Financial Literacy Month Action Steps (Part 4)

April is Financial Literacy Month. Over the last three weeks I shared 15 of my Top Action Steps for becoming Financially Literate.

Miss Action Steps 1-5? You can view them here.

Miss Action Steps 6-10? You can view them here.

Miss Action Steps 11-15? You can view them here.

Today I’m bringing you the next 5 important Action Steps I recommend you take action on this week. Since the key to making these steps work for you is applying them in your life.

Let’s continue my Financial Literacy Action Steps with…

Action Step #16: Know your Money In and Money Out.

This is pretty simple to do. You have to know the fixed expenses you have every month. You have to know your variable or occasional expenses every month. You have to know where every dollar of your expenses is going every month. And you have to know how much money you have coming in every month.

Your Action Step is to go through the bills and expenses you pay in an average month, and tally up your fixed expenses and your occasional and variable expenses. Then add up all the income you earn on an average month. Now you will be able to see in black and white, your Money In and your Money Out. Which is a big step toward becoming Financially Literate.

Action Step #17: Save, Save, then Save some more.

One of the hardest things to do for most people is save on a consistent basis. While you should save just for the sake of saving, you’ll also want to save for things you want to have or do. All without having to depend on credit to get them. So when you have a big goal you want to accomplish, like buying a home, it’s time to save. When you want to make your future better for you and your family, it’s time to save. And when you want things that you absolutely feel you must have, it’s time to save. And don’t forget one of our previous Financial Literacy Month Action Steps, saving for your Emergency Fund.

Your Action Step is to write down exactly what you want. Next, write down how much cash it will take to get what you want or reach your goal. Then determine how much money is left after your Money In and Money Out, and use the extra to save for wants, goals and your family’s future. Stay on track, and you’ll see that saving works. You just have to be disciplined when it comes to socking that cash away.

Action Step #18: Find ways to spend less each month.

If you don’t keep track of your spending, it can be really easy to overspend each and every month. And month after month, this can really add up to some serious cash that just vanishes. Make it your goal to keep track of what you spend money on throughout the month, and spend less than you are used to spending now. If you think about this regularly, it’s not that hard to do. But if you don’t keep track of how much you spend, it will always be difficult for you to get ahead and stay ahead.

Your Action Step is to revisit your Money In and Money Out, to get clear on where your money is going. Next, commit to track where your cash goes every month, with the intent of cutting your spending in as many areas as you can. When you implement this advice in your life, you’ll find it much easier to save.

Action Step #19: Save on food by planning and reducing waste.

I want to talk about this specific way to cut your spending, since it deals with a topic that is close to my heart. When I was a child, a good meal was sometimes hard to come by. To this day, I hate the thought of food being wasted. And of course, I never like it when money is wasted, either.

Your Action Step starts with planning your meals ahead of time. Which includes planning what you’ll need from the supermarket, and what you don’t need. When you can reach a balance of buying less because you are planning better, and spending less because you no longer have to buy as much, you set yourself up to save money each month, while not wasting food that others would do anything to have.

Action Step #20: Don’t put off your financial matters.

No matter how much you would like it, putting off your financial obligations will not make them go away. In most cases, putting things off will just make matters worse. Managing your finances properly is not only an important thing to do, it will make your life much less stressful.

Your Action Step is to prioritize your financial decisions, actions and responsibilities and smash the habit of putting things off. Create a calendar of which bills and payments need to be paid on which day. Also make a note of the amount of each payment. Then, by revisiting your Money In and Money Out again, come up with a plan to pay all your financial obligations on time. Then commit to follow your plan every month.

By following all of my Financial Literacy Action Steps, you will put yourself on the path to taking control of your personal finances. And living a much more enjoyable life.

Do you think you could use help putting these action steps to use in your life? Want to enjoy the benefits I’ve talked about today, by becoming financially literate?

Well you can start down the path to living life with financial peace of mind. And it’s a lot easier to do than you may think. See how you can take your first step in the right direction today.

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