Today, most people are aware about how volatile the markets are. Everyone is concerned about what could next bring the markets to a halt, collapsing years of financial investment and careful planning. Of course, even the smartest economists and finance experts in the world could not have seen the dramatic events of the last few years. All we can do as individuals is manage our own money in smart ways. With modern technology, this has proven easier than ever before.
Create a budget
The most important first step to any engagement with finances is budgeting. This involves knowing how much we’re earning versus how much we’re spending. As the Balance notes in their guide to making a budget: “If you spend less in one area, you can spend more in another or choose to save that money for a larger future purchase, building a ‘rainy day’ fund, or even for retirement.”
Budgeting is, primarily, about control. If we don’t have control then we can’t know the best action.
With today’s technology it’s easier than ever to track how we’re spending money. Most major banks have official apps that automatically send out notifications for when we make purchases or money is deducted from our account. When making a budget, plan a month where we track every expense we’re notified of. Then start calculating.
Another advantage to better technology is having a handle on our investments. From being able to more easily compile fund fact sheets to informing us in real-time about changes in the market, tech has become more precise and faster recently. This shouldn’t stop us speaking to our brokers and experts, of course. Just because we can get the information more easily and faster doesn’t mean we know what to do with it.
Get rid of luxuries
None of us want to be too puritanical and conservative in what we spend our hard-earned money on. But in this difficult climate, it might be wise to take a harder look at what we’re purchasing and why. We need to be harder on ourselves and really question if we need something or whether we just want it. With modern tech, we can easily find price comparisons, whether this item is really necessary or if there aren’t alternatives and so on. With a quick Google search, for example, all our questions can be answered, helping us curb our buying something immediately. This can help us make better judgements and stop frivolous purchases.
(Image credit: Tech in Asia / Flickr)