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How to Make Every Cent Count and Improve Your Finances

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy means that many families in Florida are facing financial hardships on a daily basis. For example, you may have noticed that your money does not stretch as far as it once did, resulting in a great deal of stress. However, whether you are trying to start a business from scratch or are simply preparing for your family's future, good money management is essential. 

With that in mind, here’s how you can make every cent count and improve your financial situation at the same time! 

  • Track your expenses. The first step to bettering your financial health is by ensuring that you monitor your monthly expenses. Thankfully, there are various ways you can do this. For example, you could start by budgeting or putting together a monthly spending spreadsheet. This way, you’ll gradually become more mindful of your spending habits. If you find it hard to stick to your budget, download a budgeting app on your phone that sends you daily alerts. This lets you know when you are nearing your budget so you can change your plans accordingly. 
  • Start investing. Investing your money is another great way to improve your financial situation, as it enables you to earn passive income over time. Of course, there is always an element of risk associated with investing that you must be aware of ahead of time. However, this can be mitigated by never investing more than you can afford to lose, diversifying your investments, and doing plenty of research ahead of time. For example, if you are considering investing in bitcoin, you might find this guide useful:  How To Trade Bitcoin: A Complete Guide
  • Set up a savings account. According to a recent study, 69% of adult Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, and many do not have any savings at all. However, having some savings set aside is essential in protecting your finances moving forward, especially if you’re met with unexpected bills such as medical expenses. As a result, you should start taking your savings seriously. The easiest way to do this is to set up a savings account and send a small amount of money into it each month. This is far better than keeping the money in your current account, as you’ll be less likely to dip into it accidentally. In some cases, opening up a savings account with a different bank could also be a great way to earn FREE money, as they come with a sign-on fee. 
  • Find ways to cut down on your bills. Another way in which you can ensure you make every cent out is by finding effective and practical ways to cut down on your monthly bills. For example, instead of shopping at supermarkets, you could visit small local stores instead. Not only do they offer much better value for money, but it's also a great way to support your community. 
  • Cancel subscription services you don’t use. Thousands of households throughout the US are signed up for subscription services, such as Netflix or Audible. However, it's crucial that you remember to cancel these services if you are not using them - especially if you only signed up to utilize a free trial. Per a recent study, one-third of Americans currently pay for subscription services without knowing. As such, whenever you sign up for a trial, be sure to set yourself a cancellation reminder. 
  • Diversify your income. Picking up a side-hustle and diversifying your income is another great way to make your money go further. It also gives you an excuse to indulge in your favorite hobbies or pastimes more often, as you’ve found a way to monetize them. For example, if you’re interested in crafts, you could start selling your creations on websites like Etsy. Alternatively, you could participate in paid focus groups where you are paid for simply giving your opinion. You may even get sent free products to try out.
  • Know your worth. Approximately 47% of US employees believe they are underpaid, but many find it hard to speak up and ask for a raise when they deserve one. However, if you want to take control over your finances, then it's essential that you not only recognize your worth but ensure you receive the salary you deserve. Before approaching your boss and asking for a raise, do your research. Put together a list of reasons why you believe you deserve a higher wage packet, pulling in information from other sources where appropriate. For example, you could reference the salary of others in similar positions in different companies or positive feedback you have received. Be prepared to negotiate a little, but have an idea in mind of what the lowest figure you’ll accept is ahead of time. However, if you continue to feel as though you are undervalued in the workplace, it may be time to take your career into your hands and apply for a new job. 
  • Use price comparison websites to get the best deals. Price comparison websites are your best friend when it comes to getting good value for money. This is because they can help you determine which providers you should be using for a wide variety of bills and expenses - from health and travel insurance to utility bills. Take some time out of your day to compare different prices for each of your bills to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal. If you find that you’re currently overpaying, it's time to make the switch. However, it's worth noting that some companies may offer you a better price to retain your custom if you make it clear you are thinking of leaving or have found a better price elsewhere. 
  •  Become more aware of your bad spending habits. We all indulge in bad spending habits from time to time, whether that means one too many Starbucks or takeouts after a busy day. However, you’ll never be able to rectify these habits if you don't identify them. Therefore, you should take a close look at how you are spending your money when pulling together your budget, as when you see it written down, you’re more likely to recognize the mistakes you are making. Of course, it's important to treat yourself from time to time, but you should not be treating yourself daily or living beyond your means, as this will only lead to trouble further down the line. 
  • Shop second-hand. Whether you’re buying new furniture to brighten up your home or upgrading your wardrobe, shopping second-hand can be a great way to save money. Furthermore, there are plenty of ways you can go about this. For example, you could visit local thrift stores or even just shop online on sites such as Depop. You could also use this as an opportunity to spring clean your home by selling anything you no longer need or use instead of leaving it to gather dust in your home. This way, you’re actively adding to your bank account!  If items aren’t quite nice enough to re-sell but are still in good working condition, you could also donate them to charity instead of simply throwing them away.   

In short, there are various steps you can take to start bettering your financial situation, which is particularly important during this difficult time. However, coming to grips with your money sooner rather than later comes with many additional benefits. For example, it may help you to finance your next home (or vacation) or start putting plans in place for a peaceful retirement.

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