The thing with most financial goals is that they usually force you to set long-term goals such as having a million dollars in your bank at 25 years old or having enough money to retire before you’re 40.
But what if you need to improve your financial standing instantly? What if you’re tired of trying and failing to stick with huge goals and you just really need a win right now? What can you do today that will have an immediate impact on the state of your finances?
Well, you can start with these six actionable steps:
#1 Learn how to cook your own meals
How do you feel about saving $3,000 every year? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that’s how much the average American family spends on eating out on an annual basis. Today, you can start learning how to make your own meals so you can spend way less on food.
It doesn’t have to be so complicated. As long as you can cook great eggs, prepare at least one meat dish, and a vegetable salad, you’re good to go.
Not only is this a great way to save thousands of dollars every year, but it’s also a good way to jumpstart your way to a healthier life and creating a realistic budget for yourself.
#2 Find another revenue stream
It’s an unfortunate reality that it’s pretty hard to live decently nowadays with only your day job as your income source.
If you are serious about improving your financial situation, it’s not going to be all about cutting corners and capping your spending. Ideally, you also need to increase what comes in.
So today, maybe you can update your resume and use it to land new gigs, even if it’s just a few hours of online work every week.
If you can, find a side gig that can cover all your expenses, so that the salary you get from your main job/business can entirely go to savings or investment.
#3 Explore investment options
Even better than finding a side job is finding out how you can start investing. Passive income is good because it generates money for you without actively taking up hours from your day.
It has become very easy to avail yourself of an investment instrument. All you have to do is call up your bank and ask them what investment options are available for you.
If you already have a savings or a current account, it shouldn’t take you more than a day to start investing, so yes, this is something you can do today to improve your financial situation.
#4 Reduce your electricity costs by going solar
We all know that making the switch from fossil-based energy to solar power can immediately reduce our power bills, but is this really something that can be done in a day? Well, it can be, since it is very easy to sign up for community solar.
In case this is the first time you’re hearing about this, community solar is a way for you to tap solar energy without buying and installing your own solar panels at home.
All you have to do is find a shared solar farm near your area, and subscribe to it. The process is truly easy, and you can expect smaller power bills to start rolling in.
#5 Ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card
Believe it or not, there is a way to reduce all those finance charges that you see showing up on your credit card bills month after month.
Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. If you’re a consistent customer and a good payer, banks can actually give you a lower interest rate on your credit.
At the same time, those annual renewal fees are also purely discretionary on the part of banks, so you might as well ask if they can waive that, too.
#6 Cancel subscriptions that add no value to your life
Finally, it’s time to free yourself of those monthly subscriptions that are showing up on your account despite having no real value in your life.
It may be a software you availed a free trial of and never got around to canceling or an app that has served you well but has already outlived its usefulness.
Either way, these are things you are paying for despite deriving no real benefit from them, and it’s time to let them go.
Whatever happens, keep in mind that you are not trapped with purely long-term goals in terms of staying on top of your finances. There are things you can do today — and even just in the next hour — to improve your financial capabilities.