Believe it or not, you don’t need a bigger salary to improve your personal financial situation. For most people, better spending habits are all it takes to curb unnecessary spending, make smart investments, and start saving for the future.

Whether you just applied for your first credit card or you’re researching mortgage refinancing options, here are the best personal finance tips to help you work toward your financial goals.

1. Start investing as early as possible


As with anything in life, investing in stocks provides the most benefits when you start early on. The earlier you start planning for big investments and retirement, the greater your potential return on investment will be. Plus, if you’re starting early on, you’ll have more time to rebuild your portfolio if one of your investments takes a dive. You can always take some time to learn and research more on how to invest for beginners if you want to find the right investment for you.

If you don’t have the budget to make large investments, that’s completely fine — you can still build a strong investment portfolio with penny stocks. For example, some of the best Canadian stocks start as low as $0.25 per share. With that said, you should always do your due diligence before investing.

2. Choose long-term investments over short-term risks

Understanding the Best Active Trading Strategies and How to Use Them.

If you leave your money sitting in a savings account, you’re missing out. Maybe you’re afraid that you’re going to lose money on the stock market, or you’re weighing the pros and cons of real estate investing. Either way, choosing long-term investments over short-term risks will give you the peace of mind you need to confidently invest.

If you’re searching for long-term investment opportunities, Goodegg Investments can help you get started. The financial experts at help take the burden out of real estate investing so you can get all the benefits of investing without the hassles of being a landlord. The best part? You can rest assured knowing that your money is in good hands and working hard for you.

3. Always prioritize your budget


If you’re taking home $3,000 a month, how much can you afford to spend on rent, food, and car payments? When you create a monthly budget, you’ll know exactly how much you need to allocate to your fixed expenses, along with how much you can afford to spend on lifestyle expenses (eating out, going to concerts — you name it). In addition, you’ll gain a better idea of how much you can contribute to your brokerage account each month.

Most financial experts recommend a 50/30/20 budget to stretch your paycheck. Following this plan, you spend approximately 50% of your after-tax income on necessities, no more than 30% to fund your lifestyle, and 20% on savings, investments, and debt repayment.

4. Don’t forget about your retirement


Planning to retire when you’re 65? Don’t forget to fund your retirement account. If you’re not feeling motivated, create a financial vision board to establish clear goals. How much do you want to save up by your retirement? How much do you need to contribute each month to get there?

If you forget to contribute to your retirement account each month, consider setting up reminders on your smartphone. Similar to setting up appointments for a doctor’s appointment or oil change, these monthly reminders can give you the extra push you need to take action. Depending on your budget, you might choose to contribute a set amount — for example, 5% to 10% — to your retirement account. Or, if you have an account through your job, you might choose to take a percentage out of each paycheck.

No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to take control of your finances. From saving for long-term investments to obtaining a more accurate picture of your spending, taking steps to manage your money can make all the difference in the long run.