The first step on your financial journey is to get organized and understand where you’re at and where you want to go. It may feel overwhelming to start diving into the details of your finances, but it’s important to take that critical first step. Starting can be the hardest part, but it gets easier from there and we’re here to help.
When you’re ready to start improving your finances, try these five easy steps to feeling more in control of your money. Let’s do this together!
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1. Create a Financial Support System
Everyone loves before and after stories. They can be so motivating! And it helps to have a coach or community cheering you on and guiding you. Look to financial blogs like ours for advice on everything from boosting your credit to making fast cash. Check out hashtags on social media like #debtfree #financialhealth #moneymoves and more to connect with a like-minded community that’s also taking control of their finances like you.
On your financial journey, you may find that some friends are more supportive than others. There will always be friends who insist you go out or tell you just to put it on your credit card. So try to avoid bad influences as you’re getting your finances on track. They’ll all be jealous when you’re financial healthy and they’re still struggling with an unhealthy financial situation.
When they come to their senses, they’ll be asking you for advice! You can tell them to start by joining MoneyLion like you did. The MoneyLion community is 6 million strong, and everyone is focused on making financial improvements one day at a time.
2. Plan for Your Life Goals
To get started, think about what you want to accomplish in the next few years. Do you plan on working and saving as much money as possible, buying a house or condo, adopting a rescue pup, paying off student loans or other debt, bulking up your emergency savings, jetting off to Europe?
No matter your goals, it’s important to visualize them and develop a plan to make them happen. Start by picking your top two goals and mapping out how much money you’ll need to reach them. You’ll want to incorporate steps to save for the goals into your budget. And you may want to consider picking up sources of extra income (ideas here).
3. Assess Your Income, Expenses, and Debt
Use an app like ours or go old school and use a pen and paper to tally up your monthly income and expenses. How’s it look? What are you spending your hard-earned money on?
If you’ve gotten off-track financially or have financial bad habits, think about how you got there and what you can do to get back on track. When you can acknowledge what parts of your finances (i.e., bad debt) need the most work, you’ve taken the first step to creating a solution!
Write down your trouble areas (whether it’s spending too much on things you don’t need or not bringing in enough income), and think about ways that you can combat them. If fees and interest charges are weighing you down, you can start getting that money back with our parter Cushion. It only takes 3 minutes to sign up, and they scan your accounts to get you refunds automatically.
Remember, every little bit helps, and get creative. Are there costs you can cut out? Is there a way to work more hours? Can you start making more than the minimum payment on your high-interest debt? You got this.
4. Make a Budget
Now it’s time to make a budget. Read more about creating a budget here. List out all of your monthly expenses (utility bills, car payments, transportation, groceries, etc.), and check it against your income. Do you have enough? If not, what can you cut back on? Maybe eliminate some subscription services you don’t need or limit yourself to only one coffee shop visit a week. If you’re coming up to the end of your apartment lease, perhaps search for more affordable housing. Find more tips on how to spend less here.
If there’s no way for you to cut back on expenses, work to increase your income. Try asking your boss for a raise, or work part time using an app such as Uber, Favor or TaskRabbit. With all the technology today, there are many resources to make extra income on the side.
It’s also important to be sure you’re paying at least the minimum on your bills every month. So make a list of your bills, and check each of them off every month after you’ve paid them. It will feel so good! This will help you pay them promptly and consistently to avoid late fees and hits to your credit score.
5. Use MoneyLion Tools to Help You
MoneyLion membership gives you access to resources and tools to help you along your financial journey, including banking, credit building, 0% APR Instacash advances, loans, and more. There’s even a Loans Marketplace in the app where you can find more credit and debt relief offers.
One of the most poplar offers is from our partner Cushion. You just link your accounts, and they’ll securely review them to find opportunities for you to get refunds from financial institutions. It just takes minutes to sign up and you can start getting money back right away.
Empower Yourself to Succeed
The MoneyLion app also has a really great tool that assists in facilitating healthy habits called the Financial Heartbeat. The Financial Heartbeat tool can monitor your financial health just like you might monitor your own physical health. It analyzes your personal finances and suggests where you have room for improvement.
You have the power to make a change — we believe in you! It takes one step at a time, and you’ll never regret getting started. By taking control of your finances today, you will be that much closer to achieving all goals. Nothing feels better than being the boss of your money and in control of your future.