Here are the other financial skills that will help you navigate the complex world of money management.
Save money each month
Another great habit to form is to regularly put money into your savings account each month. You can even have your savings automatically withdrawn from your checking account and put in your savings account via automatic transfer. Set a goal to save 10-15% of your income to put toward your long-term goals each month.
Protect your savings
If you find it easy to dip into your savings account when you are running short, you need to find a way to protect your savings. Your emergency fund needs to be easily accessible so that you can cover unexpected expenses right away, but you can move the rest of your savings to accounts that are more difficult to access.
Build a support network
It helps to have friends that can support your financial choices. Although you likely will not spend a lot of time talking about your financial choices, it is good to have friends that like to hunt for deals or that encourage you to save money when needed.
Some friends may want you to constantly spend money while others are more supportive of you to reach your goals. Building a good financial support network can help you reach your goals more effectively.
Negotiation is a key skill to master to get the best deal when buying or selling something, or even getting the best salary and benefits when accepting a job offer. Most people do not like to negotiate. It is easiest to pay the asking price or accept the amount offered from a buyer or employer. But if you become skilled at negotiation, you can end up with lots more money in your pocket.
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Here are some skills that successful negotiators master:
- Be willing to walk. Successful negotiators are willing to walk away if they can’t get a good deal. Willingness to walk away gives you the confidence to ask for what you really want and drive a hard bargain. Often, you’ll learn things in deals that don’t work out that help you get a better deal in the future.
- Be reasonable. Good negotiators understand the market value of what they are negotiating and can understand the deal from the other party’s perspective. If you seek an unreasonable deal, you are likely wasting everyone’s time and won’t end up with anything.
- Be perceptive. Good negotiators pick up clues from the other party to determine what kind of offer they would accept and use this information to negotiate the best deal possible.
Separating needs from wants
Separating needs from wants is a key personal finance skill. There is almost no limit to bigger, better, and newer stuff that you could decide to buy. The best way to make spending decisions is to become disciplined at distinguishing needs from wants.
I like to think about the consequences of not buying something as a tool to distinguish needs from wants. For example, if I don’t buy the new shoes I am considering, will I not be able to go to work? At some point, new shoes can become a need, but if your old shoes are still doing everything you need your shoes to do, then new shoes are a want.
People who are financially successful do more than reduce spending and save money. They take the next step and invest money that they free up through smart spending decisions.
This investment mentality is what allows the small amount of money you avoid spending to grow into real wealth that can change your lifestyle and allow you the freedom to pursue your interests. Regular saving over time adds up — even with small investment amounts. Continuous investment requires discipline to keep investing money for the future rather than spending it now. Savvy investors assess what kind of investments to buy and manage their investment portfolio based on economic trends and the performance of their investments. The most important factor in being a successful investor is to make regular investments over the long term and let your wealth grow.
Frugal people are known for having good bargain-hunting skills. Making a purchase is a challenge to find the way to spend the least amount of money to get what is needed. Bargain hunting usually involves using coupons and shopping around to find the best price.
Sometimes buying a used item rather than a new item is the best bargain – you can save 50% or more buying used instead of new. Items such as tools or vehicles that are useful for years make good purchases, but technology products often become obsolete so fast that buying new can be the best deal.
Buying at the right time can be a key to finding bargains. Keep an eye out for bargains at store closing sales and clearance sales for items you know you will use later. An important part of bargain hunting is deciding on the best item to buy. If you can figure out the least expensive item that meets your needs, and then find the best price on that item, you are on your way to mastering bargain hunting skills.
There is an old saying, “Waste not, want not” that summarizes the personal finance skill of reuse well. If you don’t waste anything, you will have plenty and not want for anything.
Once you learn the basic financial skills and implement them in your life through these tasks, you can expect a certain level of improvement. If you keep at it, you will surely find yourself moving towards a successful and secure financial future.