The boys of summer are back and as baseball season begins again, there are some things we can learn. Beyond the rules of America’s favorite pastime, we can also learn some personal finance rules. Here are four ways baseball can help you get your finances in order.
1. 3 Strikes & You’re Out
This phrase is often used as a threat but this can also be seen as multiple opportunities to get it right. In baseball you get nine innings, three outs per inning and three strikes per at bat. Sure, you will fail much of the time but there are many opportunities to try and get it right. By taking this approach to your finances you can avoid getting frustrated. Say you are trying to focus on putting more money into saving for retirement. You may strike out sometimes, splurging too much and not making your saving goal for the month, but you can step back up to the plate! Next month, try again.
2. Hitting a Home Run
The crowd goes wild and the cameras flash whenever the ball flies out of the ballpark. A home run is exciting. This is the same kind of mentality for making a lump sum addition to a financial goal. Many of us just received tax refunds and using that to pay off a debt can help us pay it off more quickly. In addition to tax refunds, bonuses, birthday gifts or unexpected money can be put to good use too. It’s one swing that yields big results.
3. Playing Small Ball
But it doesn’t always have to be about the big hit. You will sometimes hear about “small ball” when it comes to baseball. As opposed to swinging for the fences, this type of play is about small steps to lead to the goal of getting runs. It’s about trying to hit a single, steal a base or make a sacrifice bunt. The point is that these small actions add up. The same is true with your finances. If you make the effort to regularly pay off debt like student loans or contribute to a 401(k) eventually you’ll get there. Credit building is the same way — making an action plan and small changes can make a big impact on your credit over time. You can track your progress by getting your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.
4. Call to the Bullpen
During a baseball game, a team usually utilizes multiple pitchers. When they are looking to replace the current player on the mound, they make a call to the bullpen, the area where other pitchers warm up. This can be a good strategy for your finances as well. If your current strategy for paying off debt or saving money isn’t working, you may want to change strategies. This could be literally calling someone else in, like a spouse or financial adviser, or it can mean trying a different strategy. You may decide that collecting credit card travel rewards isn’t working for you and instead move to a cash-back program. The important thing is to know you can change the direction of the game, and your financial situation, with one call to the bullpen.
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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.