Be Financially Disciplined

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Do you want it to be easy to save money, but enjoy entertainment too?

A simple way to save, enjoy and not have to worry every day about finances. Read on to find the starting points on how to be financially disciplined.
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Steps

  1. Organize all your financial documents. Create a file folder or a cabinet or a box with sections for all your expenses, insurance, assets, income and liabilities. You can label it such as:
    • House/Apartment
    • monthly expenses
    • income
    • Insurance
    • medical
    • vehicle
    • Utilities
    • taxes
  2. In these folders put everything associated to that file. For example, under house/apartment, you would have mortgage or lease. Under utilities, gas/electricity, water, sewage, tv/internet, phone. Monthly expenses can include all bills for entertainment, groceries, gas etc.
  3. Now determine how much you spend in each category. Some expenses are necessary such as mortgage/rent and utilities. However, you could reduce the monthly expenses by first determining how much you spend in entertainment, groceries, gas, cash withdrawals etc.
  4. Create a balance sheet with all your income in one column and all your expenses in another. Do this for about 3 months to determine a pattern. By doing this for 3 months, you get an idea of how much you eat out or you spend on movies etc. This also helps you realize where you might be able to reduce in costs.
  5. Set goals. Write down everything you want to accomplish. Beside these goals, write down how much it will cost you and how long before you achieve this goal. For example,
    • Buy a house - $200,000 x5% down payment = $10,000 to save – by June 2010. This will give you an idea of how much you need to save to reach your goals.
  6. Once you have your goals, determine the short range goals (within 5 years) and determine how much you will need to put aside every month. Let’s say you want to buy a car that will cost you $30,000. You can take out a loan for $30,000 that you will need to pay back in 3 years. You will have monthly costs (not taking interest into account) of approximately $833.33
  7. You could now put aside a certain amount to reduce the amount of loan to take out or to eliminate completely. Be realistic because you will have your living expenses to consider.
  8. You could ask your payroll department to deposit a certain amount into your savings account before you even see the money in your chequing account. Pay yourself first and then spend only the amount left over in your chequing account.
  9. You could have everything set-up so that the money could go into your retirement account and savings account before you even see any cash in your chequing account. This will help you automatically save some amount for emergency and your future.
  10. Find ways to reduce costs as well. There are more ways that you can define by looking at your budget. Here are some examples:
    • Watch matinee movies instead of at full price
    • Eat out once a week/month rather than a few times a week
    • Make your own coffee and take it to work/college rather than stopping by a coffee pub on your way to work/college
    • Leave your credit cards home when going shopping
    • Don’t go grocery shopping when hungry (you tend to buy more at that time).

Tips

  • you could create an excel spreadsheet that you organize with all the types of expenses you see in a month. You would just need to fill in the costs and it will automatically give you the totals.
  • financial discipline takes time, so start by changing one thing at a time.
  • You still want to enjoy life but within budget. It takes time to realize that there are few things you can live without.
  • Determine the difference between your wants and needs. What do you need to do to become successful in your life?
  • The grass is not always greener on the other side. If your friend bought the latest pair of shoes or iPod, it does not mean that you need to get one too. You don't know the inside story...you don't know how that person's finances look like.

Related Tips and Steps