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Managing your money effectively, no matter how much income you have, often comes down to having a better understanding of what your hard-earned cash can do for you. Improving financial education isn’t a once-and-done task—learning as much as you can about different financial topics is a lifelong endeavor that can make a significant difference in your life.

With April being Financial Literacy Month, now is the perfect time to assess your financial wellbeing and reflect on your planning and goals. We’re here with 15 tips to improve your money knowledge, from things you can do right now to investing for long term financial stability.

Understanding where you are financially often feels like a weight being lifted. 90% of Americans say that financial concerns have impacted their daily stress levels, so take some time this month to remove the burden and become better educated about what your money is doing.

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Supercharge Your Finances Day to Day with These Must-Try Tips

1. Track Your Money

It may feel daunting at first, but tracking your expenses is one of the best ways to start getting a handle on your financial situation. Keep a record of where your money is going and find areas that you may be able to cut or scale back. With the FVSBank app, you can easily track all of your transactions in one central place.

2. Embrace a Spending Ban

Overspending is a problem for many people. When you’re looking at avoiding common financial mistakes, cutting back on your outgoings is a good place to start. Consider stopping any non-essential spending for a set period of time like a “no spend month” and save any extra cash you have.

3. Negotiate Your Bills

Did you know that you can negotiate your bills down? Call your service providers for utilities and essentials like cable, phone, and internet to see if they can lower your monthly bill or switch you to an alternative plan—this is particularly helpful if your current plan has features you’re not actively using.

4. Sell Unused Items

Give your closet or home a spring clean and sell any items you’re no longer using. You’ll be surprised at how much you can find, and your neighborhood may even have a community yard sale day that helps draw in more interested people to buy your unwanted items.

5. Cook at Home

Eating out is often more expensive than cooking meals at home, so try to save some money this month by planning ahead and making more food in your own kitchen. Consider packing a lunch to take to work (leftovers from the night before are great for this!) and plan your meals ahead of time to only buy what you need, and will use, when you go grocery shopping.

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Transform Your Finances in the Medium-Term with Proven Strategies

6. Focus on Debt Repayment

One of the best strategies for financial planning for families and households is to address debt head-on. Make a plan to pay off any existing debts, starting with balances and accounts that have the highest interest. Even if you can only contribute a small amount each month, chipping away at your debt will save you plenty of money long-term.

7. Maximize Income

If you need more money coming in, look for ways to add to your income. Taking on a side job, freelance work, or working towards a promotion at your existing job are all great ways to earn a little extra cash.

8. Automate Savings

Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account to help you save money without even thinking about it. When you operate on a “pay yourself first” mindset, you’re prioritizing savings for the future, even if it’s for smaller or more immediate goals rather than bigger savings like retirement or for a new home.

9. Stick to a Budget

You’ll find plenty of tips for creating and sticking to a budget online, but there’s a good reason for that. Budgeting is the best way to manage your money and make sure you’re living within your means, which is even more important during times of high inflation when ordinary living costs can be more than anticipated.

10. Invest in the Future

Start thinking about what you want your financial future to look like and invest in stocks, mutual funds, or other types of investments to grow your wealth over time. Benefit from high interest rates and consider where your money could be stored more effectively.

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Secure Your Financial Future with Long-Term Planning

11. Plan for Retirement

Understanding different retirement planning strategies is the best way to safeguard your long term finances. In fact, investing in your retirement is essential financial planning for young adults. Take advantage of your youth and start saving as early as possible to benefit from compound interest and watch your money grow over decades.

12. Take Out Insurance

Protect yourself and your most important assets by taking out insurance as soon as possible. This could be health, life, or property insurance that covers different parts of your life and the areas that are most financially critical.

13. Make a Will

Estate planning can be a daunting prospect, but it’s essential if you want to have any say in where your assets go after you pass away. Making a will ensures that your wishes are met and that your closest family and friends are taken care of when you’re no longer here.

14. Pay of Your Mortgage Early

If you have additional funds each month, consider contributing extra money to your mortgage principal to get your loan balance paid off as quickly as possible. You’ll save on interest when you pay off your mortgage early, and you’ll also free up that monthly expense once you own your home outright.

15. Learn as Much as Possible

Making smart financial decisions comes from proactive investment in your own financial literacy. Take time to review personal finance education and resources like books, podcasts, and blog posts, attend seminars and workshops, and seek advice from financial experts like your community bank or financial advisor.

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Enroll in Financial YOUniversity with FVSBank

At FVSBank, we understand the importance of having control over your personal finances. That’s why we offer our customers and community free resources through Financial Education YOUniversity. With different modules, playlists, and tools, you can tailor your financial education to suit your personal circumstances and interests to better manage your money and investments.

Take ownership over your financial situation right now and create a personalized financial literacy program through FVSBank’s Financial Education YOUniversity.