As we begin this journey, there a few things to keep in mind. One is that gaining control of your financial situation is a constant endeavor. You shouldn't expect that you will be able to sit down and gather a bunch of numbers and lay them out and look at them once and have that be it. It's a constant, living breathing being. That said however, there are certain steps you can take to get started.
Eliminate debt: By far one of the most important things to do first. If this step is not taken care of as soon as possible, more of your hard work later will be for nothing. Take a look at your credit cards for example; which ones have the most aggressive interest rates? Not neccessarily the largest ones but the ones with the highest interest rates should be paid down before anything else. Set an automatic payment schedule on the other ones that are less aggressive and focus on the highest interest ones. If not, it will be like taking 3 steps forward, then 2 step back.
Analyze your expenditures: Get a good solid 3 months of transactions and organize them by month and then by type of expenditure. Notice anything? You should pretty quickly find a few purchases there that are frequent and glaring. What can you do to minimize this? We have quite a few suggestions that you will be able to take advantage of in a little while.
Saving strategies: Get some information on your employers retirement plan and put it in a safe place for now. If you already place your pre-tax dollars into an a fund, good! We will return to that topic shortly. Limit entertainment, even though you might be able to afford it. Try this for 1 month and see the advantages. There are about a billion little things to do to save here and there and over time, with discipline, they really add up. More on this later. $