Finance, Tax

How To Get Back On Track With Your Finances

Life happens no matter how much we plan, and it can wreak havoc on our finances. Even if you had the best laid financial plans, life can get in the way, and you may find yourself wondering how to get back on track. Is everything lost if you’ve fallen off track, stopped saving money, or have had to use every dollar earned to pay bills?

Fortunately, we can tell you the answer is ‘no, it’s not all lost.’ There are plenty of ways to get back on track even when you feel lost. Everyone experiences the feeling at one time or another. The important thing to remember is your financial hardship is temporary, and with a few adjustments, you can get back on track.

10 tips for how to get back on track financially

So, are you ready to take charge of your finances? Here are 10 tips on how to get back on track when you feel lost!

1. Reflect on your mistakes

Have you ever heard that mistakes are opportunities to learn? It’s true. You can look at a mistake as a complete and utter failure, or you can look at it as a learning experience. Look at it and decide what you could have done better. What could you change?

Use your mistakes as stepping stones to improve your life (and your finances), and don’t let them hold you back. While it won’t help you get back on track immediately, it will help you grow as a person and make wiser choices moving forward if and when life kicks you again.

2. Create a habit tracker

If you’re the type that starts a habit and then falls off the wagon after a few days or weeks, use a habit tracker to make it easier to stick to. You can even set up rewards for specific milestones. For example, if you stick to your budget for two weeks in a row, reward yourself (with a small reward, nothing that will break the bank).

If you notice on your habit tracker that you can’t stick to your budget or you quit your ‘good’ habits after a few tries, figure out why. Is there something specific going on in your life that makes it impossible to stick to your desired habits?

Take an honest look at your life and figure out what’s causing the roadblock and see what you can do to work around it.

3. Review your budget to get on track

Sometimes the budget that seems right is all wrong. If you can’t stay on track with your finances, it could be because you set up the wrong budget. Even if you followed a template or did what your successful BFF did, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Take an honest look at your spending. Pull your bank and credit card statements, determine where you’re going over budget, and understand why. Did you make your budget too restrictive? Do you need to rearrange how much you have budgeted for certain categories?

You may find you have to cut back on certain costs. List your costs by priority and decide how you’ll cut back. It could be small things, like cutting back on your grocery spending or eating out less. Finding the right budget method is how to get back on track when you feel lost about your finances!

4. Stick to your schedule

Everyone needs a schedule to stick to their good habits. Your schedule helps you make good choices rather than trying to make fly-by-night decisions. Set up a schedule to pay your bills, revisit your budget, and contribute to your savings or investment accounts.

The more you have scheduled, the more likely you are to get on track. It’s harder to say ‘I’m not going to put money in savings today’ when it’s staring at you from your calendar. The guilt will get to you, and you’ll find that you want to stick to your good financial habits because they’re scheduled.

5. Find an accountability partner

Getting an accountability partner is how to get back on track when you feel lost. If you’re married, can you hold one another accountable? If you are both spenders or you’re both guilty of falling off track, find a neutral third party to be your accountability partner.

You need someone who will ask you the questions you need to hear and wait until you provide honest answers. You’re more likely to stay on track with your finances if you have to answer to someone. For example, you are shopping and see a gorgeous purse you must have.

You know it’s not in your budget, but it’s calling your name. If you have an accountability partner, you know you’ll have to answer to them. You’ll likely give the purchase much greater thought and hopefully won’t do it.

6. Focus on what you can control

Life is unpredictable, as you know. We think we are in control of it all, but we aren’t – not even close. Instead of looking at what you can’t control, focus on what you CAN control.

You can control how much money you put in your savings account each month. You can control how much you contribute to your retirement account each paycheck. What you can’t control are things like pandemics, losing your job (sometimes), or falling ill.

When you focus on the things you can control, it’s a lot easier to get on track with your finances. Life doesn’t seem as overwhelming when you focus on what you can control and worry less about what you can’t.

7. Always keep learning

You are never too old to learn. As far as personal finances are concerned, the landscape keeps changing. While it used to be ‘smart’ to use your credit cards for every purchase, it’s no longer the right thing to do. FICO calculations change, what lenders look for change, and even how you can invest your money changes all the time.

Always learn, see what’s new and how you can improve your personal financial situation. Take cryptocurrency, for example. This wasn’t around or at least popular a few years ago, yet now it’s the latest craze and is how millions of people are growing their portfolios at breakneck speeds.

8. Realize every little bit counts

You don’t have to make big changes to get on track. Small changes often add up to much more, especially when you have a lot of them. The next time you think, “I’ll only save $1 with this coupon” or “I can only put away $10 in my savings account,” think again.

Every dollar or even every penny counts. It all adds up and, with consistent effort, can make a big change in your personal finances. Little habits lead to big changes, and that’s how to get back on track.

9. Create a realistic plan

No matter how bad you want to get on track, don’t be unrealistic. You can create a plan that sounds amazing on paper, but if you can’t make it a reality, what good does it do? The only thing an unrealistic plan will do is make you feel worse.

You’ll feel like you can’t do anything right and can’t get your finances in order. Instead, create a plan that’s realistic for today, no matter how meek it may look to you at the moment. Realize the potential in a realistic plan and know that your plan can change as you grow.

10. Prioritize your values

Take a long hard look at your values. What’s important to you? If you want to get back on track with your finances, make that a priority over shopping, going out, or spending needless money.

Write down your goals or make a vision board. Let your visions be in your face all the time, so you have no choice but to make them a reality. Prioritizing your values is how to get back on track when you feel lost.

One step at a time is how to get back on track with your finances!

It’s not as hard as it sounds to get back on track with your finances. It takes some soul searching, planning, and a lot of consistency. Only do what you are comfortable with and can master right now. Then take bigger steps as you make progress.

It’s nothing you will change overnight, especially if you were knocked to your knees after the pandemic, a divorce, or any other significant occurrence in your life. Give yourself some grace, form good habits, and before you know it, you will get on track again with your finances.

If you need additional help then sign up for our free financial courses and worksheets to start saving money and building wealth!



6 Things To Do Now If You Have No Savings

If you have no savings, life can be stressful. When you have a financial emergency, and your first thought is ‘I have no savings,’ it can be a scary moment. As a matter of fact, a growing percentage of Americans have no savings either, and so this feeling is quite common for many.

In addition to the stressful feelings of having no savings, if you are starting from scratch, the idea of building a solid financial future might seem daunting. However, the good news is that it is possible to build savings from any point, even if you have none right now.

It’s important not to beat yourself up over your past financial mistakes. Instead, focus on moving forward and taking control of your finances. If you are ready to learn more about building your financial future, then continue reading.

1. See where you stand

The fact that you want to work to improve your financial future is a big step in the right direction. Now that you are ready to take control of your finances, it is time to take a closer look at your financial life.

In order to better understand your current financial situation, it is critical to calculate your net worth. First, layout any debts that you have on the table. It is important to see all of your liabilities, or debts, in a single place. Next, tally up your assets. Then simply subtract your liabilities from your assets.

You might be surprised to discover where you stand. If your net worth is negative, that is okay. Many people start building a successful financial future from a negative net worth. If you find that you have a positive net worth, then you are in a better financial position than you thought because you must have savings built-in somewhere.

No matter where you are starting from, it is good to be realistic about your financial future. If you are starting from 0 or a negative net worth, then you should not expect to clean this up overnight. In fact, building a better financial future may be a long road. However, the sooner you start the process, the faster you will reach your destination.

2. Assess your lifestyle

After you have taken a closer look at where you stand, you need to understand how you’ve come to the point.

Dive into your spending habits to understand your financial position better. Are you spending more than you should? Your first step should be to create a plan that ensures you are not spending more than your income. Otherwise, it is easy to rack up debt quickly.

If you find that you are spending more than you should, then look for ways to cut back without sacrificing your quality of life. Unfortunately, you may need to make some adjustments to your spending.

However, you should look at this as a new challenge to be creatively frugal instead of cutting all of the fun out of your life. You need to understand where your money is going in order to start saving money successfully.

3. Make a budget

A budget is critical to get your finances on track. Although it might seem restrictive to start budgeting, you’ll need to find a budgeting method that works for you in order to start saving successfully.

A budget can be difficult to start, but it is important. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to budget. You just need to find out which one works best for you. If you are having trouble getting started, then consider taking our budgeting course. It will walk you through different ways to budget and help you find the best fit for you.

As you build your budget, you’ll need to find new ways to save money. A few ways to dial back your expenses include shopping around for new car insurance and cutting out any subscriptions you no longer use. Additionally, you can start cooking more at home and hitting the stores with coupons in hand.

4. Build an emergency fund

An emergency fund is the first type of savings you should build. After all, it is your first line of financial defense against the emergencies that will inevitably come your way. Whether you need to fix a flat tire or a medical emergency pops up, you’ll have the funds you need to weather the storm.

If you are just starting out, then this should be your first priority. Start by building a fund of one thousand dollars. It will provide the cushion you need to cover unexpected expenses.

After you have a better handle on your finances, then build out your emergency fund to at least 3 to 6 months worth of expenses. You should have this amount of money safely tucked away in your savings account.

Once you have a fully-funded emergency fund, you’ll be able to breathe a little bit easier. Whatever life throws your way, you’ll be financially prepared.

5. Pay off your debts

If you have a large debt burden on your balance sheet, then it can hinder your other financial goals. If you want to save money for the long term, then any debt is only going to hold you back.

Since you are ready to build a better financial future, that starts with eliminating your debt. You’ll need to find a debt pay-down strategy that works for you. In some cases, the snowball method in which you tackle your smallest debts first works best.

In others, the avalanche method in which you tackle your debt with the highest interest works better. Take a minute to find out which strategy will work best for your situation. Then dive into your debt repayment journey.

Once you’ve paid off your debt, it will be easier to save for long-term goals. Not only will you eliminate monthly payments, but also avoid racking up interest charges that can derail your financial future.

6. Save for long term goals

If you are starting to save from nothing, then large savings goals may not seem attainable. For example, retirement may seem like a distant vision for the future without any concrete retirement savings. However, it is critical to start saving for your long-term goals now.

If that is retirement, then you should take advantage of tax-advantaged saving opportunities such as your 401k or an IRA. The amount you are able to save in these accounts will vary each year based on IRS limits.

Other long-term goals might include making a down payment on your first home. Consider that in your budget as you start to increase your savings.

How to stay on track with your savings goals

As you increase your savings, it might feel difficult to stay on track. Like all habits, you’ll need to provide some positive reinforcement to ensure that you continue on your savings journey.

Keep Budgeting

Even when things start to look better, you should continue to save. Hold on to your budget even when your financial life is easier.

Remember to adjust your savings goals to your life; in some seasons, you will be able to save more than others. Although you can adjust your budget throughout your journey, make sure that you are always aware of what you are spending.

If you are having trouble staying on track, then think about the reasons behind your spending. Carefully align your spending with your values. Once you find alignment between your values and your spending, you may find more joy even without overspending.

Find a Side Hustle

If you are having trouble meeting your financial goals, then you may need to increase your income. A side hustle is a perfect way to increase your income.

A side hustle offers flexibility on the amount of time you commit and the amount of money you can earn. Whether you want to work from home in your free time or pick up a second job, you can increase your income with the power of a side hustle.

Put your savings on autopilot

Once you’ve worked out your budget, you could choose to automatically transfer your savings into a separate account each month. With this, you’ll be able to save the money you plan to without needing to resist the urge to spend down your checking account.

If you have trouble sticking to a budget if the money is readily available, then move it to a separate account that is slightly less accessible. With that, you’ll be forced to think about your spending actions before you swipe your card.

Additionally, you can have your retirement savings pulled right out of your paycheck. In this case, you wouldn’t have to worry about spending your retirement savings because they would never touch your regular checking account. Here’s an article if you are wondering how much should you have in savings!

Don’t focus on a deadline

Yes, setting savings goals are important. However, it is important to not get too caught up in your deadlines. As long as you are making progress towards your savings goals, missing a goal by a few hundred dollars is not the end of the world.

Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged and stop saving altogether. Instead, continue to save based on your plan and watch your savings grow over time. You might be surprised how quickly they add up once you have the right systems in place.

The bottom line on what to do if you have no savings

If you are starting from the bottom, then you have the perfect opportunity to build a solid financial foundation. After all, you need to understand the base of your financial success in order to sustain it over the long term.

Instead of looking at saving money as a cumbersome challenge, look at it as a way to redefine your future on your own terms. To get started, be sure to check out our completely free courses to help you save!



What Makes A Financial Website Successful?

Financial services are faced with the challenge of delivering their customers with an online experience that goes far beyond just a website.

At one time, the internet appeared to offer all organisations a simple proposition: email connectivity and a clickable presence in the form of a website. Today, web presence has rapidly evolved with interactive content and the ability to deliver transactional experiences – or e-commerce. Migrating services online helps business reduce costs, while customers benefit from the convenience and autonomy of self-service.

Financial services sites are absolutely competitive. They are really trying to drive people online. The self-service model is being taken seriously so they want to make sure their sites are available, responsive and allow users to do as many things as possible.

Though, many have shown an overall poor performance. The top reasons for failure were as follows: company websites make browsing too difficult; content missing, repeated and

poorly worded; and site search doesn’t work for typical tasks.

Here are three factors for a successful online financial service site which keeps users engaged and displays great use of technology while still delivers company’s messages

clearly and effectively:

  • Customer experience, which includes the impression the homepage and overall design style give the customers, their satisfaction when they interact with the site and perform tasks.
  • Best practices, such as ease of use, quality, availability and security – site managers must be compliant with data laws requiring them to protect customer information and the integrity of customer accounts.
  • Service-level, which looks at responsiveness and reliability of websites – scores them on how quickly they respond to user commands and such factors as average downtime.

Financial services must tie these three factors together – customer experience, best practices and reliability/responsiveness – to have an effective web presence. They can’t go hard into one particular area and ignore the others. They have to understand what’s available versus their competitors, what consumers think of their sites versus competitors’ and how their sites are performing.


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