As a small business owner, you know that managing your expenses is essential – every dollar you save is one more you can put toward the bottom line. If you don’t treat your personal finances like a business too, though, you could bring a host of problems on yourself. Check out these six personal money management tips that small business owners can put into action today.
1. Budget Your Personal Finances
Set up an Excel spreadsheet or use a free online resource like Mint to create a budget. List out all your monthly expenses, weigh them against your income, and set about getting your spending under what you’re bringing in.
2. Eliminate Credit Card Debt
Long-term credit card debt is the nemesis of many budgets. Total up all your balances, achieve a budget surplus through your cuts, and pay them down until they’re gone for good. Whether it takes you three months or three years, making an impact and sticking to it means moving in a positive direction.
3. Take Advantage of Coupons and Deals
Use grocery coupons, both from the Sunday paper and mobile apps like Grocery Pal and Saving Star. Check out websites like SlickDeals and FatWallet for deals on general purchases. Just make sure you truly need an item before you pull the trigger. If it’s for a food product you don’t normally eat or an electronic upgrade you don’t need, keep your money in your wallet.
4. Shop Online
Many retailer websites offer better pricing than they do in-store, so go online before heading out. Sign up for email newsletter updates to keep abreast of offers and cross-check prices for any purchase you’re considering on eBay or Amazon.
5. Cut Back on Personal Purchases
Avoid that fancy dinner, skip the upgrades on your TV and mobile device, and spend your vacation time at home. Your current wardrobe ought to serve you perfectly well, too. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses and leave the plastic in your pocket.
6. Automate Retirement Savings
Even though you probably don’t have access to a 401k plan, that doesn’t mean you can’t automate contributions to your IRA. Have your bank direct a preset amount to your retirement accounts, preferably at the beginning of each month. By getting your savings out of the way first, you can spend with a lot more freedom.
If you saved $1,000 on a business expense you would likely put it toward whatever area of your venture needed the most help – marketing or staffing, for example. Take the same approach with your personal savings. Invest them in your emergency fund if you have less than six months’ worth of living expenses, or direct them to a college fund for the kids. If those are not issues, boost your retirement investments and you just might be able to hang it up early. Managing your personal finances as a small business owner is important, but capitalizing on the fruit of those efforts is even better.
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