CAN Do Finances

This month here at The Dad Habit is all about starting.  For many of you this may be the hardest part, especially when it comes to finances.  Digging through the bills and budgeting can seem like a mountain larger than Everest, but it doesn't have to be that way.  So we've come up with three easy steps to show you that you CAN get started with cleaning up your finances.

Cut

 Photo by RichVintage/iStock / Getty Images

How many times have you been told to give up the $5 latte and bring your coffee from home to save money?  Sure it would help, but let's be honest, that caffeine is the life-blood of many parents and it would take some a lot of skipped lattes to see serious results.  So when it comes to cutting we want to look at big things that we're not using and get rid of them right off the bat.  

If you haven't been to the gym for months, cut the membership.  Are you a part of an airline club that charges you once a year, but you've forgotten about it?  It's time to cut it.  Do you subscribe to magazines that pile up on the table? Cut it.  You could sit down and look over the last 12- months of credit card statements with your wife or partner and highlight any recurring monthly fees or yearly memberships.  If they're not getting used right now, they get the ax.  There's probably some low-hanging fruit you can grab.  Or you can try an app like Truebill which will help do it for you.

Assess

Sure you could go into every detail of your finances,  and there are great apps like Mint to help, but even that might seem overwhelming for some.  We're about keeping it simple and building good habits.  All you need to do here is take a birds eye view of your finances.  If you're in debt, it doesn't make sense to stress over your savings.  Do you carry credit card debt?  How much? On one card or several?  If you have multiple cards, which one carries the highest interest rate?  Pay that one off first.  Make the minimum payments on the others.  You'll save yourself a ton of money in interest.

No credit card debt?  Great!  How are those savings?  Need to save more, come up with a plan now.  You could stop spending $5 bills and throw them in a jar... or even better... an interest bearing savings account.  If you want to put some of that savings in investments but are afraid to jump in, an app like Acorns will let you invest the spare change from all your purchases.

Negotiate

How many times have your kids tried to bargain with you for an extra snack, or a little more time on the computer or a video game?  Our kids are always negotiating with us, they're great hagglers.  While we play the game with them, we rarely do it with the companies and services we use... until now!  Whether it's the interest rate on a credit card, your cable bill, rent, or a car insurance premium it's time to ask for something better.  If you have more than one credit card, start with the highest interest rate.  If another company is giving you a lower rate, then they should too.  The great thing about negotiating any of these things is that you'll feel the savings each and every month.  If you don't have the nerve to do it, the app Trim will do it for you, but they get 25% of your savings.  You could always try putting your kid on the phone to talk the company down... but be prepared to pay a couple extra cookies for the convenience.

That's it.  Just Cut, Assess, and Negotiate and you CAN start taking control of your finances today.  So leave a comment, and let us know what steps you're taking today!