Money can be a complicated topic. Whether it is managing your household budget or finding a way to fund your dreams, it can be hard to figure out where to start.
First, assess your situation. Are you trying to consolidate debt to free up some money for either investing in your dreams or for a fun activity like a vacation? Maybe you are looking to finance a business idea you have been noodling on for years? Do you want to upgrade your home or vehicle for a specific purpose?
By understanding your needs, you may be able to better focus on the type of loan or other product for you. Create a spreadsheet or dream board, whatever works best, but a good first step is to document your goals. Clarity will help you plan and better identify your what you wish to achieve with this exercise.
Crunch the Numbers
Next, take the time to review where you are spending and your income streams. Would you meet your financial goals by changing some habits? You may consider cutting a subscription service that no longer fits your needs or cutting some of your dining or coffee expenses and doing meal prep at home instead. Are you meeting your savings goals? We have some great resources for how to find easy ways to save more: Are You Saving?
Maybe your goals are much larger, like starting or growing your business. It is important to have a plan for at least six months to a year and identify where you need to invest (storage, supplies, equipment, etc.), as well as how much money you would need for things like promotions or signage to get to the next level.
Whether is it for yourself or your business, once you have an idea of what is coming in and going out and the types of expenses, how do you get to the goal?
What Solution Works for You?
After you’ve done your review of your finances, you decide you need more money. Do you need to start a temporary side-hustle, or do you need a loan to help you consolidate debt or payments? If the latter, you can consider a personal loan. Personal loans may be a way to take debt from credit cards or other loans and move them to a single, predictable payment. They can also be a way to pay for larger purchases like a wedding or home improvement without collateral.
If you are looking to finance a business, you could visit the Small Business Administration to see if there are any grants or loans that fit your personal needs. Maybe buying a home or auto is your goal, you can use companies like LendingTree or NerdWallet to find information and lenders that best match your need.
Perhaps you want to start a side-hustle? You are in luck because with the growth of the gig economy, there are more options available. There are options such as ride-share or delivery driving, taking small task requests, pet sitting or freelancing. For each of these, there are apps that are driven on large networks that can connect you to a job vs. searching for one-off opportunities on your own.