amount for a house downpayment. Or make a monthly contribution to a retirement plan to help ensure a secure financial future.
Did you know that GROW South Dakota provides financial education, budget and credit counseling? We can help you get your finances on track.
GROW SD is a HUD approved counseling entity with knowledgeable staff that provide guidance on saving, budgeting, credit improvement and more. Visit our website or contact us to learn more today: (605) 698-7654 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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