Financial stability is a dream of many people, whether they are entrepreneurs or not. But in such an unpredictable economy, we know that it is becoming increasingly difficult to plan expenses and save enough to build wealth, mainly for those who want to start their own business.
In this post, we share simple tips dedicated to those who want to have a healthier financial life, even without having a very large budget.
If you adopt at least one of the habits to follow, you’ll see that, over time, your money will yield more and you’ll be able to invest in the activities you like best.
But to stay ahead of the curve: from now on, spreadsheets and calculators will be your best friends.
Write down your fixed expenses
The fixed costs are what we pay every month, such as rent, water, electricity, telephone, internet, etc.. It is important to emphasize that you must include in the list the taxes…. don’t forget!
Having a record of fixed expenses is important to know how much of the family income is left over every month to invest, save or even allocate to rest and leisure.
Also, if you are an entrepreneur, you should also have control of the fixed costs of your business, such as rent and production costs.
There are several ways to do this control, but we recommend keeping a spreadsheet in Google Drive or Excel, because in addition to being saved, which does not run the risk of losing them, the tool already does the calculations of expenses and subtracts them from your salary / benefit.
Separate at least 10% of your income each month
Before paying fixed costs, try to reserve at least 10% of your income for investment. If you earn a fixed monthly salary, then that means you must separate it from your monthly salary, and if you are self-employed, that percentage separates from all your monthly earnings.
The goal here is not just to save the money for a period of time until you can spend it on something superfluous, but to apply that value so that it can yield interest and become an asset in the future.
At first it can be difficult to “give up” that 10%, but if you focus on the long term result and manage to adapt your lifestyle without making big sacrifices, in less than a year you will begin to see the first results.
Keep your personal expenses separate from those of your business
This suggestion is valid for those who already have a venture or want to start one. Many small and medium entrepreneurs still have difficulty separating personal expenses from business expenses, which can lead not only to losses, but even bankruptcy.
This practice is bad because you can’t tell if your business is making a profit, after all, you’re always taking cash out. Lack of capital also prevents you from promoting process improvements and better disclosure, which restricts the reach of your brand.
And, finally, mixing personal accounts with business accounts can give a false impression of “wealth” and motivate you to spend more than you can actually spend at the time.
Therefore, we recommend that you have two separate accounts if you are an entrepreneur. The good news is that you can use the legal entity associated with the account to contract corporate plans for your business, such as health, food, etc., which also help save money.
Try as much as possible not to ask for financing
Financing is a danger for small and medium sized businesses, as it represents a long term commitment and high interest rates.
We know that it is not always possible to avoid them, because they are useful to capture resources in the initial phase of the venture. But whenever you need to ask for financing, keep in mind that the terms are shorter, in addition to studying the conditions stipulated by the financial institutions in order to choose the lowest interest rate.
Remember that financing must also be included in your fixed expense sheet for the duration of the contract.
Pay off your debts as soon as possible
If you have already obtained a loan in your name, think about paying more instalments simultaneously to reduce the duration of the contract and, of course, the interest.
But beware, we’re not saying you should adjust to get out of debt faster. The ideal is to use money that is “surplus” to advance the payments, that is to say, nothing to move in the fixed expenses or in the cash flow of your business.
An example of money that can be set aside to cushion debts is a payment for a self-employed job you’ve done, for example.
Do research on investments
Investing is a way of making sure you don’t spend your money on something superfluous, but when we use the word “investment,” it may seem like we’re talking about something that requires a lot of prior knowledge.
Do you think so, too? Well, it’s the exact opposite!
Everyone can invest, from the most conservative profile to the most audacious. That’s why we recommend you study the different types of investment available in your country and economy. Only then will you be able to choose the one that best suits your profile. Also, talk to people who are well informed about the investment before making your decision.
Savings accounts are successful everywhere, because they are easy to open and quite secure. Savings, in most countries, have the lowest risk of any other type of investment, but they also have the lowest return potential.
That is why it is recommended that conservative investors make cash deposits in a savings account, with a lower risk tolerance.
Mutual funds pool money from different investors and then invest it in a variety of stocks, bonds, and other investments. This type of investment is suitable for people who can invest with long-term thinking in mind.
Unlike the above options, the stock market is recommended to those investors with a bolder profile. Stocks can fluctuate greatly during the period when the market is open, so it is a risky model. A deeper understanding of how companies are operating and continuous monitoring of the stock market are crucial.
Establishes financial objectives
Before moving forward, it is important to know the difference between goals and objectives. Although we use these two words interchangeably, the objectives represent what we want to achieve in the long term, while the goals, on the other hand, represent concrete actions quantitatively and with a predetermined time frame.
For example, your goal is to increase the sales revenue of your business. Your goals, in turn, may be to double the number of transactions in the next six months, increase your customers’ average ticket by 50%, etc.
Take this opportunity to read our post on how to set goals for your business.
Pay as much as possible in cash
This may sound like a cliché, but any financial specialist would tell us that we should only buy something when we have the money to do so.
That’s why paying cash (or using a debit card, of course) is an excellent strategy for saving money, as you avoid spending money you don’t really have by assuming a credit card debt.
Many stores around the world offer special offers and discounts for cash payments. This means you can save money and pay less for a product or service.
Avoid using your credit card
This suggestion is closely related to the previous item, as it encourages cash payment.
Does this mean you should never use your credit card? Of course not!
Credit cards represent a great convenience for the consumer, as well as being the most common online payment method. Our advice is to try to avoid using it when you have cash to pay something. In many different parts of the world, when you make payments (or pay in installments), you end up paying interest, thus spending more than you would pay if you paid in advance.
Sets limits on variable expenses
Anything that is not considered a fixed expense can be called a variable expense. This means that the latter can be paid later.
But we know that, in practice, that is not how it works. Sometimes people want to enjoy small pleasures, such as going out with friends, taking a trip or buying something that is not essential.
For these cases we recommend you to set a limit to these variable expenses. Reserve a small amount for your leisure activities.
We know that your goal is to save money, but if you end up making too many sacrifices, you can give up completely. Setting small rewards for when you reach a goal can be an incentive to keep moving forward.
Make a list of five items you consider superfluous and try to include at least one of them in your monthly budget.