2017 Guide to taking control of your Finances

Money2017 is here.   At the beginning of each year, I like to do a sort of stocktake, where I look at my current financial situation and figure out what is working and what I can do better.    It's important to not bury your head in the sand and let things get out of hand.

So this year, spend a little time getting your finances in order – it'll really pay off over the coming year.

Keep a Weekly or Monthly Net Worth Log

One thing I did during all of 2016 was to keep a weekly log of my net worth.   To do this I used a simple spreadsheet, and simply listed out all my bank accounts and other assets.  This was super useful as I was able to see if I was actually getting ahead or just stuck in an endless loop of income and spending.

It turned out, that I wasn't really getting ahead, and my overall net worth wasn't really increasing that much.  And so I took action and things started changing.  I don't really like keep a budget as I feel it's too much work and can get too annoying.  This weekly log let me know how much I was spending each week and I was able to build better habits.

Setup a regular savings plan

I use Acorns to create a regular savings plan.  I've set up the app so that it transfers across “x” amount every month.    And what I try and do is increase this amount every few months to just keep things growing.  Acorns has really performed well for me, but you could use any similar investment platform.

I also use high interest savings account.  I use this as my emergency fund.  My goal for 2017 is to not dip into this account at all.

Making regular contributions to your investments or savings makes a massive difference.  The trick is to try and automate it as much as possible.  Otherwise, you'll get lazy or scared and you'll stop seeing growth.

Start Putting your money to use

As much as I love saving, I'm not a fool – with current interest rates, saving isn't going to make you rich.  So I save for a purpose – and that is usually to invest in stocks or other business ventures.  I'm young so I like to take a fairly high risk approach to my investments and try lots of different things, obviously this won't suit everyone.  The important thing to remember is to not let your savings sit around getting hit by inflation.  Always look to grow into something bigger.

List out all your Monthly Subscriptions

This one has the biggest impact on my finances.  I went through all of my monthly subscriptions and figured out which ones I didn't need and got rid of them.  Running an internet business I had a ton of different subscriptions.  Half of them I had forgotten about and didn't really need anymore.   Others I was able to downgrade and pay less than I was.

The easiest way to take control of your subs is to put them all into a spreadsheet, which will give you a really good overview of where a huge chunk of your income is going.

So there you have 4 simple things you can do in 2017 to take control of your finances.

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