Learning how to manage your money involves a variety of moving pieces including your monthly budget, saving for short-term and long-term goals and developing a realistic plan to pay off your debts. While this may seem overwhelming (and it certainly can be), you can create a realistic plan to manage your money.
In order to efficiently manage your money, you need to get organised. To do that, gather all of your information and important documents so they are always accessible. This means you will no longer waste time searching for important paperwork and wonder about account balances or bill-payments.
Once you have gathered your documents, set up an area in your home where you can conduct your personal finances. In that area, be sure you have the right home office tools such as a file cabinet, shredder and a safe.
- In the file cabinet, store your receipts, tax information, bills and account statements.
- Use the shredder to protect you and your family from identity theft. Shred paperwork like unnecessary receipts, account statements, voided checks, credit reports, pay stubs and credit card applications.
- Store your insurance policy documents, deeds, titles, estate, birth certificate passport and more in your safe.
As a reminder, the more paperwork you have, the more difficult it is to organise. So consider going paperless and opt for online statements.
Create a Budget
A budget is a record of the money you have coming in, like your salary or wages, and payments you make, like your rent or mortgage. Every person’s budget is different, but the one rule of thumb should be: expenses should never exceed income.
To create a budget, jot down how much money you put towards the following categories each month:
- Household bills
- Living costs
- Financial products
- Family and friends
If those categories don’t reflect your lifestyle, try listing your expenses to create your budget:
- List and total your monthly income
- List and total your monthly expenses
- Subtract your current expenses from your current income
Once you have created your budget, sticking to it can be extremely challenging. A simple way to stay on track is to review where you’re spending your money.
Review Your Transactions and Track Spending
Some financial trouble comes from exceeding your budget — this means, you’re spending more than you’re earning. Start with reviewing your transactions over the last month — where is your extra money going? To figure where you’re losing money each month, keep a spending diary. Here’s how to do it in three steps:
- Record your purchases and total them at the end of the day.
- Keep receipts for all of your purchases and total them at the day.
- Only use your debit card so you can refer to your online statements.
Once you have a clear picture of where your money is going, you will be able to see opportunities for savings.
Make a Loan and Debt Repayment Plan
Do you have loans or credit card debt? Most of us do! In order to pay off your debts in a decent amount of time, pay off the debt that charges the highest interest rate. Review your retail store credit cards, personal credit cards and personal loans. Which of those debts has the highest interest rate and which one has the lowest interest rate? Tackle the highest first!
Set a Savings Goal
Money management is all about creating good habits. An example of good money habit is regularly setting money aside. This will eventually help you achieve your financial goals and provide a sort of safety net during rough times.
The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.