Finance In The Federation: Captain’s Blog, Stardate 94159.32

FinanceFed

As we eagerly await tomorrow’s release of Star Trek Beyond, we couldn’t help but consider the Star Trek universe through the lens of personal finance (it’s what we do). Join us as we voyage into the 23rd and 24th century to learn financial lessons to help us live long and prosper today!

Planning your trek

The Starship Enterprise famously embarked on a five-year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.

Luckily, we don’t have to budget for missions quite so complex or dangerous, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still make a heroic effort to chart our own financial destinies. Think of your money as your own starship. Where do you want to go on your personal finance journey?

Set clear mission objectives

Your short-term budget is a great place to start—you’ll quickly be able to recognize what areas need improvement and where you’re on target.

Think about where you want to be in three months’ Earth time. Many people want to see their credit card debt decrease, pay down an auto loan, or have a little extra spending money freed up at the end of the month.

If this sounds like you, a budget can get you there. Take your phone or notebook and write down your three month objectives. Yes, it’s imperative to write them down, look at them often, and use them. No mission can be accomplished if the specifics are vague. Once you have clearly-stated goals, you can begin planning the journey that will get you there.

Calibrate your starship’s warp core

Now that you’ve got your mission objectives, you can begin tuning up your financial engine room by knowing your income and expenditures. Thanks to advances in technology, you can configure an accurate budget fairly easily and quickly. Check out some of our highest rated budgeting apps—some of these can even provide you with fully automatized spending reports. Who needs a tricorder?

Once you have a good read on how much money you have coming in, as opposed to going out, not completing the next step would be highly illogical.

No great victory comes without sacrifice

Listen, we’re not going to sugarcoat this for you, Ensign. This will be, without a doubt, the most challenging part of your mission. You have to take a good, honest look at the numbers on your budget, and probably start making some adjustments.

If you observe a spending category that’s coming in at a higher frequency than it should be, that category needs realignment and fast. Common areas where people overspend include clothing, restaurants, and entertainment.

Redirect those funds towards paying debts or saving. We know it’s challenging, but make the necessary sacrifice and reward yourself and your crew for ensuring an improved tomorrow.

Be Optimistic

Optimism. It’s what sets Star Trek apart from all the other space adventures on the big and small screens. Star Trek envisions a universe where people (and Vulcans) work together to accomplish bold feats, travel farther, and make fantastic new discoveries.

It can be hard to be optimistic about your personal finances when it feels like you’re trapped in a black hole of debt or just struggling to get ahead of your bills, but if you’ve set goals, begun budgeting and started changing your spending behavior, then most of your hard work is already done! The trick now is to sustain it.

Don’t let your spending go back on autopilot. Stay in your captain’s chair (and in command of your money). You’ll reach the stars in no time.

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