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Did you know that one in four millennials (23-37 year olds) worry about their finances? Are you one of them? I’ll be honest, up until a couple of years ago, I was part of that statistic. I was so super stressed about affording rent, buying groceries, and making student loan payments. The sleepless nights and the endless hustle to make ends meet was exhausting so I took control of my finances. I don’t want you to feel how I did so I am going to share what I did to stop stressing over money.
Track Your Spending
Check your account balance. Are you shocked to see how little money you have left? Where did all of that hard-earned money go? Do you even know?
Picking up coffee at the drive-through before work and drinks during happy hour can really add up. After all of that fun, you now have to figure out how to eat for a week on $30. Hello, ramen noodles and eggs.
Sit down at the table with your homemade coffee and go through your bank statement for the month. Really look at what you are spending. $100 a month for coffee? 200 a month going out on weekends? After looking at your spending you might be surprised to see how much money you are spending on parking downtown or lunch out.
Now that you have tracked your spending you can see what expenses are taking the biggest chunk of your check. Hopefully, it also helped you see some places you could cut back too. Make sure to keep the numbers you added up because we will be using them to make your budget.
Make A Budget
If you want to make sure you can go out to dinner with friends and still pay your rent, you need to make a budget. This doesn’t have to be that complicated. For those just starting to budget, I really recommend keeping things simple. Look at your income, then add up your must have expenses (rent, student loans, insurance, etc.). Once you see what is left over from your basic expenses, then you can decide how to spend the rest.
Please try to be a bit realistic. I hate spending a lot of money on groceries. In the beginning, I would try to budget a tiny percentage of our income to it because I wanted to put the money towards something else. But, I also knew I valued eating healthy foods. Eventually, I had to adjust my budget so I could buy fresh foods and not just frozen burritos.
Maybe you are fine with eating beans and rice most days, but you know you can’t live without your Wednesday happy hour after work. That’s fine, but you need to put the expense in the budget and stick to it.
I know that saying goodbye to venti quad shots can seem sad, but having enough money to pay the bills without stressing is going to feel SO much better. Trust me.
Check Your Credit
We are going to round this out with another uncomfortable but super important task. You really do need to check you credit. You need to look at your report and know your credit score. If you have never checked your credit, it can be a real eye-opening experience. I remember the first time I checked my credit and I was utterly shocked to see those $$$$.
It’s time to rip the band-aid off. Go to credit.com and check your credit score for free. Credit.com will provide you with an action plan and show you how you compare to others in the areas that make up your credit score.
Hopefully, everything looks great. Maybe you had a bad month and you were late on a payment. That stinks but it isn’t the end of the world. You have a budget so you know you are going to be paying your bills on time now.
If your credit score is not where you want it to be you might want to contact the professionals at Lexington Law Firm. There could be errors on your report like an account that was opened that you didn’t open. Or maybe a bill you know you paid is still showing that you haven’t paid it. That can be a problem and it can be difficult to deal with. If you need assistance disputing an error on your report, you can get help from my friends at Lexington Law.
Stop Stressing About Money
Now that you have taken these steps, you can stop stressing about money! Want to know the key to keep this feeling going? You’re going to have to do all three things regularly. As your life changes, your priorities, income, and expenses will change too.