When it comes to personal finance, you should always strive to be at the top of your game. A good way to think about personal finance is playing sports; when you have the drive and determination to win, it motivates you to perform at your best. Prior to that winning game, though, there was planning and practice that took place to make sure you succeeded. That same mindset is needed when working on your financial performance. You need the drive to win.

These four points can help strengthen your financial performance and craft a financial life that exceeds beyond mere dollar amounts.

1. Evaluate Your Current Finances

Start by evaluating your previous year’s budget, expenses, investments, debt, or loans and savings accounts. Calculate your net worth (assets-liabilities) which will reflect all of the financial decisions you’ve made throughout your lifetime. Your net worth will enable you to understand if your budget, savings and checking accounts are in order. Spend less money than you make to allow your net worth will increase. If you’re not tracking your net worth, start doing so now. As you improve your investments and all other financial decisions, your net worth will mimic those improvements.

2. Build & Maintain a Personal Budget

Without a budget, there’s nothing to measure. Without something to measure, there’s nothing to improve. Financial improvement starts with a better budget. Even if you’ve never established a budget before, it’s never too late to start. However, budgets mean nothing unless you stick with it. That’s where the drive to perform and succeed comes into play.

3. Spend Mindfully, Save Early

After establishing your budget, you need to monitor your income versus expenses. When you factor in your budget, chances are you won’t be able to afford everything you previously purchased. You need to understand what you can afford now rather than just purchase and raise your debt later. More importantly, when you separate your needs versus wants, the money you don’t spend can be added to your savings. Truth is, you don’t need to spend all of your money to survive and it actually hurts your financial growth in the long run. It’s never too early to build your savings.

4. Educate Yourself

Elevating your financial performance wouldn’t be complete without considering financial education. Whether that’s taking online courses or meeting with a financial coach, it’s important to understand what’s available for assistance. Don’t be ashamed to raise your hand for help. Make financial education a priority.

Personal finance isn’t just about budgets, investments, savings and paying off debts. It’s ultimately how you use financial education, skills and principles to improve your lifestyle. The bottom line: stick to these four points and you are sure to score in your financial game.

The Financial Fitness Group, a purveyor of comprehensive online financial education programs, offers unbiased online, interactive instruction in personal finance, financial planning, investing and much more. Learn more about our online resources or to schedule a meeting with a Financial Fitness COACH™ to get on your path of financial success.