You may never have been considered the man with a plan (or woman for that matter), but if you don’t want to live from paycheck to paycheck for the rest of your life, you need to have a sound financial plan for the overall budgeting process.

If you map out your financial future right, you’ll be set up perfectly come retirement time. Not to mention, being able to have some money left over when payday comes around.

What exactly does a financial plan entail and how do you create one that works? You’ll find the answer to those questions and more. Read on!

1. Do the Math

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To create a plan, you first have to know what you have to work with and what you want to accomplish. This means you need to do some calculations.

Write down all of your income for the month. Next, write down all of your living expenses. Last, write down your financial goals.

Your expenses include everything from rent or mortgage to the cost of your deodorant. Try to get as detailed as possible in this list.

How much do you have leftover at the end of the month? Will it allow you to achieve your goals? If your answer is no, then move on to the next heading. You’re going to need it.

If you’re still doing quite well monetarily at the end of the month after paying all your bills, there’s always room for improvement. So keep reading.

2. Slash Your Expenses

Take a look at the list of expenses you wrote down. Are there any that you could get rid of or at least cut down a bit?

Things like eating out, unnecessary shopping sprees, and overpriced coffees are the obvious things that most people decide to cut out but there could be more ways to curb spending.

For one thing, you could see if refinancing your car could save you money. Finding a lender that offers a lower interest rate could save you thousands off the total price of your car.

It is also important that you shop around for car and health insurance quotes, cell phone plans, and internet carriers.

If this puts an extra couple of hundred dollars in your pocket at the end of the month, it’s well worth making a few more phone calls.

3. Save for Financial Emergencies and More

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Once you’ve adjusted your spending habits to leave you with a bigger spending budget at the end of the month, what are you going to do with all that money?

No, you don’t want to buy a bigger tv! You need to put that money into savings, silly!

Your first savings step is to have an emergency fund. Most people put aside a thousand dollars in a special savings account to use should a disaster strike.

To reiterate, this is an emergency fund and should only be used in the case of an emergency.

Once you’ve got your emergency fund well established, it’s time to consider investing or simply building upon your savings until you have enough to live off for a few months in the case of a lost job or major injury or illness.

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4. Banish Debt for Good

If you have debt, you should have a plan to pay it down consistently. Dave Ramsey advises paying off debt using the snowball method .

You can use any method you like, as long as you consistently pay more than the minimum payment each month, you’re getting closer and closer to being debt-free.

5. Taxes and Death are Inevitable

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You know the saying, so plan for both. Instead of waiting for tax time to roll around, put aside some money each month to cover the cost.

It would be a good idea to see if you qualify for tax credits that you haven’t been taking advantage of in the past. The tax code changes from year to year so it’s important to stay up to date.

Since you’re working so hard to get your finances in a healthy state, don’t leave this world without ensuring that your loved ones can reap the benefits.

Estate planning and writing a last will and testament can ensure that your money becomes their money when you pass.

Conclusion

Financial planning may not be fun but it is essential to improving your situation. Make your’s work by keeping it realistic and doable.

Financial planning isn’t a set it and forget it action. You need to continue to monitor your finances and make adjustments when needed. Stay the course and you’ll see great things in your future!

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