Feel like you’re drowning financially? Why not make 2018 the year you finally take control of your finances? While it may sound way too hard, with a little organisation and commitment, you can seriously improve your finances this year.

Here are some top tips to make it happen:

Track where your money is going

Tracking your spending can be a big wake up call when you realise just what you’re spending your hard-earned moolah on. There are a number of apps and tools you can use to do this, or you can simply use a good old-fashioned pen and notebook.

Once you’ve figured out your spending rate, you can more easily plan out your financial goals. For example, if you want to finally start planning for retirement, you’ll need to figure out your current and desired lifestyle costs.

When you have a good handle on how much you’re spending, you can review your weekly and monthly transactions and remove the spending that’s not moving you closer to your goals.

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Make smart choices

Life is complicated, and sometimes we need to use installment loans, short-term loans, credit cards, and other solutions. That’s why it’s important to pay these off as quickly as you can and begin saving for a rainy day. Make a savings goal, and plan to put away a certain amount each week until you’ve reached that goal. This will mean that if your car breaks down, you lose your job, or you have an unexpected bill you can be ok without needing to rely on credit to keep you afloat.

Set a budget

Budgeting is all about making the most of the money you have. If the idea of making a budget makes you worried, you probably need to realise that budgeting isn’t about denying yourself the things you like or being thrifty. Instead, it’s simply a matter of working out how much money you have to work with, and choosing how you’ll use it.

If you’re the type who feels anxiety around checking your bank account, it’s time to man (or woman) up and use a budget to help you understand how your money can work better for you.

What are your top tips for improving your finances? Leave a comment below and let me know.