For someone who has spent over a decade of her life working, I have little to show for the sweat and tears in terms of my personal finances. I make unnecessary purchases, spend lavishly on takeout, and invest in clothing I never end up wearing. And these are just some indulgences I should not be wasting my money on. Now that I live alone and have to manage the household, Ive realised just how unnecessarily extravagant my lifestyle has been. After paying for various utilities, household necessities, house help, and maintenance, I end up saving a fraction of what I should be.Fortunately, a few adjustments here and there have helped me make headway when it comes to my personal finances, and achieve those specific goals I set for myself.Rule no 1: Dont be afraid to do the mathThe biggest favour you can do yourself is simply sitting down and chalking out your expenses. We mean every tiny purchase you make. Pay and park, or tolls can be considered incidentals. Doing the math is the best way to understand your spending patterns, and help you identify the areas you tend to go overboard. Once you properly jot down your spending habits, youll be able to allocate money for various things. For example, rent, utilities, groceries, fees, travel, incidentals, etc. This makes it easier to budget according to your monthly requirements.Rule no 2: You must recognise and manage your lifestyle inflationThe more money you make, the more you have to spend. This is what is termed as lifestyle inflation, and is a rather straightforward fact. However, does this mean you should spend more, even if you have the ability to? Theres no denying that your professional and personal situation will evolve, and a few extravagances are natural and expected. However, being mindful of how much you spend, and how often you spend, can go a long way in helping improve your personal finance.Rule no 3: Spend mindfully. Prioritise your needs, not your wantsUnless you have a rather large trust fund, its perhaps wiser to live within your means. By this, we dont mean you shouldnt treat yourself, rather be mindful about the extravagance. To put things simply, needs are what youd require to survivefood, clothing, shelter, utilities, healthcare, and transportation. Its advisable to include a monthly saving as part of your needs. Wants are simply things youd like to have. While theres no harm in wanting a few things, and its perfectly fine to occasionally indulge in recreational shopping, you must prioritise your needs.Rule no 4: Saving should begin from your first paychequeMoney saved is money earned is not a clich for nothing; somewhere, the saying holds true. However, if you didnt save from as early as your first pay cheque, its still never too late to begin saving for your retirement. Look for funds that wont only give you a tax break, but will offer you steady interest rates and help you grow your finances. And perhaps the best practice to follow is reinvesting those gains.Rule no 5: Stop using your credit cardIts easy to rake up incredible credit card debt when you arent exactly keeping a track of how much youre spending. Considering credit cards follow the buy-now-pay-later scheme, its easy to go overboard and be slapped with an enormous bill at the end of the month. It doesnt help that you can then pay off this debt in manageable monthly instalments, but this only serves to add to your increasing expenses and monthly bills. Aim to clear off any credit debts as soon as possible, and set a limit on your card. Moreover, use your card only in case of emergencies. This will go a long way to help you improving your financial health, and spending habits.