Updated: Feb 8
When it comes to improving your financial health, choose activities that support your goals to own your own home. Start practicing these easy actions today to elevate your financial well-being.
1. Know your situation
Studies show that 50% of people don't know there own credit score. You get one free credit score each year so there is no excuse for not knowing what is on your credit report. There are many services and articles out there to help you understand how what's on your credit report impacts your score.
2. Create a vision board of your goals
The more clearly you can articulate your goals the more likely you are to achieve them. Picture yourself reaching them and say them out loud. Vividly describe the steps will you take to achieve your goal of owning a home. Be descriptive when writing out your vision board. Details like your target dollar amount are critical to understand when setting deadlines and milestones to reach.
3. Always follow through on your to-do items
Incentivize yourself at the completion of milestones with rewards that will keep you motivated and pushing forward. There are many goal setting apps out there to help you measure your progress. Make sure the rewards are reasonable and do not hinder your progress toward reaching your ultimate goal of owning a home.
4. Keep tabs on your daily income and expenses
Mastering your money means having a clear sense of how much is coming in or going out. Make a daily habit of checking in with your spending, at least until you get a handle on your habits. Automating with a powerful expense tracking app works for some. Your banking website may have some helpful tools. It’s also perfectly okay to keep a simple spreadsheet to keep track of your monthly budget.
5. Be realistic about how you budget and save
If your income is volatile, your hours fluctuate from paycheck to paycheck, you’re seasonally employed, or you work on a by-project (or contractual) basis, budgeting and saving up over short bursts of time—when you know money will be coming in large chunks—might be a better way to think about it. Once you nail down a budget that matches your how your cash flows, compare actual spending and saving against your target.
6. Borrow wisely—and save
When borrowing (or refinancing) saves money in the long run—it’s a good thing. If you’ve got revolving debt (credit cards) with high interest, volatile rates, consider rolling multiple debts into one single payment at a lower rate using a personal loan. Be sure to compare carefully the cost of borrowing over time any new loan or refinace offer to what you’ve got now.
7. Deal with debt head on
Tackling debt also means slashing spending and avoiding the accumulation of new debt. Smart moves include boosting your income with side jobs or taking on extra hours at work to accelerate debt pay-down. And paying down debt is one of the fastest way to financial self-care that we can think of.
8. Invest in your future
Many experts advise contributing as much as you can as early as you can into a retirement account. While some people may earn enough to be able to do this while simultaneously paying off any accumulated debt, others may not.
9. Grow your assets
If you have your spending in check, something set aside for emergencies, money left over after saving for retirement—pat yourself on the back and keep going. Now it’s time to think about investing. Putting your money to work outside the scope of retirement can be a great way to maintain financial self-care. As always, consult with an investment pro before making any investment decisions.
10. Raise your hand if you need extra help
Sometimes money can be complicated. Luckily, helpful resources are everywhere and you don’t have to face it alone. If personalized attention and service is what you’re looking for, enlist a professional. Many offer free initial consultations, or charge only a small flat fee. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has answers to hundreds of financial questions and guides to help you understand how to plan ahead to reach your financial goals.
11. Be your own best friend
Everybody makes mistakes with money. What matters is how you deal with the inevitable missteps, and, if you happen to fall, brushing yourself off and standing back up again and again.